Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar believes that arch-rivals India and Pakistan should resume their bilateral cricketing ties arguing that they already compete with each other in various other sports and even have an ongoing trade relationship.
Akhtar did not beat about the bush and was straight to the point in criticising the various stakeholders involved in hosting the cricket matches between the two Asian cricketing heavyweights.
“We can play Davis Cup, we can play kabaddi with each other then what’s wrong with cricket? If you want to cut the ties then stop the trade, stop playing kabaddi. Why only cricket? Whenever it’s cricket we make it political, it is very disappointing. We eat onions and tomatoes, we exchange pleasantries then why can’t we play cricket?” Akhtar asked.
Akhar further suggested that if playing in India or Pakistan is a problem, neutral venues can be considered for playing a bilateral series.
“I understand India can’t come to Pakistan, Pakistan can’t go to India. But we play Asia Cup, Champions Trophy on neutral venues, can’t we do the same for bilateral series? We are one of the best hospitable nations in the world and India have seen it first hand,” he said.
“Ask the likes of Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar we love them like anything. Cricket should not get affected by the differences between us. Hopefully, India and Pakistan can play a bilateral series soon and it’s important for both countries to have a tough competition between them,” he added.
“Pakistan is a very safe place to travel. India’s kabaddi team came, they got a lot of love, Bangladesh came to play Test cricket. But if there are still doubts then I suggest neutral venues,” he further stated.
Recently, Yuvraj Singh had also shared his thoughts on the India-Pakistan bilateral cricketing relationship.
“I remember playing against Pakistan in 2004, 2006 and 2008 in bilateral series. These days yeah, there has not been enough of that. But these things are not in our hands. We play cricket for the love of the sport. We cannot choose which country to play against ourselves. But what I can say is that the more India v Pakistan cricket there is, the better it is for the sport,” Yuvraj told Sports360.