Former Pakistan captain has yet again rooted for an India-Pakistan bilateral series and has called for cricket to be used as a tool to improve the hostile political relations between the two countries. For years the two of cricket’s biggest rivals have not been a part of any bilateral series as tensions continue to surge on the borders. Afridi has requested the two governments to keep politics away from sports and let the players from the two countries meet each other on their home turf. Cricket has suffered badly due to the volatile relations between the two countries who haven’t played a series since 2007 and have only met in the ICC or Asia Cup tournaments.
Afridi has always been vocal about using cricket as the bridge to fill the void between the two countries. The versatile all-rounder recently took part in an ice cricket tournament in Switzerland where he played with some of the former Indian superstars. The likes of Virender Sehwag, Mohammad Kaif, Zaheer Khan and other cricketers from around the globe plied their trade in the competition on snowy tracks of St Moritz, Switzerland. Afridi led his team Royals XI to victory against Virender Sehwag led Badrutt’s Palace Diamonds
Recalling his worthy experience of playing with Indian cricketers after so many years, Afridi reckoned how lack of international cricket has left the cricketers of the two countries playing outside their homes. “Due to lack of international cricket between the two countries, we now play either in the ICC tournaments or the events such as Ice Cricket,” Afridi told Wisden India.
Afridi after the short tournament in Switzerland had won the hearts of millions of Indian fans when a video of the cricketer explaining a young Indian fan to open her flag while posing for a photograph went viral on the internet. In the video, an Indian fan can be seen holding the tri-colour when she asks Afridi to pose for a picture and the Pakistani cricketer signals her to widen the flag. His gesture was loved by all and the video was heavily shared on social media. Requesting politics to be kept aside from cricket, Afridi said, “I believe politics should be kept away from sports. It should rather be used as a tool to improve relations between the countries. Sport is something which can play a big role in bringing peace.”
He also spoke about meeting the Indian players and playing with them on a snowy turf after so long and added that the players from both the countries should continue playing in such tournaments and also meet in international cricket.
“It was nice to meet and play with players from India after a long time,” Afridi reminisced. “That was something very positive about the tournament and I think it should continue. Both countries should also be playing international cricket against each other.”
The last time Pakistan and India met in a bilateral series was in 2007 when Pakistan travelled India to play three Tests and five One-Day Internationals. However, the two teams have continued playing in all major competitions like the Asia Cup and the ICC trophies. Recently Pakistan defeated India to win the Champions Trophy in England under the captaincy of Sarfaraz Ahmed, who led the team spectacularly well. Pakistan crushed India by a mammoth 180 runs to lift the first ever Champions Trophy title.
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