Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf said India were hesitant to play Pakistan during his tenure due to “extremist elements” like the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India and Pakistan have not played a bilateral series since the latter toured India for two Twenty20 Internationals and three ODIs from December 2012 to January 2013.
Since then, the two arch-rivals have only clashed at major cricket events like the World Cup, T20 World Cup, Champions Trophy and Asia Cup.
“I suggested to the BCCI during my tenure that we should hold a Jinnah-Gandhi series, named after the great leaders of the two countries but they were hesitant to go ahead with this proposal because of the extremist elements in India like [Narendra] Modi,” Ashraf was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.
“This series would have been similar to what the Ashes is for England and Australia. It would have improved cricketing relations between the two nations and people of both countries would have enjoyed some great cricket.”
Ashraf added that India and Pakistan should start playing bilateral series again and should look to hold the matches at a neutral venue.
“I think India and Pakistan should play at [a] neutral venue, if not on home soil, be it UAE, Sri Lanka, South Africa or any other country,” he said.
“I also think the main issue is that ICC has changed its rules with regards to FTP, primarily due to Indian influence, and allowed members to have the final say on playing bilateral series rather than ensuring that countries play against each other on a regular basis.”