I suggested to the BCCI that we should hold a Jinnah-Gandhi series: Ex-PCB chief Zaka Ashraf

India and Pakistan have not played a bilateral Test series since the 2012/13 season.

India vs Pakistan
India vs Pakistan. (Photo by Satish Bate/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

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Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Zaka Ashraf has called for the resumption of bilateral ties between India and Pakistan. The political relation between the two neighbours is at an all-time low in recent years and it has affected the cricketing ties too. The Indian government has taken the tough stance due to Pakistan government’s failure to stop the cross-border terrorism.

The last Test series between the two countries had taken place way back in 2007 when Pakistan visited India for five ODIs and three Tests. The last bilateral series between the two arch-rivals had taken place in 2012/13 season when Pakistan visited India for a short limited-overs series. Since then, both the teams have only played against each other in Asia Cups and ICC tournaments.

Things are not very promising at present either. It won’t be surprising at all if India and Pakistan do not play a bilateral series in the coming years. India and Pakistan last played against each other during the 2019 World Cup in England.

We should hold a Jinnah-Gandhi series: Zaka Ashraf

Zaka Ashraf has insisted he had proposed a Jinnah-Gandhi series between the two countries during his tenure. Incidentally, the last bilateral series between the two countries had taken place during Ashraf’s tenure. He also took a shot at India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, calling him an extremist element while revealing that the BCCI were hesitant regarding the proposal of the Jinnah-Gandhi Series.

“I suggested to the BCCI during my tenure that we should hold a Jinnah-Gandhi series, named after the great leaders of the two countries but they were hesitant to go ahead with this proposal because of the extremist elements in India like [Narendra] Modi,” Ashraf was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.

“This series would have been similar to what the Ashes is for England and Australia. It would have improved cricketing relations between the two nations and people of both countries would have enjoyed some great cricket,” he added.

Speaking further, Ashraf backed the suggestion of cricket matches between the two countries at a neutral venue. Ashraf also stated that ICC’s rule regarding the FTP is one of the reasons behind India not agreeing to play bilateral series against Pakistan.

“I think India and Pakistan should play at neutral venue, if not on home soil, be it UAE, Sri Lanka, South Africa or any other country. I also think the main issue is that ICC has changed its rules with regards to FTP, primarily due to Indian influence, and allowed members to have the final say on playing bilateral series rather than ensuring that countries play against each other on a regular basis,” he said.