At a time when fans from India and Pakistan are gearing up to see their nations squaring up in a mouth-watering clash in the Asia Cup, veteran India batsman Gautam Gambhir has vented his anger over the ambiguity surrounding the policy games between India and Pakistan.
Gambhir is not impressed with the fact that Indian government does not allow India to resume bilateral ties with Pakistan but lets the team take on the arch-rivals in ICC events or Asia Cup.
The arch-rivals 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.
Things turned sour when the PCB has decided to sue its Indian counterpart on the ground that the latter did not honour the MoU signed in 2014. The boards had signed the MoU for six bilateral series to be played between 2015 and 2023 with Pakistan hosting four of them.
India and Pakistan last played a bilateral series in 2012 (Credits: AFP)
The BCCI has also not kept Pakistan in its Future Tour Programmed for 2019-2023 cycles, snubbing the neighbouring country amongst its six proposed opponents for the World Test Championship beginning in 2019.
However, India and Pakistan continue to play against each other in global and continental tournaments. They last played in the Champions Trophy in 2017 and are now gearing up to play in the ongoing Asia Cup. However, Gambhir is not happy with this policy as he lashed out on it in a recent interview.
“There should not be a conditional ban. We cannot be playing them only in ICC tournaments and Asia Cups. There should be a clear stand, either we should ban them completely or if we really want to play them then we shouldn’t pick and choose, we should also resume bilateral series,” Gambhir told Wah Cricket.
For years we’ve been hanging in mid-air. There’s no clear policy and we are very indecisive about what we need to do when it comes to playing Pakistan,” he added.
Gambhir, who never shies away from expressing his patriotism, went on to say that India should completely stop playing against Pakistan in recent tensed situations.
“I don’t think we hear about any other country more than Pakistan. We don’t hear about South Africa, Australia or England. So clearly there is a problem and it needs to be sorted before even thinking of playing cricket with Pakistan,” Gambhir said.
“We should clear our political differences first. Our soldiers who are dying on the border regularly are more important than cricket. Personally, I don’t believe we should be playing Pakistan in this scenario,” added Gambhir.
India and Pakistan will face each other on September 19 in the Asia Cup.