Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has proposed a three-match ODI series against arch-rivals India to raise funds for the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in both the countries.
India and Pakistan haven’t played a bilateral series since 2007 due to tensed diplomatic relationships between the two nations. Both the teams compete against each other in events organised by the ICC and Asia Cup.
“In this time of crisis, I want to propose a three-match series in which for the first time, the people of neither country would be upset at the outcome of the games,” Akhtar was quoted as saying to PTI.
“If Virat (Kohli) scores a hundred, we will be happy, if Babar Azam scores a hundred, you will be happy. Both teams will be winners irrespective of whatever happens on the field,” he said.
“You are bound to get massive viewership for the games. For the first time, both countries will play for each other. And whatever funds are generated through this can be donated equally to the government of India and Pakistan to fight this pandemic,” added the Rawalpindi Express added.
With both the countries in lockdown amid the coronavirus, the series can only be organised when the conditions improve. However, Akhtar feels the sooner the matches are held, the better it would be, but he could not tell how the logistics for such an initiative would be supplied.
“Everyone is sitting at home at the moment, so there will be a massive following for the games. Maybe not now, when things start improving, the games could be organised at a neutral location like Dubai. Chartered flights could be arranged and the matches could be held.
“It could even lead to the resumption of bilateral cricketing ties and relations of both countries improve diplomatically. You never know,” said the 44-year-old.
“The whole world will tune into it, so much money can be raised to deal with this crisis. In difficult times, the character of the nation comes forward.”
In these tough times, Akhtar feels both nations should help each other.
“If India can make 10,000 ventilators for us, Pakistan will remember this gesture forever. But we can only propose the matches. The rest is up to the authorities (to decide).”