Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar on Wednesday proposed a three-match ODI series between arch-rivals India and Pakistan to raise funds for the fight against COVID-19.
Notably, the two nations have not played a bilateral cricket series since 2007 due to tensed diplomatic relationships between the two countries. Both the teams play each other in events organised by the ICC.
“In this time of crisis, I want to propose a three-match series in which for the first time, the people of neither country would be upset at the outcome of the games,” Akhtar told PTI from Islamabad.
“If Virat (Kohli) scores a hundred, we will be happy, if Babar Azam scores a hundred, you will be happy. Both teams will be winners irrespective of whatever happens on the field,” he added..
“You are bound to get massive viewership for the games. For the first time, both countries will play for each other. And whatever funds are generated through this can be donated equally to the government of India and Pakistan to fight this pandemic,” one of the fastest bowlers ever stated.
Given that the number of COVID-19 cases in the world continue to rise, such a series might only be a possibility when things begin to improve.
However, the former Pakistani bowler said that the sooner the series is held, the better it is but agreed that it is only up to the authorities to decide.
“Everyone is sitting at home at the moment, so there will be a massive following for the games. Maybe not now, when things start improving, the games could be organised at a neutral location like Dubai. Chartered flights could be arranged and the matches could he held.
“It could even lead to resumption of bilateral cricketing ties and relations of both countries improve diplomatically. You never know,” the 44-year-old, who is often known as the ‘Rawalpindi Express’, said.
“The whole world will tune into it, so much money can be raised to deal with this crisis. In difficult times, the character of the nation comes forward.”
“If India can make 10,000 ventilators for us, Pakistan will remember this gesture forever. But we can only propose the matches. The rest is up to the authorities (to decide).”