Pakistan’s Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq on Monday joined calls for a cricket revival with India, saying millions of fans are missing out from match suspensions over strained political ties.
“Cricketing relations between the two countries should normalise because millions of people are missing real cricket played between the two nations,” Misbah told local media.
India severed cricket links with Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which killed 166 people and which New Delhi blamed on militants based across the border in Pakistan.
But a high-profile World Cup semi-final between the two nations in India two weeks ago raised hopes of a revival, albeit at neutral venues.
The semi-final, won by India on their way to clinching the world title, was watched by prime ministers of both countries at an occasion that quickly became dubbed “cricket diplomacy”.
Indian foreign secretary Nirupama Roy since said the country was ready to send their team to Pakistan, if provided full security.
Pakistan’s status as an international cricket host came to an abrupt end with attacks on the visiting Sri Lankan team in March 2009.
Misbah, 36, said it was imperative for world cricket that both nations play each other regularly.
“Cricket between Pakistan and India is always different and has the intensity and uniqueness which keep fans glued to their seats.
“By not having India-Pakistan cricket regularly, we are depriving people of real cricket, the type of matches they want to see,” said Misbah.
“If you ask any player from either side, they miss Indo-Pak cricket because they enjoy it no end.”
Former Pakistan captains Javed Miandad and Imran Khan have also stressed the need for revival in cricket ties.
The Pakistan Cricket Board welcomed Roy’s statement and said it was looking into the options of playing a series at a neutral venue. Cricket365