In what can be a dream come true for cricket fans from both India and Pakistan, Virat Kohli and Babar Azam might play alongside one another as the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is planning to reboot the Afro-Asia Cup in the T20 format from 2023 onwards.
The political tension between both nations has spilt into cricket and thus restricted the contest between both nations when it comes to bilateral series. The two sides only play in ICC and ACC tournaments with India enjoying a huge lead over Pakistan in World Cup tournaments.
The Afro-Asia Cup was played twice in 2005 and 2007 in India and South Africa respectively and featured stars from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka for the Asia team and South Africa, Kenya, and Zimbabwe for the Africa team.
Many stars like Shoaib Akhtar, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Mohammad Yousuf, Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan, and others are featured on the Asian side.
Afro-Asia Cup To Return In 2023 In T20 Format Featuring Players From India And Pakistan In Same XI
Now the showpiece event is being given a rebranding from the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) led by India’s governing body boss Jay Shah. The updated version, played in the T20 format, is earmarked for June-July next year and discussions with other boards are slated for next month’s ICC Annual General Meeting.
“We haven’t got confirmation from the boards yet. We are still working on the white paper and it will be submitted to both boards. But our plan is for the best players from India and Pakistan to be playing in the Asian XI. Once plans are finalized we will go into market for sponsorship and a broadcaster. It will be a massive event. Really, really big,” ACC head of commercial and events Prabhakaran Thanraj was quoted by Forbes.
Granted if everything works out then players from both nations will light up the stage for all the fans to enjoy.
“I would love to see the opportunity to build the bridge and allow the players to play together. I’m sure the players want it to happen and to keep the politics away from it. It would be a beautiful thing to see players from Pakistan and India playing on the same team,” said Damodar who is on the influential Chief Executives’ Committee.
The 2005 edition ended up tied at 1-1 thanks to rain interrupting the third and final ODI, while the 2007 edition had one T20 match and 3 ODIs. Asia XI whitewashed African XI in the ODIs and also won the T20 match, which did not have official status as a Twenty20 international or a regular Twenty20 match.