Retorting to the statement by BCCI president Anurag Thakur ruling out any bilateral series, Pakistan's cricketers have questioned the need for such a statement. Pointing out that India has not played them even when peace prevailed between the two, they ridiculed the statement as purely political.
India have avoided playing Pakistan in a bilateral series since 2012-13 when they toured India. Despite the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) intense efforts, India had turned down a series last year after months of wrangling. Given things were in black and white already, Pakistan cricketing circles expressed their surprise when BCCI President Anurag Thakur, also a top ranked leader of the BJP, on Friday said 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, reported the Asian Age.
The publication also reported a top official of the PCB saying 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 normalise cricket ties with India and we have always believed in keeping sports and politics apart," the official said.
Yousuf, however, called for the International Cricket Council (ICC) to act on Thakur's comments. "The ICC keeps on saying it will not tolerate politics or government interference in member boards and the BCCI president is making political statements. Either he speak as a BJP leader or BCCI head," Yousuf said.
Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif also said that Thakur's statement was pointless as India had already made it clear that they will not play Pakistan, reported the publication.
Former Test leg-spinner Abdul Qadir also reiterated the point saying, "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.”
"It is time we stopped running after India and said thank you to them," he added.