Reacting to Sachin Tendulkar’s comment that he would ‘hate’ to see India concede two points to Pakistan by not playing them in the upcoming World Cup, former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Saturday said he would rather want the coveted crown and not worry about losing two points.
“He wants two points against Pakistan, I want the World Cup. Whichever way you look at it,” Ganguly told reporters on the sidelines of Street Child Cricket World Cup 2019.
Ganguly was named the India ambassador of the event, which will see its final being held at the iconic Lord’s in London.
Tendulkar had on Friday endorsed Sunil Gavaskar’s view that India would be better off beating Pakistan in the World Cup than forfeiting the June 16 tie in the wake of the Pulwama tettor attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel.
Ganguly had called for severing all sporting ties with Pakistan like his former teammate Harbhajan Singh.
“This is a 10-team World Cup and each team plays matches against every other team. If India doesn’t play a match in the World Cup, it won’t be an issue,” he was quoted as saying by India TV.
Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad had taken a dig at Ganguly for his comments, saying the latter wants to run for elections and aspires to be the chief minister, thus this is a publicity stunt to gain attention.
Asked about the comment, Ganguly said: “I have no reaction to Miandad. I enjoyed watching him bat. I thought he was a fantastic player for Pakistan.”
India skipper Virat Kohli had said earlier in the day at Visakhapatnam — where India take on Australia in the first T20 — the team would abide by the the government and the BCCI decision.
“I think that’s the only way forward. He doesn’t control all these things and for him what he can control is the way they have played and the way they will play,” Ganguly said.
“They are a phenomenal side and they have played absolutely superb cricket for the last six months. That’s all he can do. I don’t think he should worry about what’s going to happen.
“It’s always been the case when India plays Pakistan. The government always takes the decision. There is no change to it. I am sure the cricketers will stick to that,” he said.
On the World Cup that begins in June in the United Kingdom, Ganguly rated India as favourites but added teams like Sri Lanka and the West Indies are doing really well of late and they can spring a surprise.
“India are the favourites but the way Sri Lanka are playing in South Africa, they are on the verge of winning 2-0, which not many teams have done in the world cricket.
“I don’t believe in the tag favourites, but India is a much stronger team at the moment. Also, the way they have played in the last few months, they will be very high on confidence. It will be very hard to beat India in India,” he said.
Ganguly said with the new format, it will be an interesting World Cup. “It will be a good World Cup. This is a different kind of World Cup. Ten teams and everybody will play everybody. It will be a competitive World Cup.”
Among his other favourites, Ganguly backed Pakistan to put up a good show in the mega event. “The other favourites are Australia, England, West Indies the way they are playing right now. Sri Lanka has beaten South Africa in their own backyard. They will comeback as a better side, which is exciting.”
Nine teams including Pakistan will take part in the Street Child World Cup and the format will be a league one. The final will be in May. India will be represented by two mixed teams.