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The impact of the Pulwama terror attack could snowball into a countrywide boycott of Pakistani cricketers. On Wednesday, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said those asking for the boycott of the matches are justified in their demand. He told India Today, "I cannot make any comment (on cricket issues) except to say those who are demanding it have some justification. You can see many films and concerts have been cancelled. Things are not normal. If things are not normal, the jhappiyan-pappiyan (hugs and kisses) issues have always been there." He also added, "Since it's an international tournament, the ICC and our Indian cricket board have to take a call after consideration with our security establishment."
Meanwhile, more state cricket associations have decided to remove or veil the portraits of Pakistani cricketers. Yesterday, the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association removed photos of Pakistan cricketers from the picture gallery of its stadium at Dharamshala. HPCA general manager HS Minhas said, "The reason is known to the entire nation. What our neighbour has done with us, our soldiers, it is neither acceptable now nor will ever be. No country will ever tolerate such things...after this incident, we do not want the pictures of Pakistani cricketers to hang on our walls. So, we have vacated the place and there is no space for them as of now."
It's not just cricket that is affected by the Pulwama attacks. The ISSF Shooting World Cup has also been affected. Denied visas after the attack in Kashmir, Pakistan's shooting federation wrote to the International Shooting Sport Federation demanding it drop the two 25m rapid-fire pistol quotas for 2020 Olympics in the season-opening World Cup.
A National Rifle Association of India official explained, "The ISSF has received a letter from the Pakistan federation, requesting it not to offer quota places in the events their shooters were scheduled to participate. This is what the ISSF secretary-general said."
Pakistan had applied for visas for two athletes in the rapid-fire category as the event in New Delhi also serves as a qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games.
Champions League update now. Cristiano Ronaldo's Champions League mission with Juventus stalled on Wednesday as Atletico Madrid secured a deserved 2-0 victory from a thrilling first leg at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Ronaldo returned to the Spanish capital, where he enjoyed unprecedented success in this tournament with Real, but it was their rivals celebrating at the final whistle as goals from Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin put Atletico within sight of the quarter-finals.
Juve are certainly not dead and buried, particularly given Costa and Thomas Partey will both be suspended for the return in Turin after each picked up yellow cards.
Defeat in the last-16 for either team would be unthinkable, for Atletico, who know the final will be played here, at their own stadium, on 1 June, the perfect chance to wrestle the trophy off Real in the very city they share.
Elsewhere, Raheem Sterling sealed a dramatic 3-2 Champions League win for 10-man Manchester City at Schalke on Wednesday as the English champions scored twice in the last five minutes.
Sterling tucked away the winner at the Veltins Arena in the 90th minute just after substitute Leroy Sane fired home a stunning free-kick for the Premier League leaders against his former club in the last-16, first leg.
Schalke led 2-1 at half-time as the video assistant referee (VAR) twice intervened to award penalties, both converted by Nabil Bentaleb, cancelling out Sergio Aguero's opener. City were in real trouble with 22 minutes left when Nicolas Otamendi, who gave away the controversial first penalty, was sent off for a second yellow card before Sane's moment of brilliance and Sterling's winner.
The Indian women's cricket team suffered a jolt as vice-captain and leading batswoman Harmanpreet Kaur was ruled out of the limited overs series against England following an ankle injury. She injured her ankle during a training session in Patiala and suffered a grade 2 tear. She will undergo a rehabilitation programme at the NCA in Bengaluru where the extent of the injury will also be ascertained.
Cricketers from Bihar and Jharkhand were found to be involved in corruption in the selection process along with members of the Bihar and Jharkhand cricket associations.
In a sting operation carried out by News 18 India called 'Operation Clean Bowled', it has emerged that selectors and other members of both Bihar and Jharkhand Cricket Associations influenced selection processes on receiving bribes that were between Rs 50,000 and one crore.
Neeraj Kumar, the selector in the Bihar Cricket Association, was caught on record claiming that if Rs 74 lakh is paid to him, he can make any cricketer play at the Ranji Trophy level.
An ISL update now. NorthEast United will have to wait longer to book their slot in the play-offs after their 1-1 draw against FC Pune City on Wednesday. NorthEast could have sealed a place among the top four with a victory against Pune but the closely-fought clash at ended in a draw, which means they now have to wait till their final league match.
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Updated Date: Feb 21, 2019 16:25:40 IST