No tit-for-tat: PM Imran Khan’s inspiring message for Pakistan ahead of crucial India tie

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged the Pakistan national cricket team to ‘stick to cricket’ in their crucial ICC World Cup 2019 match against India which is slated to be held on June 16 in Manchester.

A senior official in Pakistan establishment told Mumbai Mirror on Thursday that a certain proposal was sent to Imran Khan government that the team wanted to celebrate differently in a bid to answer back to the Virat Kohli-led Men in Blue for donning the camouflage army cap during the ODI series against Australia in Ranchi back in March.

The entire Indian team had worn the army caps with BCCI logo on it as a mark of tribute to those CRPF jawans who had lost their lives at the dastardly Pulwama attack on February 14 in Kashmir. Following the step, Pakistan expressed that the Indian team was mixing sports with politics.

Amid these, the much-anticipated India-Pakistan clash was in serious doubt as most veterans of the game urged Kohli and his men to boycott the match. However, after ICC deliberating on the matter, the match will be played as scheduled, however, the Pakistan side seems keen to give it back to the Indians, as per a Pakistan official.

“Prime Minister Khan has clearly conveyed to the players that they must enjoy the game and not indulge in over show of political diplomacy or aggression. He is clear that sport should not blend with politics, hence there will not be anything like what the Indian cricket team did recently,” the official said.

Ehsan Mani, the chief of Pakistan Cricket Board, clarified the news saying the government has urged the players to keep calm in the India clash. “We will not resort to what the other party has done,” Mani said. “There could be sporadic celebrations in case of a hundred, like Misbah-ul Haq’s push-ups during the Lord’s Test in 2016 which was a tribute to the army, but nothing different at the fall of a wicket,” he added.

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