Imran Khan, current Pakistan Prime Minister said that a terrible atmosphere prevails which prevents to resume bilateral cricket given the current tense relations between India and Pakistan. India toured Pakistan in 2004 and 2006 when despite Pakistan losing most of the matches, the crowd cheered visitors India for playing well.
India won the three-test series 2-1 and ODI series 3-2 in 2004 but lost 1-0 to Pakistan in 2006 in a three-test match series. India, however, won the ODI series 4-1 in 2006.
A terror attack on a touring Sri Lankan bus in Pakistan in 2009 hindered chances of future tours to Pakistan with questions of security raised by Indian Government who also are reluctant to see India hosting Pakistan following terrorist activities, especially keeping in mind the 2008 attack which saw militants enter Mumbai killing hundreds of common people.
It is to be mentioned that India and arch-rivals Pakistan have not played bilateral cricket since 2008 after the Mumbai terror attacks although a short tour happened in 2012 when Pakistan toured India to play 3 ODIs and 2 T20Is in 2012. The two teams meet only in ICC tournaments and Asia Cups.
Imran Khan: Present Situations Still Not Conductive Enough To Resume Bilateral Ties Between India And Pakistan
Pakistan 1992 World Cup-winning captain Imran Khan who is also the patron-in-chief of Pakistan cricket board says that it will not be conducive atmosphere to play bilateral cricket in present situations with the sort of government in power in India at present.
Speaking on a Sky Sports documentary, former captain Khan, who is also the patron-in-chief of the country’s cricket board, said it will not be conducive to play bilateral cricket at present. “I just think playing cricket in this atmosphere with India with the sort of government they have in power, I would say it would be a terrible atmosphere to play bilateral cricket in,” he said.
Pakistan whose captain was the current Prime Minister when they won the 1992 World Cup, recalled that he had played two series in India in 1979 and 1987 mentioning that the atmosphere was healthy and fans appreciated both the teams for playing well in 1979 unlike in 1987.
“They were big crowds and the governments were also trying to remove barriers and come close and it meant the atmosphere on the field was great with the crowds appreciating both teams for good cricket in 1979,” Khan said.
“But in 1987 when I captained Pakistan to India the atmosphere was not very good and there was a lot of hostility from the crowds as well because there were tensions between the two governments,” he added.
After the Kargil War in 1999, India and Pakistan have played bilateral ODI series only 7 times and Test series only 5 times in India, Pakistan, and the Emirates with Indian Board not permitting them even to play in neutral countries.
Imran Khan: Indo-Pak Series Bigger Than Ashes
Imran Khan mentioned that the Indo-Pakistan series was a bigger contest than even the Ashes which take place between Australia and England, two countries who played the first-ever test match in 1877.
“I think obviously the Ashes series has its importance but nothing can match a Indo-Pakistan bilateral series because it is played in a different league and the atmosphere is filled with tension, pressure and enjoyment,” he added.
The performers who do well in the Indo-Pak series become heroes contrary to those who do not perform up to the mark. He also considers Tests as the best form but is also equally fascinated by T20Is which see a variety of strokes and is fun to watch if the game is a close contest.
“I am fascinated by T20 cricket and the variety of shots that are played in this format. I see the final five overs of a match as the best time to watch proceedings. If it’s a close game, it’s quite fun to watch. As a connoisseur of cricket, but obviously belonging to the old school, for me Test cricket remains the ultimate competition in cricket,” he added.
T20I format involving 20 overs per side was first seen between neighboring countries Austalia and New Zealand in 2005 and was popularized through IPL and T20 World Cups.