- Sinchan Saha | March 21, 2023 | 6:48 am
Shahid Afridi, a former captain of Pakistan, expressed his belief that Pakistan is prepared to host the Indian team at the tournament and urged the BCCI to disregard political tensions and send their team.
The Asian Cricket Council (ACC), which includes the BCCI and the PCB, is scheduled to meet in Dubai to settle the much-debated Asia Cup 2023 tournament. The International Cricket Council (ICC) is also scheduled to meet. Even though there were no official statements, reports from the previous ACC meeting, which took place a month ago in Bahrain, indicated that Pakistan had reserved the right to host the tournament and that the UAE would be the new venue.
Shahid Afridi, a former captain of Pakistan, expressed his belief that Pakistan is prepared to host the Indian team at the tournament and urged the BCCI to disregard political tensions and send their team
In October of last year, BCCI secretary Jay Shah, who is also chairman of the ACC, stated that the Indian team would not be traveling to Pakistan for the Asia Cup. He then went on to insist that the location should be changed. Without consulting the board or any other members of the ACC, an enraged PCB questioned the statement’s logic and threatened to boycott the 2023 ODI World Cup in Pakistan if the country was denied hosting the 2023 Asia Cup.
Speaking to media on the side-lines of Legends League Cricket, Afridi was asked how matters will improve if there is constant retaliation.
“Who is saying no to Asia Cup? India is saying no,”the veteran cricketer said.
Afridi went on to say that the Pakistan team had once been threatened by an Indian, whom he would not name, but that the Pakistan government had put differences aside to send the team to India and wishes the same for this time.
“Aap Indian team ko bheje toh sahi, humlog sar aankhon par rakhenge (You just send the Indian team to Pakistan and we will welcome them with great pleasure). Before this, an Indian from Mumbai, won’t take his name, had threatened Pakistan that they won’t be allowed in India. But we kept all aside and our government had taken it up as a responsibility and Pakistan team did go to India. So threats should not ruin our relationship. Threats will remain,”he said.
The former all-rounder demonstrated even more by recalling India’s 2004/05 tour of Pakistan and how players like Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh were respected by the Pakistani people.
“It would have been really nice if India had come. It would have been a step towards cricket and Pakistan for India. This is not a generation of wars and fights, we want relationships to get better. We have played against India with a lot of love and affection. I remember when we came to India, we got an outstanding response. If you remember the 2005 series, Harbhajan and Yuvraj used to go shopping and to restaurants, and no one used to charge them money. This is the beauty of the two nations,”he said.