Amidst the political stand-off between India and Pakistan, PSL franchise Peshawar Zalmi’s owner Javed Afridi has met BCCI President Anurag Thakur with the possibility of organising matches against IPL teams on neutral venues.
The 31-year old businessman is the CEO of Haier Pakistan which is one of the principal sponsors in the Pakistani side’s international matches. He paid a visit to Thakur at his residence and presented a jersey to him as a gesture of friendship. The focal point behind the meeting was to open up the possibility of matches between sides belonging to Pakistan and India’s premier T20 domestic leagues.
Javed Afridi revealed, “We had a discussion over Pakistan and India cricket relations. We also talked about IPL and PSL teams. He was happy to meet me and said we should play Pakistan on a third (neutral) venue. Such events will help promote peace between the two countries.”
“The point that I stressed upon was to allow IPL teams to play against PSL outfits on a neutral venue. I met a couple of team owners of IPL here and they are quite keen to have matches with us – the meeting was very successful. The second round of the meeting will be in Sri Lanka on December 17.”
Due to the political tension between the two countries, India and Pakistan have not played each other in a Test series for almost nine years. The arch-rivals have faced off only in ICC events and the Asia Cup apart from a brief limited-overs series in 2012/13.
Although there were talks of a full bilateral series in Sri Lanka last year, that did not materialise into anything concrete. Relations between the two nations further soured after a terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri during September.
Thakur himself had claimed then, “No question of playing cricket (with Pakistan). The priority is to expose Pakistan as a country which sponsors terrorism. We can’t even think of playing cricket with them.” He even hinted at asking ICC to not place India and Pakistan in the same group during global tournaments which the apex body admitted to have been doing deliberately in order to cash in on public interest.
More recently, Indian women’s team were docked six points after BCCI refused to provide proper explanation to ICC for pulling out of the ODIs against Pakistan women. Due to the fiasco, Mithali Raj’s side will now have to participate in a qualifying tournament to gain entry into the 2017 Women’s World Cup.
If the proposed IPL-PSL matches happen, they could set the stage for gradual resumption of cricketing ties between the two Asian giants. However, it remains to be seen if those T20 clashes indeed take place.
Peshawar Zalmi Owner and Chairman Javed Afridi on a goodwill mission. Promoting peace and cricket with BCCI chief. pic.twitter.com/ZVpl37cffz— PeshawarZalmi (@PeshawarZalmi) 25 November 2016