Former Indian cricketer, Farokh Engineer reckons that the bilateral cricketing ties between India and Pakistan to be restored saying the rise of Imran Khan as the Prime Minister of the country could pave the way for the two neighbors to start a dialogue.
The bilateral cricket ties between the two arch-rivals have been suspended since the Mumbai attacks of 2008. The teams only face each other in multi-nation tournaments. Moreover, since the terrorist attacks on Sri Lanka cricket team in 2009, international teams have refused to tour Pakistan on security grounds. This has forced Pakistan to play their ‘home’ matches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Talking about the same, during the inaugural Ranji Memorial Public Conversation in London, Engineer said, “Imran Khan, he is the prime minister now. Hopefully, India and Pakistan will start a dialogue. They should be playing Test cricket against each other because it will do Pakistan cricket, their economy, a world of good. But you hear about border skirmishes and this and that. They’ve got to have dialogue.”
Imran Khan, regarded as one of the greatest all-rounders the world has ever seen has been known to have the Karizma to do the unexpected. He led Pakistan to World Cup triumph in 1992, became the PM earlier this year. Engineer, a wicketkeeper-batsman who played 46 Tests and five ODIs for India between 1961 and 1975, said the political leaders of the two nations hold the key for the two famous rivals to start playing cricket on a regular basis.
Describing the same further, the veteran said, “Unfortunately, the Indian government controls the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) or they (the BCCI) have been using that as an excuse. As a cricketer, I would love India to play Pakistan or vice versa. But it is a question of convincing the political leaders. Basically, we are the same people. Both countries have extremely talented cricketers and I, for one, would love to see that happen but unfortunately, the brakes are on.”