The fact that Pakistan has been awarded the hosting rights for the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy has irritated India. The Indian sports minister has hinted that the Indian cricket team may withdraw from the tournament due to security concerns, just a day after the ICC awarded Pakistan the hosting rights for the mega event.
India’s propaganda against Pakistan hosting international teams in their own backyard is no secret, as the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) and Indian ministers have made numerous statements on the subject over the years. However, this time, Indian Sports Minister, Anurag Thakur has stated unequivocally that they will need to assess the security situation in Pakistan before sending their team to the major event.
“Even in the past, you would have seen many countries pull out to go there (Pakistan) and play because the situation there is not normal,” Thakur said. Security is the main issue there, as teams have been attacked in the past, which is a cause for concern. As a result, when the time comes, the Indian government will make a decision based on the circumstances.”
The two governments have been at odds, and the relationship between the two countries is at an all-time low.
The two countries have not played a bilateral series against each other since Pakistan’s tour of India in 2012-13, though they have met at ICC events on occasion. This is the first time Pakistan has been awarded the hosting rights for an ICC event since 1996. Pakistan previously hosted an ICC event alongside Sri Lanka and India in 1996, when the three countries hosted the ICC Cricket World Cup. The tournaments final was held at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
With the ICC Champions Trophy still more than four years away, India’s sports minister’s statement is premature, as the situation in the coming years could drastically change.