Afridi for Ind-Pak series to fight COVID-19

Lahore: Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has found support in former skipper Shahid Afridi as the all-rounder said that he was disappointed with former India skipper Kapil Devs reaction to Akhtars suggestion of having an India-Pakistan series to raise funds in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

“The entire world is fighting against coronavirus and we need unity in our region to defeat this common enemy. Such negative comments don’t help at all. I don’t see anything wrong with Shoaib Akhtar’s suggestion for Pakistan and India to play cricket. Kapil’s reaction has surprised me. I expected better from him and feel one should not talk like this in these crisis times. Sport is supposed to bring people together and build bridges. It is pretty disappointing,” he said.

Akhtar on his part told a news channel: “I don’t think Kapil bhai understood what I was trying to say. Everyone is going to be trapped economically. This is the time to put our heads together and generate revenues. I’m talking about the larger perspective, about economic reforms.”

“The global audience would be hooked by one single match, it will generate revenues. Kapil said he doesn’t need the money and he surely doesn’t. But everyone else does. I think this suggestion will come into consideration soon.”

Shoaib said that both India and Pakistan have a lot of poverty and the two countries should cooperate with each other better during the crisis caused by the spread of the pandemic.

“I had said that I know India more than even (Pakistan Prime Minister) Imran Khan himself. I have travelled to many areas and interacted with many people there. I keep telling people here what Indians are all about. Our countries have a lot of poverty. I am saddened when people are suffering. As a human and as a Muslim, it is my responsibility to help as much as I can,” he said.

Shoaib said that after Pakistan, it is in India that he has received the most amount of love and he said he is making the suggestion for those who are involved in the game and are now unemployed because of the lack of matches.

“So I was only asking what options we had if nothing happens for the next six months. What will all the people, who are employed because of cricket, do? What will happen to those whose livelihoods depend on cricket? Time has come to put our heads together, to plan on how we will generate revenues. The only option we have is holding a fundraising match. Maybe it leads to betterment in the relationship. I am talking about a larger perspective,” he said.

NT Bureau