India-Pakistan matches more followed than the Ashes: Inzamam-Ul-Haq calls for resumption of ties

Inzamam Ul Haq stressed on importance of India-Pakistan bilateral matches.

Sourav Ganguly and Inzamam Ul Haq | GettyFormer Pakistan captain Inzamam-Ul-Haq called for the resumption of India-Pakistan bilateral ties saying that their matches were more popular and more people followed them than the Ashes.

India and Pakistan have not played any bilateral series since 2012-13 and only face each other in ICC events and Asia Cup tournaments. India has not lost to Pakistan in any of the World Cup matches be it the 50-over World Cup or the T20 World Cup.

Pakistan, on the other hand, has a couple of wins over India in the Champions Trophy tournament, with them beating India in the final of the 2017 event to lift the trophy.

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Seeing the popularity and viewership whenever these two arch-rivals clash, Inzamam-Ul-Haq has batted for more tournaments featuring the two countries.

"India-Pakistan series was followed much more than The Ashes and people thoroughly enjoyed each and every moment. For the betterment of the game and the players, it is important to have the Asia Cup and also bilateral series between India and Pakistan," Inzamam told Sportstar in an interview.

Inzamam was the Pakistan captain when India toured the country in 2004 for the first time since 1989. India won both the Test series and the ODI series on the 2004 tour. India and Pakistan last played a Test in 2007, meaning that the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Babar Azam, and Sarfaraz Ahmed have not clashed in the longest format of the game even once.

India defeated Pakistan in all matches they faced off in Asia Cup 2018 | Getty"Each and every competition is important. In our times, the Asia Cup was a tournament where the top teams would compete. The more you play high-quality cricket, you develop your skills. For instance, if India were playing Pakistan, the players would be excited to put in their best efforts because they know the importance and intensity of these matches. That not only helps a player grow but also helps him earn appreciation from the fans. I think it is important to have these tournaments,” Inzamam added.

Inzamam recalled his experience of featuring in India-Pakistan matches with much happiness, especially the equation shared by the players from both sides.

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"When we would play against each other, it was a great feeling. In those bilateral series, it was also an opportunity for the young cricketers to learn a thing or two from the senior players. Be it a Sachin Tendulkar or a Sourav Ganguly or Mohammad Azharuddin or Javed Miandad, the youngsters could just walk up to them and pick their brains. That was a fantastic opportunity to improve one’s game," the former Pakistan captain said.

The on-field rivalry was intense, but at the end of the day, players respected each other and shared a camaraderie. Meri toh bari khwayaish hain ke yeh cheez dobara shuru ho jayein (I wish this [India-Pakistan series] resumes).” He signed off.

(Sportstar inputs)


By Jatin Sharma - 10 Jun, 2021

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