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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Pakistan’s golden opportunity to convince India for cricket series

Due to the recent developments between India and Pakistan, the author thinks that now is a good time to convince India for a T20 bilateral series with Pakistan. A bilateral T20 series would be beneficial in further improving relations between both countries.

Recently, A Pakistani news outlet quoted that Pakistan Cricket Board is in discussion with BCCI for a cricket series. However, no one from the Pakistani and Indian sides has confirmed the news. The Urdu newspaper further reported that Pakistan and India may involve in bilateral T20 series consisting of 3 matches this year.

The agreement of ceasefire along the Line of Control and the recent exchange of letters between Narendra Modi and Imran Khan had brought both countries close to each other.

Indian board BCCI (Board of Control of Cricket India) also agreed to grant visas to Pakistani players for the 2021 T20I World Cup which India is going to host in October. Initially, the Indian board had decided to not issue visas to Pakistani cricketers due to ongoing tensions.

Read more: India kicked out from holding Olympics events over visa row

During the Pulwama incident, India also declined visas to two Pakistani riffle shooters for the 2019 ISSF (International Shooting Sports Federation) World Cup also known as New Delhi World Cup.

This further increased the tensions between India and Pakistan. But now when India is hosting ISSF 2021 event in New Delhi, it has granted a visa to the lone Pakistani skeet shooter Usman Chand which is a sign of peace gesture.

Read more: International Cricket Council Takes Special Measures to Prevent any Political Agendas

A possible T20 series?

Sources suggest that there could be a T20 bilateral series between Pak and India after eight years. Last time, a T20 series between Pakistan and India was played in 2012-2013 when Pakistan beat the host with a 2-1 margin. Since then, both teams have faced each other in ICC tournaments only.

Although there is some news surrounding the possible cricket series before T20 WC, fans are not confident about its possibility. Pakistani former captain Shahid Khan Afridi is hopeful for good relations. He stated that “Cricket is an important sport between Pakistan and India which should be kept away from the politics. Cricket can improve the relations between both countries”.

Read more: Shahid Afridi’s comments on Kashmir & Modi irk Indian cricketers

Former cricket and commentator Ramiz Raja while criticizing the World Test Championship’s points system on his YouTube channel suggested that “Every team should have played against each team. The points system was weird. Pakistan should have faced India in this tournament”.

Fans are hoping for an Indo-Pak test match. It is more than 13 years to go since Pakistan faced India in a test match in December 2007.

Another interesting thing is Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s interview during the recent India-England T20 series. Kohli said that “Our team is going to play more T20 series this year”. As per schedule, July or late September could be the possible windows for the Indo-Pak series.

Read more: Virat Kohli: The world’s worst behaved player?

India’s security concern

Pakistan is going to host Asia Cup next year. It would be the first cricket tournament being hosted in Pakistan after 13 years. PCB wants India to participate in that tournament but every time India raises concerns over security conditions in Pakistan.

Pakistan had won the hosting rights for Asia Cup 2020 (which is now postponed to late 2021) but the Indian board advised Pakistan to change the venue to the United Arab Emirates or anywhere else.

Read more: India won’t play Asia Cup in Pakistan: BCCI’s tough response

Seeing the doubts of Indian participation in the Asia Cup, PCB exchanged the hosting right with Sri Lanka so that Pakistan could make other teams feel fearless through Pakistan Super League and home series.

In 2001-02, Asian Test Championship India had requested ACC (Asian Cricket Council) to change the venue for the final match (Dhaka, Bangladesh). Following the political tensions between Pakistan and India, BCCI after meeting with Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee decided on Indian withdrawal from the tournament. Resultantly, that tournament was played without India.

Read more: Last-ball thriller: India beat Bangladesh to retain Asia Cup

No politics in cricket!

It is a golden opportunity for PCB to take advantage of the close relations and convince India for a T20 bilateral series with Pakistan. This time when many countries are thinking to visit Pakistan, an Indian visit will be nothing less than a miracle.

To ensure the complete return of cricket in the country, this series has much importance for us as we have just spent a decade without international cricket on home grounds.

After the arrival of cricket, the recent home record of Pakistan shows how beneficial it is for a team to play in his home ground. Being a cricket fan, I want the sports boards of both nations to not bring politics into cricket.

Read more: India & Pakistan: Can Cricket and Peace go together?

The author is a content writer and blogger. He can be reached on Twitter @Zulkaif_Riaz. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.