Ramiz Raja, former Pakistan captain-turned commentator, opened up about the possibility of a bilateral series against arch-rivals India in the future.
Raja, who was the Chief Executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board during India’s historic tour back in 2004, hoped such an event takes place again in the future. He said that if the topic comes for discussion then Pakistan would be 70-80 percent ready to host a series against India.
India tour Pakistan for the first time in over two decades for a full series back in 2004. The tour was dubbed as the ‘Friendship Series’ between the two neighbours. Ramiz Raja, then CEO of PCB, recalled how a last-minute approval from the Indian government caused a hara-kiri within the board. He also recalled that PCB had earlier decided to have separate stands for the local fans and Team India’s fans. Bur the idea was scrapped as Raja and co. allowed the fans to enjoy the match together, a decision Ramiz admits was a risky one.
“I just wish that such an event (Indian cricket team tour of Pakistan 2004) can take place again. Pakistan has a different viewpoint regarding an Indian series. So, if that topic comes up for discussion, I think Pakistan would be 70-80% absolutely ready to host a series against India.” Ramiz Raja told Sportskeeda.
‘The only roadblock is India’- Ramiz Raja on the prospect of India and Pakistan locking horns in a bilateral series
Post the 2004 series, India and Pakistan hosted each other for a bilateral rubber every year till the 2008 Mumbai attack once again brought a halt to the arch-rivals’ cricketing ties. The last bilateral series between India and Pakistan took place in 2012-13 when the latter visited India for a series of white-ball internationals.
Since then, the relations between the neighbouring countries have only worsened and post the dastardly Pulwama attack in Kashmir and India’s subsequent retaliation in Balakot, they are probably at its nadir right now. With Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan constantly targeting PM Narendra Modi-led Indian government, Ramiz was asked whether the World Cup-winning captain will be ready to host India.
“From a cricketing point of view, I am 100% sure that he won’t have a problem. Obviously, he’ll have to look at the political situation as well, how the common people respond if India is invited or if Pakistan is invited with such a series.” Ramiz Raja added.