Inzamam-ul-Haq has batted for the return of the fiery India vs Pakistan bilateral series, explaining how the fixtures attracted more attention than The Ashes. The former Pakistan skipper also illustrated how the encounters helped players improve their game.
The last bilateral series between India and Pakistan took place in 2012/13, when the latter toured India for short ODI and T20 series. Political tensions between the two nations have meant that India-Pakistan encounters have been restricted to ICC events in recent years.
In an exclusive interview with Sportstar, Inzamam-ul-Haq explained why he wants to see the India vs Pakistan series make a comeback.
“India-Pakistan series was followed much more than The Ashes and people thoroughly enjoyed each and every moment. For the betterment of the game and the players, it is important to have the Asia Cup and also bilateral series between India and Pakistan. When we would play against each other, it was a great feeling. In those bilateral series, it was also an opportunity for the young cricketers to learn a thing or two from the senior players. Be it a Sachin Tendulkar or a Sourav Ganguly or Mohammad Azharuddin or Javed Miandad, the youngsters could just walk up to them and pick their brains. That was a fantastic opportunity to improve one’s game,” Inzamam-ul-Haq said.
One of the fiercest rivalries in international cricket, India-Pakistan games have conjured up some memorable moments over the years. Players from both sides, such as Shoaib Akhtar and Sachin Tendulkar amongst others, have talked about how the rivalry brought the best out of them.
Inzamam-ul-Haq has been at the centre of the iconic rivalry too, and the Pakistan legend hopes to see the series return soon.
“The on-field rivalry was intense, but at the end of the day, players respected each other and shared a camaraderie. Meri toh bari khwayaish hain ke yeh cheez dobara shuru ho jayein ( I wish this [India-Pakistan series] resumes),” Inzamam-ul-Haq hoped.
I think it is important to have these tournaments: Inzamam-ul-Haq on Asia Cup’s future
Another stage where India and Pakistan have regularly come up against each other in recent years has been the Asia Cup. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has put the tournament on the backburner.
Domestic leagues and other tournaments seem to have eclipsed the Asia Cup in terms of relevance, but Inzamam-ul-Haq believes that tournament still has a place in the cricketing calendar.
“Each and every competition is important. In our times, the Asia Cup was a tournament where the top teams would compete. The more you play high-quality cricket, you develop your skills. For instance, if India were playing Pakistan, the players would be excited to put in their best efforts because they know the importance and intensity of these matches. That not only helps a player grow but also helps him earn appreciation from the fans. I think it is important to have these tournaments,” Inzamam-ul-Haq concluded.
Fans haven’t been able to catch Asia Cup action since 2018, when the tournament was last held. Packed international calendars and the COVID-19 pandemic led to the postponement of this year’s edition as well, but an Asia Cup has been scheduled for 2022.