Legendary Pakistani pacer Wasim Akram is a straightforward man who doesn’t like to hold his emotions back when it comes to cricket. Recently the iconic ‘swing master’ in an interaction with Geo TV voiced his opinion against ICC’s inefficiency to get things settled between India and Pakistan. The two countries which are one of the fiercest rivals on the pitch have not played a bilateral series for almost 5 years now due to the ongoing border tension between the two countries.
“I don’t think ICC has the power to pursue BCCI, but again I have always said people-to-people contact is necessary. Politics and sport should be separate,” Akram told Geo TV. The iconic Pakistani bowler who is loved in India for his class on and off the pitch slammed ICC but added that If India is not ready to play, things cannot be forced. Akram also mentioned that an India, Pakistan series is far more popular and would have more viewers than the historic Ashes series between England and Australia. “A Pakistan India match is more fun to watch than the Ashes. 20 million people watch the Ashes while a Pakistan India match is watched by a billion people. If India is not ready to play with Pakistan, we can’t force them to do so,” said Wasim Akram.
India and Pakistan last played an ODI encounter against each other in the finals of the Champions Trophy 2017 where Pakistan floored India by 180 runs to clinch the title. The cricket boards of the two countries had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreeing to conduct 6 bilateral series between 2015 t0 2023. The idea, however never took shape as political tensions between the neighbouring nations dissolved the possibility.
Wasim Akram, who served as a bowling coach and mentor to IPL side Kolkata Knight Riders guiding Indian pacers like Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami, has himself been a part of the strong Pakistani side which enjoyed competitive contests against neighbours India.
BCCI tried their ways to get a series between India and Pakistan on board, but no clearance from the centre ensured the two teams met only at the ICC events. BCCI had earlier clarified that the two teams cannot play a bilateral series until tensions on the border are neutralised.
Akram’s comparison of Ashes with the Indo-Pak bilateral series is a fair one to make as a contest between the two Asian giants get far more views and coverage than possibly any other cricket series. The two countries celebrate the sport and the players as their own and never miss a chance to see arch-rivals clash.