Former India cricketer Farokh Engineer has urged the newly elected Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to use his political influence in order to revive the Test match ties between the two arch-rivals.
India and Pakistan haven’t faced each other in Test cricket since 2007 and considering the current hostility in its diplomatic ties, the bilateral series seems a distant dream right now.
"Imran Khan, he is the prime minister now. Hopefully India and Pakistan will start a dialogue," Engineer said while speaking at the inaugural Ranji Memorial Public Conversation on Cricket in London.
"They should be playing Test cricket against each other because it will do Pakistan cricket, their economy, a world of good. But you hear about border skirmishes and this and that. They've got to have dialogue,” he added.
Playing Pakistan has always been a dilemma for the BCCI. Earlier last year, the cricket board had sought clearance from the government to play a bilateral series with the arch-rivals. Amid all the tussle between both the countries at the LOC, the request was expectedly turned down by the BJP ruled Indian government.
It is pertinent to mention that both the boards had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2014, as per which the arch-rivals should have played six bilateral series between 2015-2023.
"Unfortunately, the Indian government controls the BCCI or they (the BCCI) have been using that as an excuse. As a cricketer, I would love India to play Pakistan or vice versa. But it is a question of convincing the political leaders,” Engineer asserted.
"Basically we are the same people. Both countries have extremely talented cricketers and I, for one, would love to see that happen but unfortunately the brakes are on," he continued.
Former Pakistan batsman Mushtaq Mohammad, who was on the same panel, admitted that security is the biggest reason behind Pakistan not hosting Test matches at home since 2009.
"Pakistan have been deprived, we play no Test cricket in Pakistan because of security reasons," Mushtaq Mohammad said.
"We'd love India to come to Pakistan, that would be a real boost. We'd love England to come, Australia. We play our 'home' series away from home, which is a very sad episode. In spite of that Pakistan has managed to produce good results, both 'home' and away," he added.
(With AFP inputs)