On Wednesday, the former Pakistani Pacer, Shoaib Akhtar proposed that a 3 match ODI (One Day International) series between the arch-rivals India and Pakistan in order to raise funds to fight the deadly Coronavirus which is gripping both nations.
Since 2007, the two countries have not played a full series due to the diplomatic tensions after India was attacked by a terrorist militant group based in Pakistan. They have only played against each other in ICC Events and Asia Cup. Akhtar said, “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,”.
He said that “If Viratscores 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 added, “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,”.
As both the countries are under a lockdown to contain the fast-spreading deadly Coronavirus, the games can only be organised once things improve.
However, the 44 year old former Pakistani pacer say that the sooner these games are held, the better it would be however could not tell how the logistics would work out for such an initiative.
He said, “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” said the Rawalpindi Express.
He added that, “It could even lead to the resumption of bilateral cricketing ties and relations of both countries improve diplomatically. You never know,”.
“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”.
Akhtar says that at these desperate time both countries should come forward and help each other.
He says, “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”.
Recently, both Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh were trolled by netizens for asking their fans to donate to Shahid Afridi’s foundation which is willing to do its bit in the fight against COVID-19 in Pakistan.
Talking about this, Akhtar said, “It was inhuman to criticise them. It is not about countries or religion at the moment, it is about humanity,”.
Akhtar has spent a lot of time in India as a commentator and fondly remembers the time in Mumbai where he last worked in the country during the 2016 T20I World Cup.
He sais, “I am forever grateful about the love I have received from the people of India. For the first time I am revealing this, whatever I used to earn from India, I made a significant amount there, 30% of it, I used to distribute among the low income staff who used to work with me in the TV,”.
Akhtar talked about the time he was in India and used to visit the slums with his face covered to offer financial help to the elderly women. “From drivers, runners to my security guys. I took care of a lot of people. I was like if am earning from this country, I have to help my colleagues also” and added, “I also remember visiting slums of Dharavi and Sion in the wee hours to meet people I worked with,”.