Karachi: Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq and senior player Shahid Afridi on Thursday contradicted limited-overs skipper Sarfaraz Ahmad’s claims that the Indian team was scared of playing against Pakistan and that was why the Indo-Pak bilateral series was not happening.
The two stalwarts said they don’t believe that the Indian team was not prepared or was afraid of playing against Pakistan.
“Sarfaraz has his own views but I don’t think he said they were scared directly. To me it is simple, everyone knows the reasons for India not playing against Pakistan. It is all political and has nothing to do with cricket,” Misbah told the media at the ICC Champions Trophy unveiling at the national stadium here.
“I think the Indian team players also would like to play against us but it is politics which is not allowing a bilateral series. It is the Indian government which is not allowing it,” he said.
Misbah said it was a pity that India and Pakistan were not playing bilateral series as he knew people from both countries wanted to see the two teams play against each other regularly.
“It is a great loss to cricket that we are not playing against each other like we should. We are achieving nothing by not playing against each other.”
He noted that even the Champions Trophy June 4 clash in England between the two teams was already sold out.
Afridi also minced no words in stating that the Indian government would have to change its stance if bilateral cricket has to resume between Pakistan and India.
“If there is no bilateral cricket being played it is because of the Indian government. I don’t think the Indian players do not want to play against us,” said Afridi who announced retirement from international cricket last month.
Afridi, who led Pakistan in the last World T20 in India last year, said he felt sad that people of both the countries were being deprived of a high-profile series.
“When we went there last year the Indian people were happy to see us play there,” he said.
Misbah also felt that Pakistan had a very good chance of beating India in the Champions Trophy under the captaincy of Sarfaraz as he had been taking the right decisions and utilising the players well.
“He (Sarfaraz) has done a good job and I think our team is a blend of experience and youth. We are now best placed to win the June 4 encounter against India and also do well in the Champions Trophy,” Misbah said.