Former Pakistan batsman Javed Miandad believes Imran Khan’s rise to the prime minister’s seat could improve the bilateral ties between India and Pakistan.
India have cut all the bilateral ties with Pakistan in cricket in the wake of rising ceasefire violations . The arch-rivals have not played a full-fledged bilateral Test series since 2007. Pakistan visited India for three Tests and five One-Day Internationals.
However, both countries went on to play a short series of three ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals in India, in December 2012. Otherwise, both have faced each other only in the ICC organised events or the Asia Cup. They last meet in 2017 Champions Trophy.
However, hopes are high that things could change for the better after Imran Khan becomes the Prime Minister. The former Pakistan skipper is scheduled to take oath as PM on August 11. And his former teammate Miandad is also hopeful that India and Pakistan could finally bury the hatchet and start playing cricket against each other.
“Imran has already spoken about improving India-Pakistan relationship. Hopefully, everything will fall in place,” Miandad told Sportstar.
Miandad also spoke on why the two neighbours should mend the ties.
“When it comes to cricket, Pakistan has always wanted to play India. The Pakistan Cricket Board has always taken the initiative in playing a match or series against India. Last time (in 2012), we even played there, so one can’t blame Pakistan for not extending support,” said Miandad.
“All the people want both the teams to play. With Imran coming in, I am sure, sports will improve. Be it cricket or other sport, there are issues with visa, but that should not happen. It is important to not mix politics and sports,” he added.
In his first speech after winning the polls, Imran made it clear that improving ties with India will be on the top of his list. Miandad is confident Imran will take every possible measure to change the equation with India.
“Remember the World T20, Imran was there in Kolkata for the India-Pakistan match (2016). The ground was packed. So, even he knows that people are always willing to back sport, and the top-level needs to understand that,” he says.
“Nobody should have a question about Imran’s intentions. With him coming in, people are hoping for a better tomorrow in terms of India-Pakistan cricketing relations. But we have never said no. We have always been ready to play India, anywhere in the world,” he says. “Let’s not forget, sport can improve relations. In cricket, winning and losing are part of the game. Dono khel rahein hai, ek jeetega aur ek harega (two are playing, one will win and the other will lose).”