The already bitter India Pakistan relations have already worsened after the sad incident that led to the martyrdom of almost 40 CRPF personnel in Pulwama district if Kashmir. The responsibility of the attack has been taken by Jaish-E-Mohamad, a separatist group in Pakistan. After the rounds of activities, incidents, and statements Pakistan has denied to ban the group or take any action against it. This has incited a lot of anger in the mind of Indians and protests can be seen across the country. Several television and movie groups have banned the Pakistani actors, the government has dissolved their most favored nation tag and telecast of Pakistan Super League (PSL) has also been thwarted by a private Indian website.
Coming to cricket India and Pakistan are already not on cricketing terms since 2013 and do not play any cricket apart from ICC tournaments like the Cricket world cup, Asia cup etc. The recent debate has emerged after several cricketers like veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh, The Cricket Club of India (CCI) have suggested that team should refrain from the upcoming world cup as Pakistan is not doing enough to stop terrorism. The debate has become open-ended with legends like Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar have said that India would hate to lose their two points against Pakistan as India has always emerged trump against Pakistan in the world cup.
Now provided that India does not decide to skip the world cup and the ICC does not ban Pakistan as requested by BCCI (which doesn't seem to happen India will be left with almost no option other than leaving those two points. But before that let’s take a look at the format of the world cup. Unlike last time the teams will not be divided into groups. Otherwise, India would have played in a group other than Pakistan’s and hoped they didn’t qualify for the quarterfinals. This time format for the tournament will be a single group of ten teams, with each team playing the other nine teams, and the top four teams progressing to a knockout stage of semi-finals and a final. So there is no way of not playing with Pakistan without losing points.
The precedent of skipping the world cup games has been seen in the past, case in point the 2003 world cup where England faced a great deal of domestic pressure to boycott their match in Zimbabwe on political grounds and did not play, citing fears for the player's safety. The boycott proved costly, as Zimbabwe advanced to the Super Sixes, just 2 points ahead of England, from the 4 points they achieved from the walkover. Similarly, New Zealand decided against playing in Kenya because of security fears which would ultimately cost New Zealand a semifinal spot.
WILL IT BE WIE FOR INDIA?
India has never skipped a world cup game for any political reason. Several such incidents have taken place like the attack on the Parliament of India, Mumbai attacks and others where India did boycott playing Pakistan in bilateral and trilateral series but have played against them in the ICC tournaments. This time also they should play against Pakistan because the world cup is a matter of national pride and should not be compromised for this reason. They should play the match with black tapes around their t-shirts signifying the protest against terrorism.
Although if India considers skipping the game it would not be very dangerous in terms of points. It would only cost them two points where India can play well in other 8 games and qualify for the knockouts. Had the tournament been divided into pools then it would not have been possible to skip the game if Pakistan had qualified for the second round.
Video: Should India play Pakistan in Cricket World Cup 2019?