Exclusive: Shahid Afridi and Yuvraj Singh discuss bringing back bilateral India-Pakistan rivalry

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Shahid Afridi has urged the governments and cricket boards of India and Pakistan to bring an end to the deadlock which has seen bilateral cricket come to a halt between the two neighbouring countries.

India and Pakistan have not locked horns against each other in a bilateral series since 2012-13, with their subsequent meetings on the cricket field being restricted to multi-tournament events such the World Cup and Asia Cup.

Recently, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had even dragged the BCCI to court for its alleged failure to honour the MoU signed between the two respective bodies for the scheduling of six bilateral series between India and Pakistan between 2015 and 2023.

“I think, if India and Pakistan were to have a series, it will be something bigger than the Ashes,” Afridi told Sport360 in a chat on the sidelines of the Expo 2020 Dubai Cricket tournament final.

Shahid Afridi Virat Kohli

“However, we don’t seem to get it. We are letting politics get in the way of people’s love for this sport and their wish to come together. I think we need to put a few things behind us as well and so does India. We need to sit down together at a table and talk things out.”

“People need to interact with one another and need to meet up with one another. I always tell everyone that I have really enjoyed my time in India and have gotten a lot of love from there. The same way, Indian players also get a lot of love from Pakistan. This connection and relation should not be severed,” the former Pakistan star all-rounder continued.

His views have been echoed by India’s 2011 World Cup winning star Yuvraj Singh. Some of Yuvraj’s best performances came against Pakistan and the left-hander believes the India-Pakistan rivalry is a big miss for sport.

“Yes it has been on and off (bilateral cricket),” Yuvraj told Sport360.

yuvraj

“I remember playing against Pakistan in 2004, 2006 and 2008 in bilateral series. These days yeah, there has not been enough of that. But these things are not in our hands.

“We play cricket for the love of the sport. We cannot choose which country to play against ourselves. But what I can say is that the more India v Pakistan cricket there is, the better it is for the sport.”

The last time India and Pakistan faced off was in the 2018 Asia Cup in the UAE, with the former prevailing by nine wickets in the clash held in Dubai. The two rivals could next meet in the 2020 Asia Cup which is scheduled to take place in September this year. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) are the designated hosts of the tournament, but there is uncertainty over where the event will eventually take place given India’s reluctance to play in Pakistan.

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