Condemning the Pulwama terror attack that claimed the lives of over 40+ CRPF personnel last week, former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has made a big statement around India-Pakistan cricketing ties. In a candid conversation with a leading Pakistani news channel, Akhtar revealed that the world’s richest cricket board – BCCI has expressed their urge of playing a bilateral series against Pakistan. However, due to the constant pressure by the Indian government has denied it every time.
The Rawalpindi express also reckons that had India and Pakistan resumed their cricketing ties the BCCI and broadcasters would have earned some mind-boggling amount from the series.
“Honest reply, BCCI wants to play with Pakistan, the government says no. Had they played with Pakistan, Star Sports and BCCI would have earned the maximum revenue. The series would have a monetary value of 600 million dollars. Do you thik they don’t? Of course, they want that. Now speaking on part of their argument, they want to play with Pakistan. Our Pakistan board had mentioned that they want to play a bilateral series and you cannot deny it although the series can be held at a different venue altogether. But they have said that they have a board to run which falls under Supreme Court. That is their argument and that is logical,” opined Akhtar.
Showing sympathy with the families of the martyrs, Akhtar went onto condemn the ghastly act that shook the nation on February 14 resulting in a nationwide outrage over ending all ties with the neighbours. The 43-year old, however, said that he stands by the words of their Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“Should sports stay political? Not at all. So these differences set in matters of circumstances. We strongly condemn the loss of lives. But when it comes to our country, we are one nation, united and we will stand by our Prime Minister’s statement without having a second thought,” Akhtar added. “They have a right to pull out. Their country was attacked and hence the decision. You cannot argue on that?”
Akhtar also criticized the Indian cricketers which include the likes Harbhajan Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and former captain Sourav Ganguly for disaffecting the situation in the wake of the terror attack. Many Indian sportspersons have called for a boycott of the Pakistan clash. “Our forte is to talk about cricket and not about the political scene. When such things happen, try to create bridges as a cricketer. It is very important as players to talk about things that bring about unity rather than antagonizing the situation,” he added.