As India and Pakistan gear up to resume the bilateral cricket ties after almost five years, with the latter touring the former late this year, flamboyant Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi feels the revival of cricketing ties between the archrivals can be complete success only if the Indians also visit his country.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) last month gave its nod to revive bilateral ties with nemesis, Pakistan by inviting the latter for three ODIs and two T20 Internationals in December this year.
Afridi, who returned home from Colombo on Wednesday after withdrawing from the ongoing Sri Lankan Premier League, citing personal problems, said he was happy to see India and Pakistan resuming the bilateral cricket relations after a long time, however he urged the Indian cricket board to send its players to Pakistan.
“It is good news that bilateral ties will be resumed. It is good that Pakistan will be touring India this year and it should be a big series,” said Afridi, who last month delayed his ODI retirement to play in the much-anticipated Indo-Pak series. “But I think India must also tour Pakistan as this would only further relations between the two nations,” he added further.
The nemeses have not played each other in a bilateral series since 2007, when Pakistan toured India. The Men in Blue were scheduled to visit Pakistan in late 2008 but the deadly Mumbai attacks in November 2008 prompted the BCCI to cancel the itinerary, as the Indian government suspected Pakistan’s involvement in the attacks.
Later, the terrorist attacks on Sri Lankan team in Lahore, in March 2009, made Pakistan a no-go zone for international teams. In the aftermath of the attacks, Pakistan also lost its 2011 World Cup hosting rights.
Afridi said that India’s tour to Pakistan would also help Pakistan in its bid to convince other international teams to come and play in a country that has been deprived of cricket due to security issues.
“It’s very important that Pakistan and India play against each other regularly because our matches also have a profound impact on world cricket,” said the Pakistan all-rounder.
“I say India should also tour Pakistan because this will also help Pakistan in its bid to convince other teams to come and play in our country despite their security concerns,” he explained.