Shahid Afridi,  Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Pak – India Cricket series in jeopardy: Politics taking the better of Sports

Lahore (Neo Web Desk) The prospect of a Pakistan-India series seems highly unlikely under the prevailing tensions between the two countries, but current and former players and officials believe cricket should not suffer because of ‘political game play’.Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary, Anurag Thakur, recently said a series between Pakistan and India was not possible until relations between the two countries normalised.But Pakistan’s ODI captain, Azhar Ali, remained optimistic of the ‘special’ match up taking place soon.“It would be good for cricket if Pakistan and India play. We want to play because doing well against India is always special,” the 30-year-old was quoted as saying. Azhar hoped the governments in both countries resolve their issues soon.“It is in the hands of the cricket authorities and governments. If we can have a series with India it would be great,” Azhar said.According to former PCB chairman Najam Sethi, however, decisions on a Pakistan-India series could never be taken in advance as the political climate changed constantly.“It is difficult to say at the moment whether we can have a series against India in December. Everything will now depend on what happens in the next few days after this Gurdaspur incident,” Sethi, who is the head of the PCB Governing Board, said.“We have to wait and see whether sections of the Indian media or government start blaming Pakistan for this incident. But as far as cricket ties are concerned, decisions are made at the last moment,” he added.Khalid Mehmood, another former PCB chairman, said the BCCI had problems every time it was Pakistan’s turn to host a series“What is noteworthy is that whenever India has to host us they manage to do it regardless of the situation between the two countries. The problems arise whenever it is time for Pakistan to host a series against them,” Mehmood said.Former captain and wicketkeeper Rashid Latif said he was in never in favour of politics mixing with sports but relations between India and Pakistan were not of an ordinary nature, hence it was impossible to separate one aspect of ties from another.“Many of us would like to see sports and politics being kept apart but in the real world this doesn’t happen or the Western bloc would not have boycotted the Moscow Olympics nor would England or Australia refuse to tour Zimbabwe in the past years,” said Latif. The comments from Pakistan’s cricket fraternity come just days after Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq expressed a desire to retire from the game after taking on India for one last time.“If the series against India happens, I want to play that series and probably retire from international cricket. So the India series can be my last one,” Misbah said.India have not played a bilateral Test series against Pakistan since 2007, though they did host them for two T20Is and three ODIs between December 2012 and January 2013.

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