No cricket with In­dia un­til bor­der un­rest stops: Akhtar

The Pak Banker - - INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS/SPORTS -

Straight-shoot­ing for­mer speed­ster Shoaib Akhtar called upon the Pak­istan Cricket Board (PCB) to shelve the pro­posed se­ries against In­dia, which ac­cord­ing to the 'Rawalpindi Ex­press' did not make sense amid the pre­vail­ing bor­der ten­sions.

The 40-year-old Akhtar, who burst onto the in­ter­na­tional arena af­ter great per­for­mances against In­dia in 1999, said a show­down be­tween the two teams was vi­tal for the game but 'it was not right' to play cricket with so much un­rest on the borders. "Ev­ery­body knows to keep pol­i­tics sep­a­rate from sport," Gulf News quoted Akhtar as say­ing. "But un­for­tu­nately there's a lot of un­rest on the borders and it's not right to play such a Test be­tween the two coun­tries at this time," the for­mer fast bowler, who played 46 Tests and 163 ODIs, said of the se­ries sched­uled to be hosted by Pak­istan in the UAE in De­cem­ber.

But Akhtar, who ap­pears on In­dian tele­vi­sion as an ex­pert these days, urged the two coun­tries to re­vive crick­et­ing ties when the time is right. "I would en­cour­age that, when­ever the un­rest set­tles and when­ever In­dia and Pak­istan are ready to talk again at the high­est level, cricket would be the per­fect way to bridge re­la­tions. "They are still two of the best teams in the world and nei­ther can avoid each other if you want to keep cricket in­ter­est­ing. You can­not ig­nore that the rarest of tal­ent comes out of these coun­tries and that peo­ple love to see them play against each other." BCCI sec­re­tary, Anurag Thakur, said last month a se­ries be­tween Pak­istan and In­dia was un­likely un­til re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries nor­malised. While PCB chair­man Sha­har­yar Khan on Tues­day re­buffed sug­ges­tions from newly-ap­pointed ICC pres­i­dent Za­heer Ab­bas that Pak­istan should show flex­i­bil­ity and even con­sider go­ing to In­dia for their bi­lat­eral se­ries.

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