Former Pakistan cricketer, Azhar Mahmood hopes for cricket to resume between India and Pakistan and that the two teams should play more often than they currently do. Owing to the political issues amongst the two neighbouring nations, India and Pakistan face each other only in ICC events.
The last bilateral series between the two Asian giants took place in 2012-13 when India hosted the Men in Green for 2 T20Is and 3 ODIs. India toured Pakistan last in 2005-06.
Azhar Mahmood, who made his ODI debut against India and picked Sachin Tendulkar as his maiden ODI scalp in 1996, says that cricket could once again become the bridge between the two proud nations. Azhar Mahmood further mentioned that there were political tensions even when Pakistan toured India in 1997-98. However, players from both sides are good friends with each other.
“Whenever we come to India or these guys come to Pakistan, we’ve got so much love for each other. I have got a lot of close Indian friends. Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, and Yuvraj are friends. Doesn’t matter where you come from,” Azhar Mahmood told Sportskeeda.
“I want to see Pakistan play India more often apart from ICC tournaments. In 1997-98, when we toured India, there was a lot of tension between the countries. But, after that tour, the relations between the two countries improved. Cricket is the only thing that can unite India and Pakistan,” he stated.
Indian bowlers are a bit more experienced because of IPL: Azhar Mahmood
The 45-year-old says that India’s recent Test series triumph in Australia was ‘exceptional’. He asserts that India’s bowling bench has strengthened because the bowlers gain plenty of experience in the IPL.
Azhar Mahmood, who played for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in IPL owing to his British citizenship, lauded Mohammed Siraj’s maturity in Australia as the pacer returned with a five-wicket haul in Brisbane.
“India’s bowlers are a bit more experienced because of the IPL. India’s pitches are so good that one can even chase 220 in a T20 game. Your skill and confidence level improves because of that. Siraj and other fast bowlers did very well in Australia.
“Defeating Australia in Australia was exceptional. India’s bowling depth is evident from this. Siraj played IPL before going to Australia. He was used to the pressure of playing international cricket. Their plans against Australia were really good,” he further added.