No cricket with India until border unrest stops: Akhtar
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.