Former Indian all-rounder and head coach Ravi Shastri said that the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) could be considered as an option for the return of Tests between India and Pakistan as well. Due to various political and security issues, the two arch-rivals haven’t faced each other in the Test format since 2007. While they have played against each other in ODIs and T20s at multi-national tournaments, there have been no bilateral series across formats between the teams since 2012/13 as well.
Speaking to Fox Cricket ahead of the much-awaited Asia Cup clash between the rivals, Shastri said it would be helpful if the sides meet in the World Championship (WTC) final at the MCG. However, Team India qualified for the WTC final in the first two editions in 2021 and 2023 but lost to New Zealand and Australia, respectively as well.
“The MCG would be an option if there was no solution and the boards agreed to it. If the MCG ever hosted the World Test Championship and India and Pakistan were in it would just happen and what an occasion that would be. Let’s hope it does happen,” again shared Shastri. “India-Pakistan is the mother, father and grandfather of all contests. The G witnessed one of the great contests with 90,000 people there for the recent T20 World Cup when India and Pakistan played and I was commentating on it and it was huge. The fact of the matter is if India and Pakistan play again bilaterally they will play it at home. Let’s make that clear.”
However, former Pakistan legend Wasim Akram backed Ravi Shastri’s thoughts and called for the MCG to play host to India-Pakistan Tests. With its 100,000 seating capacity, the MCG is known for hosting the yearly Boxing Day Test as well. While England is set to host the WTC final for a third consecutive edition in 2025, it will be interesting to see if India and Pakistan play a Test at the MCG.
“I think the MCG as you saw in the last World Cup would be the perfect venue. Pakistan would also be an ideal venue if India wants, but if India wants a neutral venue, then I think Australia would be an ideal place. It’s the whole thing with the MCG. The sheer magnitude of the ground, the spectators, the security, the place itself brings a lot of confidence in you as a player if you play at the G,” said Wasim Akram on Fox Cricket.