Former Pakistan legs-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed feels cricketing ties between arch-rivals India and Pakistan should resume which will help to improve relationship between the two neighbouring countries.
India and Pakistan have not been engaged in a bilateral series since 2012-13 when India hosted Pakistan for three ODIs and two T20Is.
“I think cricketing ties should resume between India and Pakistan. I feel cricket has the ability to bind the two nations and improve their relationship. Cricket brings love, it brings joy and happiness to the fans,” Ahmed told IANS on Sunday.
“Thus, it is important for both the countries to play cricket against each other because fans want to watch them play. Whenever India and Pakistan meet, the cricket is highly competitive. In fact, the India-Pakistan series is bigger than the Ashes,” he stated.
The relationship between the two nations further nosedived after the Indian government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, thus ending the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir. However, Ahmed believes the recent opening of the Kartarpur Corridor is being seen as a positive step towards improving the bilateral relationship.
“When we will play cricket, things will become easier. It provides politicians with a great opportunity to communicate and set things on the right track. And that’s why I think communication needs to be there between the two governments,” the 49-year old said.
“Both the countries should sit and discuss the situation and their problems. The recent opening of the Kartarpur Corridor is a great initiative for both the nations. All issues can be solved when communication takes place. And sports, particularly cricket, can play a very big role in improving the bilateral ties between India and Pakistan,” he said.
Elaborating on the transition phase his home team is going through, Ahmed said: “I think Pakistan cricket is going through a transition phase. There’s a change in management. Misbah-ul-Haq is now the head coach. Captains in all formats have been changed. So, this Pakistan team needs time to improve and progress,” he said.
“Whenever a captain or a player of any team is insecure about his position in the side, it becomes very difficult for him to execute his plans and express himself. So, I think Pakistan right now needs a consistent run and Misbah needs time. When these two things will click, I am sure they will emerge as a successful team,” Mushtaq said.