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WATCH: Virat Kohli Puts Onus On BCCI To Take Call On India-Pakistan World Cup 2019 Match

Written By Ankit Prasad | Mumbai | Published:

Team India captain Virat Kohli has put the onus on the BCCI and the government, with regards to Cricket with Pakistan and specifically, the India-Pakistan match at the ICC World Cup 2019 that is scheduled to be held on June 16 at Manchester.

Addressing a press conference ahead of India's match against Australia in Vizag on Sunday, Kohli was asked for his stand in the wake of the Pakistan-backed Pulwama terror attack, to which he said:

"Firstly, all our sincere condolences to the families of the soldiers who lost their lives, from the Indian team and the whole setup, we're really shocked about what happened and really sad about the incident that happened.

Our stand is simple. We stick by what the Nation wants to do and what the BCCI decides to do, and that is basically our opinion. Whatever the government and the board decide eventually, we will go by that and we will respect that. So that is our stand on this particular issue."

Shortly before the press conference, Republic TV had asked Virat Kohli whether India should play Pakistan at the World Cup. However, at that time, he chose not to address the matter. On Friday, his fellow Team India cricketers Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Kuldeep Yadav and Mayank Agarwal had showed a similar reluctance, hinting that they were not allowed to take a stand.

The BCCI's CoA met on Friday and took a couple of decisions with regards to Pakistan and the Pulwama terror attack, chief among them, a letter to the ICC wherein concerns have been placed on record over the security of players at the World Cup and a call has been made to sever ties with countries from where terrorism emanates.

Further, the BCCI has decided to not hold the IPL opening ceremony and instead use the budget to benefit the families of the Pulwama martyrs. However, CoA chief Vinod Rai didn't take a stand on the World Cup match with Pakistan, saying that there was a long time to go before the match.

In a surprise, however, Sachin Tendulkar has backed India playing Pakistan, highlighting that forfeiting the match would entail Pakistan getting two points:

Most significantly, however, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the following while speaking exclusively to Republic Bharat and Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami:

"We should not play cricket with Pakistan even if we have to suffer monetary loss. This is my personal opinion that there should be no match."

Republic Media Network has been running a #BoycottPakistan campaign, seeking the immediate curtailment of all ties with Pakistan, whether it be related to trade (the Indian government has withdrawn the Most Favoured Nation or MFN status to Pakistan in wake of the attack), cultural ties (with the film fraternity coming together to block Pakistani actors and artists from participating in Bollywood films) and an end to sporting ties.