India vs Pakistan games can lift the standard of Test cricket: Aaqib Javed

Aaqib Javed, the former Pakistan pacer, has said intense contests between India and Pakistan can improve the standard of Test cricket while he was also disappointed with the absence of Indian cricketers in the South Africa T20 Global League.

cricket Updated: Aug 27, 2017 21:49 IST
Shalini Gupta
Shalini Gupta
Hindustan Times, Cape Town
India vs Pakistan,South Africa T20 Global League,Aaqib Javed
India vs Pakistan games will not only improve the standard of cricket, but also revive Test cricket, according to former Pakistan pacer Aaqib Javed.(Getty Images)

Former Pakistan fast bowler Aaqib Javed, who is director of cricket operations for Durban Qalandars in South Africa’s T20 Global League, is miffed with the absence of Indian cricketers in the tournament.

Not only Aaqib, the T20 league’s franchise owners are upset as well. Javed Afridi, owner of Benoni Zalmi, thinks Indian cricketers in the league would have been ideal but fans will see India-Pakistan rivalry when Shah Rukh Khan’s Cape Town Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils’ GMR group’s Jo’burg Giants will face-off.

“Unfortunately, India and Pakistan cricketers won’t be playing against each other in the Global League and it would be left to Pakistan owners versus Indian owners. Shah Rukh has roots in Peshawar. People are looking forward to see his team take on Benoni Zalmi. After the success of the Pakistan Super League, there is a buzz regarding the Global T20 League,” said Afridi.

Former South Africa skipper Graeme Smith has been appointed head coach of Gauteng franchise, Benoni Zalmi, who will be led by Quinton de Kock. Posters of Benoni vs Cape Town being ‘the league’s version of ‘Pak vs India’ and carrying photographs of Afridi and Shah Rukh are doing the rounds on social media.

Fawad Rana, owner of Durban Qalandars, thinks the BCCI would eventually allow its players to compete in the T20 league and he would be the first to buy Virat Kohli. “I would have loved to buy Virat for my team. I feel eventually the Indian Board will allow its players to play in foreign leagues. It won’t be like this,” said Fawad.

Aaqib, who is remembered for his record-breaking seven-wicket haul against India at Sharjah in 1991, which included a hat-trick, says he is longing for India-Pak cricket to make a comeback.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, the 22-Test and 163-ODI veteran said, “There is traditional rivalry between the two countries when it comes to cricket. Matches between India and Pakistan, along with Ashes can lift Test cricket. The governments should keep sport aside of political tension and let fans relish top-class cricket. Imagine how big the next India and Pakistan match would be after the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final. The ICC should look into this and push the Indian Board to show some relaxation.”

The BCCI has barred Pakistan cricketers from the Indian Premier League, although they did play in the first edition. “It is wonderful to see international cricket return to Pakistan after a long hiatus. It was a brilliant effort from the Sri Lankan and West Indies Boards in making it happen again. The World XI vs Pakistan T20 games next month will open the door for more matches. Imagine if India visited Pakistan or Pakistan went to India for a Test Series, it would be legendary. It is sad that sport is dragged into political issues,” said Aaqib, who formed a successful troika with Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis in the 90s.

First Published: Aug 27, 2017 21:48 IST