The proposed India World Cup boycott of their Pakistan match may yet happen but it won’t make that much of a difference anyway.
There’s a chance of an India World Cup boycott of their match against bitter rivals Pakistan, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday June 16. But the boycott is highly unlikely to go ahead. And even if it did, it’s not that big a deal, as we’ll see. Here’s all you need to know.
What’s the proposed India World Cup boycott about?
It’s in response to the February 14 2019 Pulwama attack that saw a suicide bomber attack a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel. 40 central Reserve Police Force officers were killed in the attack, as was the bomber. Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed took responsibility for it.
Has there been a Cricket World Cup boycott before?
Yes, at the 2003 Cricket World Cup. On that occasion England boycotted their match against Zimbabwe, in Zimbabwe, in protest against Robert Mugabe’s regime. There were days and days of negotiations before the ECB and England skipper Nasser Hussain decided against playing the game for humanitarian reasons. It ultimately cost England, who having gifted Zimbabwe the points finished third in their group, two points off…Zimbabwe. They flew home having failed to qualify for the Super Six stage while Zimbabwe finished bottom of the group at the Super Six stage.
It’s worth remembering that though England are the favourites to win the World Cup on home soil at 3.25, India come next in the betting at 4.0.
India are a tasty-looking 4.0 (3/1) with Unibet to win the World Cup. When opening an account with Unibet as a UK customer you can claim £40 in free bets if your first-ever bet loses.
Who’s proposing an India World Cup boycott?
The first high-profile person to do so was legendary Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh who said ‘it doesn’t matter’ whether India play Pakistan or not because they’d qualify for the semis anyway, even without those points. Former India captain Sourav Ganguly was another to support the India World Cup boycott though other former players, such as Sunil Gavaskar and Javed Miandad, are against the boycott.
The BCCI (Board for Control for Cricket) has also said that it will request that the ICC bans Pakistan as punishment for what happened. They say the ICC should “sever ties with countries from where terrorism emanates”.
That though, makes little sense. Not only would that be harsh on their cricket team who certainly have nothing to do with the attack but Pakistan (as a country) have also denied any involvement in this terrorist atrocity; it was an extremist group that carried it out, not them.
The latest is that the BCCI has passed the buck on to the Indian government; it’s now up to them whether they play or not. Skipper Virat Kohli has chosen not to get involved, other than to say he will support the Government’s decision.
What would be the consequences of the India World Cup boycott?
They’d lose two points, which would be gifted to Pakistan.
There could also be further sanctions from the ICC towards the BCCI such as docking them further points at the Cricket World Cup, imposing a fine or suspending them from playing international cricket for a while. But all of these are highly unlikely to happen. Not only because there will be plenty of sympathy for India from lots of people in the cricket community but also because from a more cynical/practical point of view, the BCCI is the richest and most powerful member of the ICC and the latter don’t want to be unnecessarily upsetting them.
What’s the most likely outcome?
That the game is played. That’s certainly the view of Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar, no stranger to playing Pakistan in World Cups. He’s said that an India World Cup boycott is just giving Pakistan a free pass and gifting them two points; the best way to show Pakistan what India are made of is to play them…and beat them.
How does it all affect the betting on India?
As discussed, India are the 4.0 second-favourites with Unibet and Royal Panda. You could easily argue that this talk of an India World Cup boycott shouldn’t make a difference to India’s chances at all.
You can back India at 4.0 with Royal Panda
Indian customers can open an account with Royal Panda in order to bet on all Cricket World Cup matches and can receive 2000 INR as a free bet when they sign up. It’s a £20 free bet for UK customers.
Firstly, because the game is highly likely to be played and secondly because we can’t just assume that India would have won it. Yes, India have beaten Pakistan in every one of the six times they played at (50-Over) World Cups but then again, Pakistan beat them in the final of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, in England. And every game is different; the current Pakistan ODI side is a good one and could run India close so it’s not a given that India would have won.
More to the point, India are an excellent side who will almost certainly qualify for the semi-finals anyway, whether they boycott the match… or play it and lose it.
Boycott or no boycott, India are very much on course to win the World Cup.