Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has stated that no matter where the Asia Cup is held, India and Pakistan’s participation in the competition is a must. With Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in no mood to host this year’s Asia Cup at a neutral venue, there are big question marks over India’s participation in the competition because of the bilateral relation between the two countries. The bilateral relation between the two neighbours is at an all time low right now.
India and Pakistan have not played a full bilateral Test series since 2007 when Pakistan visited India for three Tests and five One-Day Internationals. They played a short series of three ODIs and two T20s in India in December 2012, but otherwise, both have faced each other only in the ICC organised events or the Asia Cup.
India last played on Pakistan soil in 2008. The Mumbai terror attack later that year meant the tour turned out to be India’s last visit to the country. The bilateral ties became worse last year after the Pulwama attack last February. Pakistan are the designated hosts for the competition this year which has made things trickier.
India are more than likely to boycott the competition if it is held in Pakistan. Only time will tell whether the tournament is hosted in Pakistan or at a neutral venue. But Shahid Afridi has said irrespective of the venue of the tournament, India and Pakistan should play in the tournament.
Shahid Afridi also batted for peace between the two nations, stating that the two countries should sort out the differences by dialogue with each other.
“The Asia Cup should be held with both India and Pakistan in it. It’s time Pakistan and India sat together and sorted out their problems without involving any third country. They have many issues and once they sit together, it can be sorted but Asia Cup held anywhere should have India and Pakistan playing in the event,” Shahid Afridi was quoted as saying by Gulf News.
Shahid Afridi further stated that the PCB has proved that it can provide good security in the country and that he would like to see India play in Pakistan. Pakistan recently hosted the likes of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in their own backyard.
“The whole of PSL being held in Pakistan is a good message for all countries, as also Bangladesh touring and playing even Test cricket, shows that our security situation is good. I am waiting for India to come to Pakistan and play a series,” said the former Pakistan captain.