India & Pakistan need to fight COVID-19 together, says Akhtar
Lahore: Former Pakistan speedster has come out with an “out of a box” idea of proposing a three-match series against India in order to raise funds for both the countries amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Over 5,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported so far in India while more than 160 people have lost their lives. In Pakistan, the situation is no better as more than 4,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported while over 60 lives have been lost.
According to Akhtar, India and Pakistan can play either a three-match ODI or a T20I series behind closed doors which can raise millions of dollars of funds to help both the countries in such desperate time.
India and Pakistan have not played a bilateral series against each other since 2007 and have only been facing each other in ICC tournaments.
“I want India and Pakistan to play a series. I want it to happen without crowds, just broadcasting unit should be there and the matches should be televised, three ODIs or T20Is should be played. I cannot understand why this is a bad idea,” Akhtar said in a video posted on his YouTube channel.
“Players can play after undergoing testing, if the series happens, just think how many people will watch the matches on television, think about the funds the series can generate. For the first time, there will be no loser, there is everything to gain, imagine Indian team winning the match, and the funds going to Pakistan as well and vis-a-vis,” the Rawalpindi Express said.
Akhtar said he is aware of the existing relationship between the two Asian neighbours. However, he said now is the time for both the countries to think above the petty fights and differences, think above Hindu and Muslims and only think about saving human lives and coming out of this difficult situation.
“I am just thinking out of the box, this can be a breakthrough moment for both India and Pakistan, these two countries can help in generating a great amount of funds. Both sides will play for humanity. These matches can become the most viewed matches in the history of cricket,” Akhtar said.
The former Pakistan speedster also condemned the backlash which Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh had to face for supporting Shahid Afridi’s foundation.
“I saw what happened with Yuvraj and Harbhajan as they advocated for Shahid Afridi Foundation. I just could not understand this. We as people need to come forward and think above political difference,” Akhtar said.