Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar believes things will improve and he even went on to predict an India-Pakistan final in the Asia Cup as well as the World Cup.
There is still no clarity on whether India will travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup 2023 in September. If they don’t, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have threatened a pullout from the ODI World Cup slated to take place in India a month later. It all started when BCCI secretary Jay Shah announced last year that the Asia Cup is likely to be shifted to a neutral venue as India won’t travel to Pakistan. Since then, BCCI and PCB, the former cricketers of both countries have been engaging in a never-ending slugfest. Notably, India and Pakistan only meet in ICC events and Asia Cups. They haven’t played any bilaterals since Pakistan’s 2012-13 tour of India.
Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar, however, believes things will improve and he even went on to predict an India-Pakistan final in the Asia Cup as well as the World Cup. “India and Pakistan will play the final in the Asia Cup and also in the World Cup. India will come to Pakistan (for Asia Cup) and Pakistan will also travel to India for the World Cup. I am very hopeful that things will improve between India and Pakistan, and trade will open. I urge people from both sides to spread positivity and close the gap instead of burning bridges,” Akhtar told Sports Today.
The Rawalpindi Express also recalled the 2011 World Cup semi-final in Mohali and said that he would want Pakistan to take ‘revenge’ on India in the 2023 edition. Notably, Akhtar was not a part of the Pakistan XI in that semi-final, which India won quite comfortably to march to the finals.
“I want to take revenge for the 2011 World Cup, I hadn’t played in that match. I want to watch the India vs Pakistan final in Wankhede or Ahmedabad, wherever it happens in India. I will try my level best to watch the final,” he said.
When asked about whether an India-Pakistan final is really possible considering the fact that it is still not known whether Pakistan will travel to India for the world event, Akhtar said the governments of India and Pakistan will have to take the lead role as the matters are not in BCCI or PCB’s hands.
BCCI and PCB have nothing in their own hands. They can’t do anything without asking their governments (in the case of bilateral series and travel). So there is no point in giving statements. Both sides should stop giving statements. When things improve between the governments, they talk, and things will improve. Who is PCB or BCCI to stop or start anything? It’s in the BCCI’s interest if Pakistan land in India for the World Cup. It will be the biggest news at that point in time. But stop running your business,” he added.