“When the two countries have contacts in other sports, why not in cricket. Why LinkCricket With political connections? It is unfair that people are deprived of the opportunity to watch their teams play against each other,” Misbah, the 49-year-old former Pakistan captain and coach, said at a function on Friday.
“It is a huge injustice to the fans who follow Pakistan and Indian cricket so much,” added the batsman, who has scored more than 11,000 international runs. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) recently informed the ICC and BCCI that the national team’s participation in the World Cup, which is scheduled to be held in October-November this year, is dependent on government approval due to strained relations between the two countries.
Due to geopolitical tension, India refused to play Asia Cup matches in Pakistan. After months of speculation surrounding the continental tournament, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) has announced a hybrid model, with four matches in Pakistan and nine in Sri Lanka at neutral venues from August 31 to September 17.
Acting Chairman of PCB Zaka Ashraf has argued that Pakistan’s World Cup matches against India should be played at neutral venues.
Misbah expressed his belief that now is the time for Pakistan to travel to India for matches and now is the time for the Indian team to come to Pakistan and reply.
“Of course Pakistan should play the World Cup even in India,” he added. “I have played in India many times and we have enjoyed the pressure and the crowd there. Because it gives you motivation and conditions in India. Our team has the ability to perform well in Indian conditions.”
Misbah said that the only focus of the players should be to perform well in the World Cup.
“What happens outside their realm, they don’t think about it. The key to doing well in the World Cup in India is to get the playing XI at specific venues and against specific opposition.”
Shahid Afridi also echoed Mishab’s sentiments.
“The biggest challenge for me or any professional cricketer is dealing with the pressures of playing in India and performing well in front of the Indian crowd,” Afridi said.
“Overall we enjoyed playing in India because the satisfaction and recognition you get if you can do well and perform in India is a reward any player deserves,” he added.
The former all-rounder said that Pakistan have got better venues for their World Cup matches in India and proper planning will suit them.
“We have a very good side and some great talent and even if we play in Ahmedabad I don’t see any reason why we can’t go to India and do well there,” he added.
(with agency inputs)