Ganguly backs BCCI: No cricket series with Pakistan amid terror strikes

New Delhi, July 28: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly today backed BCCI's stance of not resuming bilateral cricketing ties with Pakistan until the cross-border terrorism stops.

PCB had requested its Indian counterpart to host a bi-lateral series in December this year as per an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two boards comprising five series in eight years till 2023.

Sourav Ganguly

BCCI had promised to take up the matter with the government of India but the recent Gurdaspur terror attacks have prompted Board secretary Anurag Thakur to declare that cricket will take a backseat for a while and Ganguly could not agree more.

"I think BCCI is correct in saying that terror will have to completely go before play could happen. Because as human beings we also want terror to completely go," Ganguly told mediapersons during an Apollo Munich Health Insurance event for a 'Dengue Care' plan here.

"So this has always been the case with an India-Pakistan series. As much as we understand that it is entertaining and it is an high-profile series, we cannot take away the sufferings which the people go through at the border especially after what happened in Gurdaspur yesterday. he added.

"This has been going on for while. When we went to Pakistan in 2004, I was fortunate enough to be the captain of the side and we won the Test and the ODI series, for the first time in Pakistan. That series happened after 15 years," the former captain fondly recollected.

Ganguly, 43, is also hopeful that recently exonerated from the MCOCA charge by a Delhi court, former India medium-pacer Sreesanth will also get relief from BCCI, which has till now refused to revoke his life ban.

"I think he has been cleared by the Delhi court and the BCCI has said that the disciplinary action on him continues. And I believe he has been relieved by the Delhi court of criminal charges. I think the BCCI gives an opportunity to every player to come back and play and I think a dialogue would happen between BCCI and Sreesanth.

"If the board feels that the clearance from the Delhi court is fine, I am sure it will make way for the him to come back and play cricket," Ganguly expressed hope.

"The Kerala Cricket Association I believe has supported Sreesanth and requested the BCCI to help him and get back on the path. And that's how it should be. I think in a few months time when the BCCI is convinced that everything is fine and clear, they will let him play, he added.

Being part of the BCCI cricket advisory committee alongside Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, Ganguly is happy with the recent developments in Indian cricket and said that Ravi Shastri is doing a good job as Team Director.

"At the present moment, he (Shastri) has been asked to continue as Team Director by the board till at least the Sri Lanka tour.

"Even Anurag Thakur has said in an interview that after the Lanka tour, we will sit and find out if we need a coach. Because we have enough people (support staff) in the team. Ravi is the director of the team and I don't see any difference between a Director and a coach," Ganguly's answer was indicative of what his take was regarding this issue.

"So that's the way board has thought about it. With Sanjay (Bangar) and Bharat Arun and the fielding coach, we don't need any more than this at the present moment. I think they were very wise in giving Ravi a full go after he joined the team in England last year, so it's been just one year and why not give him a full go," he added.

Not willing to comment on the IPL mess, Ganguly still believes that the cash-rich league will carry on with eight teams and even more in the future.

"Firstly, the working group doesn't decide the punishment on teams, that's done by the BCCI working committee. What's the role of this working group is to find out a way to get this IPL going.

"The Secretary, the president and Mr Rajeev Shukla the chairman of the IPL Governing Council know that eight-team IPL is absolutely neccessary because of the number of games, the broadcasters and the number of agreements signed. We haven't yet had a meeting with the members of the working group so we are yet to discuss on it," he said.

"You have to play eight IPL teams, that's a commitment made to the franchises and the broadcaster. And from there on, when those two teams comeback, we can play with ten teams. That has happened in the past when Sahara and Kochi franchise played. I don't see this as too much of an issue," he added.

One of the most successful Indian captain's, Ganguly also played with a straight bat to the team's response of Virat Kohli as Test captain and MS Dhoni as the ODI leader.

"From this two-captain's theory, India have never had that and obviously it has happened due to the retirement of MS (Dhoni) from Test matches. But other teams in the world have had it, like Australia, England, South Africa, Sri Lanka. If you win it works, if you don't win it doesn't work," he said.


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