India vs Pakistan cricket. Once dubbed the mother of all cricket battles, this rivalry is now confined only to multi-nation tournaments, the Asia Cup and ICC events. Bilateral cricket ties between the two countries are frozen and there’s no indication whatsoever of them thawing any time soon. But a clash between the Men in Blue and Green is still a huge crowd-puller, regardless of where they are playing. An India-Pakistan clash has perhaps become more exciting because it’s now a rare breed of international cricket rivalry that is available for the fans only in small doses.
The jury is out on whether India should resume bilateral cricket ties with the neighbours. Pakistan is ready, but a green signal from India can’t be expected any time soon and Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir feels there should be one uniform rule when it comes to playing cricket with Pakistan. Talking to TimesofIndia.com Gambhir said, “If you want to ban someone from playing, you should ban them from playing every form of cricket, whether it’s Asia Cup or ICC events. You can’t have conditional bans in sports. You can’t say we won’t play bilateral series but we can’t do anything about ICC events and Asia Cup. If you want to play Pakistan in Asia Cup, why don’t you play bilateral series as well? If you don’t want to play Pakistan in bilateral series, then don’t play them in Asia Cup and in ICC events either. That is a decision that the BCCI and the Government needs to take.”
There can’t be a conditional ban on cricket with Pak: Gambhir
Since January 2013, India and Pakistan have played no bilateral ODI series. But the two teams have clashed since then in the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy (India beat Pak by 8 wickets by the D/L method in a group game), the 2014 Asia Cup (Pakistan won by 1 wicket), the 2015 ICC ODI World Cup (India won by 76 runs) and twice at the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy (India won first match by 124 runs by D/L method and lost the final to Pakistan by 180 runs).
Gambhir the cricket fan though is looking forward to India’s clash with Sarfraz Ahmed‘s team on Wednesday in Dubai. He told TimesofIndia.com, “From the game’s point of view I am looking forward to it (India vs Pakistan Asia Cup group match), but I don’t get too emotional about the fact that it’s a match vs Pakistan. Ultimately, it’s a game of cricket that India wants to win. Whether it’s UAE, Pakistan or Sri Lanka. It’s another game of cricket. People do think it’s a big thing, India playing Pakistan, because we don’t play them often and there are a lot of emotions involved in it, but as sportsman you don’t go into the game thinking it’s Pakistan, so we have to beat them. You want to beat every opposition possible because it’s a matter of pride for your country. I think it will be a good game, because Pakistan is a decent side.”
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