'You can improve relationships through sports' - Shahid Afridi on talks of resuming India-Pakistan bilateral series
Shahid Afridi's comments come amid the rumours which suggested that India and Pakistan might play a T20I series this year.
Former Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi has said that cricket is a way by which the political tension between India and Pakistan can be improved. The two countries have not played any bilateral series since 2012-13, but there have been some rumours which have recently suggested that the two teams could play a short T20I series this year.
Since 2008, India and Pakistan have not participated in regular bilateral series’. In 2012-13, Pakistan had travelled to India for a three-match ODI series and two-match T20I series. However, between 2007 and 2021, that remains the only occasion when the two teams have played against each other in a bilateral series. However, the two teams have only played each other in the World Cup or Asia Cup matches since then.
The former Pakistan captain Afridi said in an interaction that cricket between the two nations is quite important. He suggested that by keeping politics away from the sport, the relation between the neighbouring countries can improve. “Cricket between Pakistan and India is very important. Sports should be kept away from politics. Relations between the two countries can improve because of cricket,” Afridi told Cricket Pakistan.
Indian cricketers enjoy coming to Pakistan: Shahid Afridi
Afridi also revealed that the Indian players enjoy coming to Pakistan. The last time an Indian team had gone to play in their neighbouring country was back in 2008 during the Asia Cup. “I have said this before as well, Indian cricketers enjoy coming to Pakistan. You can improve relationships through sports but if you don’t want to improve them then they will remain the same way,” he further said.
Recently, in an Urdu newspaper, it was revealed that there could be a possibility that Pakistan and India will play a small T20I series between them. “A PCB official said that while there has been no direct discussion with anyone from India, indications are there and we have been told to be ready for such a series,” said the reports in the Urdu newspaper.
The reports were then denied by a senior official of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Officials from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have also revealed that they have no prior information regarding this matter. As a matter of fact, PCB chairman Ehsan Mani was quoted by a renowned Pakistan media agency that there haven’t been any such discussions between the boards of the two countries.