Shahid Afridi, the former captain of the Pakistan cricket team, has told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “let cricket happen” even though the Asia Cup 2023 is still a mess. During a press conference at the Legends League Cricket in Doha, the capital of Qatar, Afridi said that India’s BCCI was a strong board. But with great power comes great responsibility, Afridi said, urging the Indian team to make “more friends” instead of enemies. After the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, the two countries, which both had nuclear weapons, broke off their cricket ties. Since then, every cricket game between India and Pakistan has been played on neither country’s own field.
“Just send the Indian cricket team once, and we’ll take care of them with all our love,” Afridi said in Doha. The unconventional all-rounder told that this is not the generation of wars and that cricket diplomacy can help a lot in mending relationships. When discussing the 2005 series, he said Indian cricketers have always been loved and praised. He remembered times when Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh went shopping or out to eat, and no Pakistani business owner charged them. Afridi said he is still on good terms with many Indian cricketers because of the “beauty of two nations.” He noted that Suresh Raina gave him a bat at one point.
During the talk, Afridi also said something very important. He said, without naming anyone, that someone from Mumbai had once called the Pakistan cricket team to threaten them. But his team decided to forget about all of that and go to India anyway.
Afridi’s comments come before the important Asian Cricket Council meeting that will take place in Dubai. The much-anticipated Asia Cup 2023 will depend on what happens at the ACC meeting. The ICC will also meet to talk about this. Jay Shah, chairman of the ACC, said last year that the Indian cricket team wouldn’t go to Pakistan for the Asia Cup. In a retaliatory move, Pakistan said that its players would not go to India for the ICC ODI World Cup if it were not allowed to host the Asia Cup.