Shinde welcomes Pak team's visit to India, Thackeray differs

Hyderabad, Nov. 2 (ANI): With Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray expressing his displeasure over the invitation extended to the Pakistan's cricket team by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Friday said that sportsmanship should be maintained, and one must not ponder over what happened in the past.

Shinde said that any player from anywhere could come and play in India.

"Yesterday, I clarified that any player from anywhere, they can come to India and play here. We must have friendly relations. Once what happened in the past that should not be all the time we should repeat it. We must maintain the sportsmanship and a sport like cricket is certainly welcome," said Shinde.

"It should be free from politics. Whether it is sports or cultural affairs or whether it is singing or dancing, all these activities should be restricted to those activities only," he added.

Thackeray had earlier termed the BCCI's invitation to Pakistan's cricket team as a matter of 'national shame'.

"The Pakistan team will be playing matches at Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru. At one point or the other, Pak terrorists have attacked these cities. The feet of Pakistani players won't touch Maharashtra but their tour of these cities is a matter of national shame," The Express Tribune quoted Thackeray, as telling a news channel.

He also accused the BCCI of 'betraying the country for sake of money' and Indian cricketers of being part of that betrayal.

Thackeray considers it an insult to those who had lost their lives in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

He said that 'except for Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar, no one opposed playing cricket with Pakistan'.

The BCCI earlier announced that it had secured the government's clearance to host Pakistan for a short tour later this year.

The BCCI has invited Pakistan to play three one-dayers and two Twenty20 matches in December-January, the first bilateral contests between the arch-rivals in five years. (ANI)

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