Former speedster Shoaib Akhtar believes that India and Pakistan should resume bilateral cricketing ties as they compete with each other in other sports and also have an ongoing trade relationship. Speaking on his Youtube channel, Akhtar minced no words and criticised the stakeholders for not holding cricket matches between the two Asian giants when other sporting encounters take place without any problem. “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 potatoes, we exchange pleasantries then why can’t we play cricket?” Akhtar asked.
The ‘Rawalpindi Express’ further suggested that neutral venues can be used for India-Pakistan bilateral ties.
“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.
“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.
“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 added.
Recently, Yuvraj Singh and Shahid Afridi had said that cricket matches between the two countries will be better for the game as a whole.
The two teams meet sporadically in multi-nation tournaments but have not played a bilateral series since 2013 when Pakistan travelled to India for a three-match ODI series. They last played a Test series in 2008.