Calling for an Indo-Pak series to be held annually, former Pakistan leg-spinner Abdul Qadir has said sports and politics should not be mixed as playing regular cricket will ease tensions between the two countries.
Qadir, 60, who picked up 236 wickets in 67 Tests and another 132 scalps in 104 One-day internationals, told reporters in Lahore that he firmly believes that sports and politics should be kept apart.
“No matter what the relations between the two neighbouring countries but I believe that there must be a bilateral series played between the two countries every year,” Qadir said.
Qadir known for his eccentric personality and outspoken comments said that for the last 20 years he had been saying that an Indo-Pak series was even bigger than the Ashes in world cricket.
“The point is that playing regular cricket ties once a year will only help ease tensions. Whenever Pakistan and India play not only the people of this region enjoy themselves but cricket supporters and followers all over the world also get involved in these matches.
“You only have to see the reaction and hype created whenever we play against each other in the World Cup or Asia Cup events.”
Qadir said sports and politics should not be mixed but unfortunately whenever the Pakistan government has sent out a message of tolerance and peace the response from India has not been positive.
“I believe we must have an annual series and we need to sit down across the table and resolve our problems and issues. That is the only way to improve relations. Not playing each other is not helping anyone or cricket.”
Qadir also criticised the ICC for not playing its due role.
“As a world governing body of the sport I believe the ICC must ensure that every year there is a bilateral series between Pakistan and India on home and away basis. And these should not be suspended even if relations are tense between the two nations.”
He said even in tense situations Pakistan and India can easily play in neutral territory.