In a special show on NDTV ahead of Saturday’s World T20 blockbuster between India and Pakistan, Sunil Gavaskar came up with the unique suggestion that Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly could convince the Indian government to resume bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan. (India vs Pakistan World T20: Hosts Look For Turnaround Against Arch-Rivals)
A man who is much loved in Pakistan – he made his Test debut there – Gavaskar said Tendulkar was in pole position “as an MP” to help resume cricket between the two politically warring nations. (Never Felt Threatened in Kolkata, Says Javed Miandad Ahead of India vs Pakistan T20 World Cup Derby)
“May be Sourav Ganguly can help too,” the former Test opener said, reacting to a question if he could play a role in resumption of bilateral cricket between the arch-rivals.
India and Pakistan have not played a bilateral series, usually comprising Tests and ODIs, since the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008.
Despite signing a MOU in 2014 to play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023, the Board of Control for Cricket in India was forced to pull out from the December 2015 series after the government cold shouldered efforts from the Pakistan Cricket Board.
Gavaskar agreed that cricket between the two nations should not be politicised and added that cricketers had no role in resumption of a bilateral series. “We really don’t know what goes on behind-the-scenes in politics and diplomacy,” he said.
Politics should not mix with sports. That was the universal message that emerged from the special show that was anchored by NDTV’s Vikram Chandra in Delhi and Munizae Jahangir in Islamabad.
The show revolved around cricket, diplomacy and music with former Pakistan superstar Javed Miandad speaking on India’s cricket relationship with Pakistan and Union minister Babul Supriyo lending his sporty views with a musical touch.
Miandad recollected his happy memories with Indian cricketer and how he had sledged Gavaskar to dismiss him caught at gully during a match in Jaipur. The former Indian captain also remembered how he would spend quality time with players like Zaheer Abbas and Miandad after a day’s play.
However, Miandad was still not willing to forgive Shahid Afridi, whose ‘India Love’ comment after arriving in Kolkata last week angered several people in Pakistan. “How can one give you more love than your motherland?” Miandad said.
Miandad, Pakistan’s warrior prince and known for his passion for cricket, however said Afridi’s performance was central to Pakistan’s campaign in the ICC World T20.
“He should bat higher up in the order and face the maximum number of balls. Hope the team has learnt from its mistakes from the Asia Cup,” Miandad said.