The cricket teams of India and Pakistan share a rich history in rivalry. However, for the past many years, both the sides have only met each other in the ICC tournaments due to political tensions between both the nations. It has been more than seven years since the last bilateral series between the two - Pakistan toured India for a three ODIs and two T20Is.
Many former cricketers have opined on the lack of bilateral tournaments between India and Pakistan. Shoaib Akhtar, Pakistan's fiery former fast bowler, is the latest ex-cricketer to raise the concern, on his official YouTube channel.
Akhtar believes that India and Pakistan can play against each other in cricket because both the nations are already competing each other in other sports.
"We can play Davis Cup, we can play Kabaddi with each other then what’s wrong with cricket? 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?" Akhtar asked.
"We are one of the best hospitable nations in the world and India have seen it first hands. 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."
The former Pakistan speedster insisted that if both the sides cannot play against each other, the countries should cut all the ties between them.
"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 tomatoes, we exchange pleasantries then why can’t we play cricket?" asked the 'Rawalpindi Express'.
The Test cricket returned to Pakistan last year when Sri Lanka toured the country for a two-match Test series. The country also hosted Bangladesh earlier this year for a three-match T20I series.
"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," Akhtar said.