NEW DELHI (Agencies) - Former cricketers from India and Pakistan have welcomed the recent developments which point at the resumption of bilateral sporting ties between the two nations, most prominent among them the prospect of a match between the two teams.
Former Pakistan captain Mushtaq Mohammad also expressed similar opinions, saying the developments were a positive change. “It was like a breath of fresh air when I heard about the resumption of the cricket ties between the neighbouring countries,” he said.
Pak-India cricket came to a standstill in 2008, following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which led to a diplomatic deadlock between the two countries. The last bilateral series between the two nations was played in 2007, after which the teams only met in international tournaments, such as the Asia Cup in March this year. Pakistani players were also not made available for auction in the Indian Premier League after the 2008 edition.
However, recent developments in the ties between the two countries indicate a revival of cricketing relations between the two. Pakistan Cricket Board chief Zaka Ashraf was recently invited by the BCCI to watch the final of the IPL in Chennai on May 27, while Pakistan’s domestic T20 team, the Sialkot Stallions, will be featuring as competitors in the upcoming Champions League T20 later this year.
The most recent advancement in the resumption of ties is the proposal for a bilateral series, which has been reduced to a single one-off match between the two teams, with their hectic schedules making it impossible to squeeze in a whole series. The dates for the proposed match are expected to be announced later this month.
While former players have welcomed the development, lauding it as a step in the right direction, they have also expressed the opinion that the match could only take place in India or at a neutral venue, with the security situation in Pakistan being deemed precarious ever since the terrorist attack on the touring Sri Lankan team in 2009.
“I am not sure whether cricket is possible in Pakistan. Unless and until the touring country is absolutely satisfied with the security there, they won’t tour Pakistan,” said Mushtaq.
Bedi expressed similar opinions, advocating the use of either India, or a neutral country such as the UAE for hosting the match. “… the venue could be India or somewhere like Sharjah or Dubai because I don’t think Pakistan is in a position to hold cricket right now simply due its security concerns,” he said.