Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar on Wednesdayproposed a three-match ODI series between arch-rivals India and Pakistan toraise funds for the fight against COVID-19.
Notably, the two nations have not played a bilateral cricketseries since 2007 due to tensed diplomatic relationships between the twocountries. Both the teams play each other in events organized by the ICC.
"In this time of crisis, I want to propose a three-matchseries in which for the first time, the people of neither country would beupset at the outcome of the games," Akhtar told from Islamabad.
"If Virat Kohli scores a hundred, we will be happy, if BabarAzam scores a hundred, you will be happy. Both teams will be winnersirrespective of whatever happens on the field," he added.
"You are bound to get massive viewership for the games. Forthe first time, both countries will play for each other. And whatever funds aregenerated through this can be donated equally to the government of India andPakistan to fight this pandemic," one of the fastest bowlers ever stated.
Given that the number of COVID-19 cases in the worldcontinues to rise, such a series might only be a possibility when things beginto improve. However, the former Pakistani bowler said that the sooner theseries is held, the better it is but agreed that it is only up to theauthorities to decide.
"Everyone is sitting at home at the moment, so there will be a massive following for the games. Maybe not now, when things start improving, the games could be organized at a neutral location like Dubai. Chartered flights could be arranged and the matches could be held.
"It could even lead to the resumption of bilateral cricketing ties and relations of both countries improve diplomatically. You never know," the 44-year-old, who is often known as the 'Rawalpindi Express', said.
"The whole world will tune into it, so much money can beraised to deal with this crisis. In difficult times, the character of the nationcomes forward."
"If India can make 10,000 ventilators for us, Pakistan willremember this gesture forever. But we can only propose the matches. The rest isup to the authorities to decide."