Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi has urged Team India to tour Pakistan for the upcoming edition of the Asia Cup. The former allrounder stated that India visiting Pakistan this year will be a big step towards improving the bilateral relations between the two countries.
As of now, all the bilateral relations between the two cricket boards is suspended due to political tension. India have not visited Pakistan since the 2008 Asia Cup while Pakistan’s last visit to India came during the 2012-13 season. The Indian government suspended the bilateral relations following the terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008.
The arch-rivals have not played a Test series between them since 2007 while the last bilateral series between them took place during the 2012-13 season. As of now, they only take on each other in ICC tournaments and the Asia Cup.
While Pakistan are the designated hosts of the 2023 Asia Cup, India are highly unlikely to visit the country for the continental championship. BCCI secretary and Asian Cricket Council (ACC) chief Jay Shah already stated that India will not travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup scheduled later this year.
He had also stated that the tournament will not be played in Pakistan. And while time will tell how things pan out, Shahid Afridi is still hopeful of India visiting his country this year. Urging India to visit Pakistan, the former cricketer recalled how well both teams were received on previous visits to each other.
“It would have been really nice if India had come. It would have been a step towards Cricket and Pakistan for India. This is not the generation of wars and fights. We want relationships to get better,” Afridi told the media 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. 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 added.
Speaking further, Shahid Afridi stated that there are no security concerns in Pakistan at the moment. He also urged the authorities to communicate with each other and sort out the issues.
“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 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 further said.
“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.
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