Batting great Inzamam-Ul-Haq has called for the resumption of bilateral tournaments between India and Pakistan, claiming that the series between the arch-rivals was followed more than The Ashes.
The former Pakistan skipper believes cricketing ties between the two cricket-obsessed nations will be highly beneficial for both teams. His comments come weeks after the cancellation of this year's Asia Cup owing to COVID-19 threat.
The tournament which was originally scheduled to be held in September, 2020, was moved to June 2021 before getting scrapped off amid the unrelenting pandemic.
"India-Pakistan series was followed much more than The Ashes and people thoroughly enjoyed each and every moment. For the betterment of the game and the players, it is important to have the Asia Cup and also bilateral series between India and Pakistan," Inzamam told Sportstar in an interview.
"Each and every competition is important. In our times, the Asia Cup was a tournament where the top teams would compete. The more you play high-quality cricket, you develop your skills.
"For instance, if India were playing Pakistan, the players would be excited to put in their best efforts because they know the importance and intensity of these matches. That not only helps a player grow, but also helps him earn appreciation from the fans. I think it is important to have these tournaments," he added.
More than the cricketing rivalry between both nations, it’s the competitiveness that attracts fans all across the globe. Inzamam also described the India-Pakistan series as a great opportunity for youngsters to 'pick the brains' of players like Sachin Tendulkar or Sourav Ganguly.
"When we would play against each other, it was a great feeling. In those bilateral series, it was also an opportunity for the young cricketers to learn a thing or two from the senior players. Be it a Sachin Tendulkar or a Sourav Ganguly or Mohammad Azharuddin or Javed Miandad, the youngsters could just walk up to them and pick their brains. That was a fantastic opportunity to improve one’s game.
"The on-field rivalry was intense, but at the end of the day, players respected each other and shared camaraderie. Meri toh bari khwayaish hain ke yeh cheez dobara shuru ho jayein (I wish this [India-Pakistan series] resumes)," said the ex-Pakistan skipper.