Legendary Pakistan seamer Wasim Akram has lashed out at the International Cricket Council (ICC) for failing to broker a deal between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) so that a bilateral series between India and Pakistan can be held. Speaking to Geo TV, Akram said, “I don’t think ICC has the power to pursue BCCI, but again I have always said people-to-people contact is necessary. Politics and sport should be separate.”
Drawing comparisons with the Ashes, the 51-year-old claimed that an India-Pakistan series has the capability to attract much more viewership simply because it is more fun to watch. “A Pakistan India match is more fun to watch than the Ashes. 20 million people watch the Ashes while a Pakistan India match is watched by a billion people. If India is not ready to play with Pakistan, we can’t force them to do so,” Akram said.
While the BCCI and the PCB had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to take part in six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023, it never materialised as the Government of India categorically stated that as long as tensions continue across the border, no such series can take place.
Meanwhile, ICC Chief Dave Richardson had cleared the stance of cricket’s governing body when he said, “If India is not ready to play with Pakistan, we can’t force them to do so.”
“You have to understand that bilateral series is always held with the agreement of two cricket boards and though we would like to see India and Pakistan play bilateral matches they have political tensions and any cricket is dependent on their existing relations,” he added.