One must hand it to the Little Master of the game, Sunil Gavaskar, who never takes his eye off the ball when it comes to cricket. By boycotting Pakistan in the 2019 World Cup, he has pointed out, it is India who stand to lose. An India-Pakistan match is scheduled for June 16.

“Who wins if India decide against playing Pakistan in the World Cup? And I am not even talking about the semis and the finals. Who wins? Pakistan win because they get two points,” Gavaskar told ‘India Today’. “India have so far beaten Pakistan every time in a World Cup, so we are actually conceding two points when by beating Pakistan, we could make sure that they don’t advance in the competition.”

But always the great diplomat, he tactfully added, “(But) I am with the country, whatever the government decides, I am with it totally. If the country wants we shouldn’t play Pakistan,  I am with them,” he added. Led by senior India spinner Harbhajan Singh, calls for a complete cricketing boycott of Pakistan have grown ever since the terror attack in Pulwama last week killed more than 40 CRPF personnel.

India are scheduled to play Pakistan on June 16 during the World Cup. The bilateral cricketing ties between the two countries have already been suspended since 2012 and the teams last played a full series in 2007. “Where does it hurt Pakistan? It hurts them when they don’t play a bilateral series against India.

In a multi-team event, India will lose by not playing them. The entire matter needs to be looked at with a little more depth, I can understand emotions are running high. “But what happens when you don’t play them? I know India are strong enough side to qualify even after conceding those two points but why not beat them and make sure they don’t qualify,” argued Gavaskar.

If the BCCI takes the matter to the ICC, as is being speculated, and seeks Pakistan’s ouster from event starting May 30 in England, it is more likely to lose, he said. “They can try but it will not happen. Because the other member countries have to accept that and I don’t see that happening.

I am not too sure an ICC conference is the right forum,” he said referring to the February 27 to March 2 ICC meetings in Dubai. “Sure all of us are absolutely down with what has happened, it is such a tragedy but I am not too sure this would work with the ICC. The other counties will say that this is an internal matter between the two countries and they have to deal with it and not involve us.”