Akhtar Pushes For Indo-Pak ODIs To Raise Funds For COVID-19
The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused the entire world to come to a standstill; multiple countries including the U.S, U.K, Italy and India are in lockdown. India has recorded over 10,000 positive COVID-19 cases and 405 deaths. Pakistan has over 4,800 individuals who have tested positive and 111 deaths at the time of writing.
India vs. Pak ODI Series Can Raise Funds: Akhtar
India’s economy was in turmoil before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and with the nationwide shutdown, things are not going to get better for a number of months. Indian PM Narendra Modi has set up a special PM Cares fund to receive financial donations to fight COVID-19 and a number of entrepreneurs, businesses and celebrities have already made some heavy donations.
However, the money is still not enough according to the BJP government as they need a lot more to provide relief and assistance to 1.3 billion people. Pakistan is also in a similar condition like most nations and in need of financial assistance.
Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has come up with a solution that will help both India and Pakistan raise some much needed funds. The Rawalpindi Express says this is the ideal time to stage a 3 match ODI series between arch rivals India and Pakistan.
Two Nations Have Not Played Since 2007
Cricket like all other sports has come to a complete standstill in light of the coronavirus pandemic. However, cricket between India and Pakistan came to a complete halt after Pakistani terrorists killed over 150 Indians in Mumbai in 2008. The fallout was that the Indian government and the BCCI agreed that they will not hold any bilateral series with Pakistan going forward.
The last time the two sides played a bilateral series was back in 2007. The only other time the two nations have played each other have been in ICC sponsored tournaments like the ODI and T20 World Cups.
The rivalry between India and Pakistan is similar to the Ashes rivalry between England and Australia. However, with political tensions and terror attacks throw into the mix, the rivalry between India and Pakistan has become a lot more heated in the last decade.
Gavaskar Says Impossible To Akhtar’s Proposal
Former Indian captain and veteran commentator Sunil Gavaskar addressed Shoaib Akhtar’s proposal during a YouTube interview with former Pakistan captain and commentator Rameez Raja. Gavaskar said that there was more chances of it snowing in Lahore than for an India vs. Pakistan bilateral series to take place during this time.
Akhtar responded by posting a picture on his Twitter account. It showed the streets of Lahore covered in snow! He referred to Gavaskar affectionately as Sunny bhai and reminded him that nothing is impossible!
Akhtar believes that the rivalry between India vs. Pakistan is at an all-time high and with no cricket taking place during the last couple of months, this would be the perfect time to host a 3 match series. It would cause TV ratings to spike and bring in a lot of money for both cricketing boards. This will also enable the two boards to make donations to help fight the impact caused by COVID-19.
India Do Not Need Money: Kapil To Akhtar
Former Indian captain and all-rounder Kapil Dev did not mince any words in addressing Shoaib Akhtar’s proposal. Kapil Dev said India does not need the money. He added that they would not be interested in getting into a bilateral series against Pakistan.
Kapil Dev also said that it was definitely not the perfect time to stage an ODI cricket series; it would put the players at risk and also breach lockdown rules!