It never mattered whether it was Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club Ground, Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium or India’s Eden Gardens, if there is one fixture in cricket that can attract huge crowd irrespective of the venue, it has to be the India-Pakistan match.
However, the last decade has seen a sharp decline in the bilateral ties between the two arch-rivals due to the escalating political tension and as a result, they have not a played a full-fledged series since 2007 when Pakistan visited India for three Tests and five One-Day Internationals.
Though they played a short series of three ODIs and two T20s in India in December 2012, otherwise, both have faced each other only in the ICC organised events or the Asia Cup.
And with any hopes of seeing both the country resuming bilateral ties with each other in near future soon, Warwickshire chief executive Neil Snowball has stated that Edgbaston is “very interested” in becoming a neutral venue for Pakistan and India matches.
“We have the experience of handling it,” Snowball was quoted as saying by BBC Sport.
Birmingham, whose population almost consists of 20% Pakistanis or Indians, has already got a feeling of what it is like to host an Indo-Pak game. Edgbaston had previously hosted the two nations twice – both times in the Champions Trophy (2004, 2013) and are gearing up to witness another match between the arch-rivals on coming Sunday (June 4) in the eighth edition of the Champions Trophy.
Not surprising that they are keen in becoming a neutral venue for the famous rivalry.
“It is not the sort of game you can take anywhere because it is a completely unique match with a completely unique collection of fans and atmosphere.
“If they wanted this game at a neutral venue, I would hope they would consider Edgbaston – we would be very interested in looking at that,” Snowball said.
Meanwhile, India’s Sports Minister Vijay Goel has made it clear that the two countries will not be playing bilateral cricket matches because of the ongoing cross-border terrorism by Pakistan. The BCCI officials and their Pakistani counterpart had held a meeting in Dubai on May 29 but Goel said that it was of no use since the resumption of series depends on the approval of the government.