Pakistan cricket community has ridiculed the statement given by BCCI President Anurag Thakur, saying even when ties between the two countries were better India had avoided playing Pakistan in a bilateral series.
Thakur, also a top ranked leader of the ruling BJP in India, said on Friday in a statement that there was no question of playing Pakistan in cricket. “I just don’t understand what he wants to say. For the last eight years India has avoided playing us in a proper bilateral series even when relations were better,” former captain, Muhammad Yousuf said on Saturday.
The Pakistan Cricket Board avoided making any official comments but a top official conceded that Thakur’s statement had caught them by surprise. “It is an out and out political statement from the President of the BCCI. We are disappointed as we have been trying hard for a long time now to normalize cricket ties with India and we have always believed in keeping sports and politics apart,” the official said.
Yousuf, however, was adamant that the International Cricket Council should take notice of Thakur’s tirade. “The ICC keeps on saying it will not tolerate politics or government interference in member boards and the BCCI President is making political statements. He can either speak as a BJP leader or BCCI head,” Yousuf said. He lamented that whenever he played in India the people there enjoyed the matches but unfortunately now there was no Indo-Pak series.
Former Test leg-spinner, Abdul Qadir said apparently the BCCI now was a body dominated by politicians. “They have not played us for so many years so what value is this statement off. I believe that the PCB should seriously think about playing India in the group matches of any ICC event,” he said.
Former Test batsman, Mohsin Khan said cricket and politics should not be mixed. “I just feel that Anurag Thakur should not give political statements in his capacity as BCCI President,” he said.