Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has said that the Indian cricket board should show “more responsibility” as it’s a “very strong board “and should strive to normalise relationship between the two cricketing nations. He said that he will request the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to “let cricket happen”.
I will request Modi sahab to let cricket happen between both countries,” Afridi said on the sidelines of the Legends League Cricket (LLC) in Doha.
“What can we do if we want to befriend someone and he does not talk to us? There is no doubt that the BCCI is a very strong board, but when you are strong, you have more responsibility. You don’t try to make more enemies, you need to make friends. When you make more friends, you become stronger,” Afridi said.
When asked if he believes the PCB (the Pakistan Cricket Board) is weak, Afridi said, “I would not say weak, but some answers came from the front (BCCI) as well”.
Afridi felt that cricket is the best diplomacy and both the teams should strengthen each other. He still has cordial relationships with the Indian players. Other day, former India player Suresh Raina gave me a bat.
“I still have friends in the Indian team when we meet, we discuss, the other day I met Raina and I asked for a bat, he gave me a bat,” he says.
In a long interaction, Afridi kept on pressing to ‘spread the love’. He recalled during the 2005 series, when Indian cricketers went out, no one used to take money from them.
The legendary big hitting allrounder said that Pakistan doesn’t have any security concerns as many international teams have safely toured in recent times.
“As far as the security concern in Pakistan is concerned, we had many international teams traveling here recently. We used to face security threats from India as well, but if permission is received from the government of both the countries then the tour will happen. If the tour doesn’t happen, we will give those people a chance. All they want is that there should be no cricket between them,” Afridi said.
The bilateral cricketing ties between the two nations hasn’t resumed post Mumbai 2008 terrorist attack; the teams have only met in a multi-nation tournament since then. Afridi said both the boards should have a discussion on a regular basis.
Last year, BCCI secretary Jay Shah, who is also Asian Cricket Council’s chief, had made it public that the Indian team won’t be traveling to Pakistan to play in the Asia Cup and that the tournament will be held at a neutral venue. PCB objected to this stating ACC didn’t even inform them about the tournament moving away from their home and decision was taken without consulting them. Since then, PCB has been threatening to pull out of the 50 overs World Cup which is scheduled to be held in India, if the Asia Cup is played in some other part of the cricketing world.
“The real thing is that we never discuss with each other. Communication is most important. Politicians do the same, they discuss. Nothing will be resolved until you sit among yourselves. It would have been better if India had come to Pakistan. We and our governments want better relations with each other,” Afridi said.
PCB Chairman Najam Sethi on Saturday said that support of other members of Asian Cricket Council (ACC) will be important on the issue of hosting the Asian Cup but conceded that India, which wants the tournament to be held elsewhere, enjoys big clout in the continental body.
“It’s important to see how other members (of ACC) look at our stance on Asia Cup. What they think is important, but in the end we must realise how much clout the BCCI with its financial power carries in world cricket,” said Sethi at a press conference, ahead of his departure for Dubai to attend ACC and ICC meetings.
“I have been in contact with senior members of ACC. I have informed them about our problems and we will try and find honourable solutions to the problems,” he added.
Sethi said he had not only taken legal opinion but also held informal consultations with the foreign office and government officials on the issue.
“I have held informal consultations and taken the government opinion as well and this time we have also taken all legal advice for what stance we can take at these meetings,” Sethi said.
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