Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi believes sports should be kept away from politics. His comments come in light of recent reports about a possible T20I series between India and Pakistan later this year.
Speaking about the importance of cricket between India and Pakistan, Shahid Afridi said that cricket could act as a medium to help improve relations between the two countries.
"Cricket between Pakistan and India is very important. Sports should be kept away from politics. Relations between the two countries can improve because of cricket," Shahid Afridi told Cricket Pakistan.
Shahid Afridi also hinted that he'd like India to tour Pakistan and suggested there should be efforts from both sides to improve the relationship.
"I have said this before as well, Indian cricketers enjoy coming to Pakistan. You can improve relationships through sports but if you don't want to improve them then they will remain the same way," Shahid Afridi added.
Recent reports have emerged in the media about the possibility of an India tour of Pakistan later this year. The speculation began when a Pakistani Urdu newspaper, Jang, cited an anonymous Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official commenting on the matter.
The report revealed that PCB officials were asked to be prepared for a potential series, in case talks between the two cricketing boards resume.
"A PCB official said that while there has been no direct discussion with anyone from India, indications are there and we have been told to be ready for such a series," the newspaper mentioned.
India and Pakistan last played a bilateral series in 2012/13. Since then, both sides have only competed against each other in multi-team tournaments.
Shahid Afridi was part of the Pakistan T20I squad during the 2012-13 bilateral series in India but didn't find a place in the ODI set-up.
In the two T20Is that took place in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, Shahid Afridi scored 14 runs and picked up one wicket. The T20I series eventually ended in a tie. Pakistan clinched the three-match ODI series 2-1. Nasir Jamshed played a vital role in Pakistan's victory. and scored 241 runs in three matches.