No Need For India-Pak Cricket Till There's Terrorism In Kashmir: Gautam Gambhir
Member of Parliament and former star cricketer Gautam Gambhir has strongly opposed the idea of resumption of cricket between India and Pakistan until Islamabad stops cross-border terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir.
In an exclusive interview with IANS at his home in the national capital, the star of the 2007 T20 India-Pakistan World Cup Final and 2011 India-Sri Lanka Final, Gautam Gambhir, said, "Ultimately, cricket does not matter. The lives of our soldiers do."
Though under international pressure, Pakistan claims that it has cracked down on its terror groups, but it has continued to send armed terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir. In the last few weeks, terror attacks against civilians and security forces in the newly created union territory have increased too.
Gambhir, the national icon who was handpicked by the BJP in Delhi in the 2019 parliamentary elections, argued that Indian cricketers get paid handsomely for playing for the country but soldiers defend the nation selflessly. "I haven't done any favor to anyone by playing and winning for the country. But look at someone who is defending us on the Siachen or Pakistan border, risking his life for a small amount of money. They are the greatest heroes of our country."
As a child, Gambhir wanted to join the Indian Army but after playing the prestigious Ranji trophy while he was still in school, he was persuaded by his parents to play for India at the international level. "It was another way of standing up for the country. So I agreed," Gambhir, who now represents the East Delhi constituency in Lok Sabha, recalled.
Though his love for the military and the Indian Army uniform remains intense, he refuses to accept any honorary offers to join the territorial army meant for civilians in India. "135 million Indian soldiers are brand ambassadors of the Indian Defence Forces. They don't need brand ambassadors to promote themselves," Gambhir said.