Shahid Afridi feels Indian players would have further strengthened the World XI
What's the story?
Erstwhile Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has reiterated that having Indian players in the World XI team, which is touring Pakistan, would have been a welcome move. The all-rounder went on to praise the PCB, and chairman Najam Sethi, for their efforts in bringing cricket back to the country as well.
“It is a significant moment for every Pakistani. Efforts to resume international cricket are bearing fruit," Afridi said in an interview to BBC Urdu along with adding that the inclusion of a couple of Indian players would have strengthened the touring side.
“We should be grateful to the ICC that supported the cricket board. International cricket should resume in Pakistan, absence of cricket was being greatly missed," he further added.
In case you didn't know...
Earlier last month, PCB had confirmed that a team of reputed international players would be visiting the Asian country for a three-match T20 series, scheduled to begin tomorrow (12th September).
A 14-man strong squad was announced a fortnight later, which comprised five South African, three Australian, two West Indian cricketers along with Grant Elliot, Tamim Iqbal, Paul Collingwood and Thisara Perera.
Faf du Plessis will captain the team.
The heart of the matter
Afridi, who retired from international cricket in February 2017, had previously posted a tweet as well, stating that having Indian players in the World XI would have been a welcome move.
However, owing to cross border terrorism, the Indian officials have remained firm on their stance of entertaining the Pakistan team in ICC tournaments only. Therefore, it didn't come as a surprise that no Indian player - irrespective of the fact that the ODI series against Australia starts a fortnight after the conclusion of the World XI series - was asked to travel to the neighboring country for the T20 series.
The three-match T20 series is set to start tomorrow, with the two other matches to be played on the 13th and 15th of this month respectively in Lahore. Moreover, there is the possibility that West Indies and Sri Lanka will tour Pakistan later this year as well.
Though Afridi's comments are heartwarming in a way, the prospect of an Indian team, or for that matter, even an Indian international cricketer touring Pakistan remains bleak until and unless the tension on the border of the two neighbouring countries eases.