Harbhajan Singh calls for India to boycott cricket World Cup match against Pakistan

Harbhajan Singh wants to see cricket respond to last week's terror attack in Kashmir. (AFP)
Updated 19 February 2019
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Harbhajan Singh calls for India to boycott cricket World Cup match against Pakistan

  • Indian spin king has pleaded for the national team to pull out of its World Cup clash against Pakistan in the summer.
  • The call follows a Kashmir attack which left more than 40 paramilitaries dead.

DELHI: Spin star Harbhajan Singh has called for India to boycott their World Cup game against Pakistan in June in protest at a Kashmir attack which left more than 40 paramilitaries dead.
India has accused its neighbor of supporting the attack, and amid nationwide calls for reprisals, Singh said: “There is no need for any relations with Pakistan, let alone cricket.
“Don’t play the World Cup match with Pakistan on June 16 — country comes first for all of us and we are all standing with our forces,” added BHajji, who played his last Test in 2015 but is still an Indian Premier League regular.
“Pakistan has been promoting cross-border terrorism and this attack was unbelievably shocking,” said Singh, whose 417 Test wickets are the second highest for an off-spinner. Pakistan has denied any role in the attack.
India, one of the World Cup favorites, would at the very least forfeit the match points if they boycott the group game to be played in Manchester. But Singh said this would not matter.
“I don’t care about losing points as the Indian team is powerful enough to win the World Cup without playing Pakistan,” Singh told the Aaj Tak Hindi news channel.
The boycott call has also been taken up by the secretary of the prestigious Cricket Club of India.
“CCI is a sporting association but nation comes first,” said Suresh Bafna as he condemned the attack in which a suicide bomber hit a military convoy in Kashmir last Thursday.


Unai Emery wants Arsenal to treat Al-Nasr friendly as if it was a Premier League clash

Updated 23 min 39 sec ago
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Unai Emery wants Arsenal to treat Al-Nasr friendly as if it was a Premier League clash

  • Gunners to open Al-Maktoum Stadium with friendly against Dubai side.
  • Emery calls for focus ahead of such for Champions League spot.

LONDON: Unai Emery has told his Arsenal team to take today’s friendly against Al-Nasr seriously as they aim to grab a top-four spot in the Premier League.
The north London side are in Dubai for warm-weather training during the international break. They currently lie fourth in the Premier League and would qualify for the Champions League if they were to stay there. And Emery wants Mesut Oil and Co. to treat the Al-Nasr match as if it was a key clash in the battle for a European spot.
“For us it’s very important to continue being competitive in each match,” the Gunners boss said.
“It’s a friendly against Al-Nasr, but we can use different players and take more confidence and rhythm for the next matches that are coming. And the first of that is against Newcastle.
“If we were in London, then we would have been doing the same things that we are doing here.
“The main thing for us is to have the continuity going into this friendly match where all of our players get an opportunity (to play).
“We need to give the players a platform to remain confident and keep their rhythm heading into the remainder of the season.”
The players have been out and about in Dubai trying to get some relaxation in before the final straight of the season. They have been spotted on a bus tour of the emirate, visited the Dubai Frame and four players — Rob Holding, Danny Welbeck, Hector Bellerin and Petr Cech — visited a children’s hospital to dish out gifts.
Of the trip to Dubai Emery added: “The atmosphere is continuing like in London and we’re also enjoying a big city and the very kind people with us. They’re giving us all the good things to continue our work.
“We are happy to see our fans and happy with our work here with the big facilities.
”And in preparing also for the match on Tuesday with Al-Nasr and enjoying the city. We are also very happy with all the people who are giving us everything to make it easy to work and to stay here.”
The Gunners will face Benat San Jose’s Al-Nasr side to officially open Al-Maktoum Stadium — which was refurbished for the Asian Cup.
Emery will be without a number of first-team faces, with many currently on international duty. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mohammed Elneny just four of the names who will be missing.
The lack of many first-team regulars means Emery has a chance to look at some young players as he readies the squad for the last two months of the season. Of all the top-four hopefuls — the Gunners are battling it out with Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United — Arsenal’s run-in is the easiest. They no longer have to face any top-six side and, but they do have five away games out of their remaining nine matches.
Of the training in Dubai striker Alexandre Lacazette added: “It’s interesting for the club. We have to say thank you. For us, it’s a pleasure to play in this match.”