Ruling Out Possibility of India-Pakistan Series, Imran Khan took a dig at the Indian Government saying that it would be a “terrible atmosphere” to play a bilateral cricket series with India, given the current tense relations between the two countries. “I just think playing cricket in this atmosphere with India with the sort of government they have in power, I would say it would be a terrible atmosphere to play bilateral cricket in,” said former captain Khan, who is also the patron-in-chief of the country’s cricket board, in a Sky Sports documentary.
Ever since the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008, India and Pakistan have not played a bilateral Test series. This was despite the fact that Pakistan did undertake a short tour to India in the winter of 2012 to play white-ball cricket.
Khan, then Pakistan captain who won the 1992 World Cup, recalled that he had played two series in India in 1979 and in 1987 and the atmosphere had been good for cricket between the two countries then. “They were big crowds and the governments were also trying to remove barriers and come close and it meant the atmosphere on the field was great with the crowds appreciating both teams for good cricket in 1979,” he said in one of his interviews.
Comparing the present situation to the ‘better times’ he further added, “But in 1987 when I captained Pakistan to India the atmosphere was not very good and there was a lot of hostility from the crowds as well because there were tensions between the two governments.” recalling the hostility received by the Pakistan players during one of the tours.
The Pakistan Prime Minister also made it clear that Indo-Pakistan series was a bigger cricket contest than even the Ashes saying “I think obviously the Ashes series has its importance but nothing can match a Indo-Pakistan bilateral series because it is played in a different league and the atmosphere is filled with tension, pressure and enjoyment.”
The bilateral relations between the two neighbors is at an all time low. With Pakistan government failing to stop cross-border terrorism, Indian government has suspended all of its ties with them. In such conditions, the former Pakistan skipper said that the atmosphere at the ground will be terrible if Pakistan and India take on each other at present.