Rashid Latif, the former wicketkeeper batsman, believes that if BCCI president Sourav Ganguly wants, the long-standing halt to India-Pakistan bilateral cricket ties could end. The former Pakistan captain has urged the former captain of the Indian team to get in talks with PCB chairman Ehsan Mani and think of a way forward. Also Read - BCCI Domestic Calendar: Cricket Board Plans to Start Ranji Season in December; no Irani, Duleep Trophy in 2021
India and Pakistan were last involved in a bilateral cricket series in late 2012/13 when the 1992 World Cup winners visited the then MS Dhoni-led side for a three match ODI series and won 2-1. Since, due to political unrest and tension brewing on either side of the border, India and Pakistan have only faced each other in ICC tournaments, including the recent World Cup last year. Also Read - BCCI Assured of Visas to Pakistan Players For 2021 T20 World Cup
“As a cricketer and BCCI President, Ganguly can help (Ehsan) Mani and the PCB,” Latif told The Nation. Unless full-fledged Pakistan-India bilateral series resumes, things won’t improve for both countries. The world wants to see Pak-India playing cricket. PCB CEO Wasim Khan should also play his active part to ensure top cricket-playing nations come and tour Pakistan as it will help Pakistan cricket and local players.” Also Read - IPL 2021 Opening Ceremony Ahead of MI vs RCB: No Fireworks Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, BCCI Invites Differently-Abled Council to Launch T20 Tournament
With all that’s shaping up politically between the two countries, possibilities of an India-Pakistan cricket series looks extremely unlikely anytime soon, but Latif feels Ganguly can make it happen like he did during India’s 2004 tour of Pakistan.
“In 2004, when the BCCI was reluctant to tour Pakistan, it was (Sourav) Ganguly, who persuaded the BCCI and players. It was a highly memorable tour for India as they managed to win big here after a long gap,” he said.
However, how Ganguly reacts to Latif’s request remains to be seen. In October, Ganguly had said that the resumption of cricket ties with Pakistan is subject to approval from India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Imran Khan.
“Of course we have (to take permission) because international exposure (tours) is all through governments. So we don’t have an answer to that question,” the former India captain had said shortly after his appointment as BCCI president.