Senior batsman says political unrest should not get in the way of ‘giants’ facing off on cricket pitch.
Senior batsman Younis Khan wants India and Pakistan to set aside their strained relations and resume five-day matches as both are giants of the game.
“It’s my wish to play a Test in Pakistan again, play against India and against all top teams,” Khan told reporters in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. “India and Pakistan are two giants of cricket—one number one and the other number two—so whatever the situation between the two nations it must be forgotten and cricket should be played, people want to watch them play.”
There has been no Test cricket between the two nations since 2007. Bilateral cricket ties were severed in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which New Delhi blamed on militants based in Pakistan. Pakistan did tour India in December 2012-January 2013 for a short limited over series but that failed to revive full ties, including Tests.
The two countries have come close to war since last month’s attacks on a military base in India-administered Kashmir, again blamed on militants from Pakistan. Islamabad denies the allegations.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) repeatedly snubbed Pakistan’s calls for resumption of ties in the current scenario. The Pakistan Cricket Board wants BCCI to honor its commitment of six series between 2015-2023 under a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2014, but linked to Indian government’s clearance.
Under the MoU Pakistan were due to host a series last year and were due in India next year but considering the strained relations there are no signs of immediate cricket between the rivals.
Khan said the situation was deplorable. “Whenever we play India people watch the game with unmatched interest and the game gets good promotion in the region, it should be played and played regularly,” insisted Khan, part of Pakistan’s last Test tour to India in 2007.
The 38-year-old returns for Pakistan in the second Test against the West Indies starting in Abu Dhabi on Friday after missing the first Test—a day-night affair with the pink ball—in Dubai as he was recovering from dengue fever.
Khan, Pakistan’s top run-getter in Tests with 9,456, hopes he gets to 10,000 runs in the near future. “I never go after records,” said Khan, who compiled a monumental 218 against England in his last Test at The Oval. “It’s my wish to be in that elite group of 10,000 runs because there is no Pakistani in that group.”
Khan reckons Pakistan’s good showing in Tests have increased support for the five-day format. “People now talk about us as a Test team and people who used to stay away from Tests are now coming back,” he said.