LAHORE: Pakistan’s Twenty20 captain and popular all-rounder Shahid Afridi urged authorities not to chase after sporting arch-rival India to play a cricket series against his country, saying his team can play against other sides.
Earlier this month the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) wrote a letter to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) seeking confirmation as to whether or not India would play a proposed two Tests, five one-day and two Twenty20 matches in the United Arab Emirates in December and January.
But India has so far not replied and current political tension between the two countries, with frequent cease-fire violations on the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir region, has cast serious doubt over the first full series between them since 2007.
“I can’t understand why we are running after India,” Afridi told media during a training camp. “There are other bigger teams who we can play because we have invited India many times and if they don’t want to play we are still happy.”
The proposed series in the United Arab Emirates was agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two boards last year, but is still pending clearance from New Delhi.
Pakistan paid a short visit to India to play two Twenty20 and three one-day internationals in December 2012 but that failed to revive the bilateral series.
In July BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur had said cricket was not possible under the current strained relationship between the two countries.
But Afridi added that people of both countries want to watch an Indo-Pak series.
“The way Pakistan welcomed India was never seen before,” said Afridi of the 2004 visit by India — their first tour in the neighboring country for 15 years.
“People of both the countries want to watch Indo-Pak contests because it’s a series bigger than the Ashes (played between Australia and England).”
Afridi said he did not know what the Indian government’s decision will be.
“Pakistan always supported India in difficult times but I don’t know what will be [the] Indian government’s decision and the series depends on their decision,” said Afridi.