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Shoaib Akhtar Proposes Indo-Pak Series to Raise Funds to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic | Cricket News


NEW DELHI: Former Pakistani soccer player Shoaib Akhtar on Wednesday proposed a three-game ODI series made on television against archrival India to raise funds for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in both countries.

The two nations have not played a full series since 2007 due to terrorist attacks in India by Pakistan-based teams and the resulting diplomatic tension. They only play each other at ICC and Asian Cup events.

“In this time of crisis, I want to propose a three-game series in which, for the first time, people from either country are upset by the outcome of the games,” said Akhtar.

“If Virat (Kohli) scores a hundred, we will be happy, if Babar Azam scores a hundred, you will be happy. Both teams will be winners regardless of what happens on the field,” he said.

Akhtar said matches could be a closed-door matter.

“It may just be a television affair. Since everyone will be watching at home, you will surely get a massive audience for the games. For the first time, both countries will be playing each other. And any funds generated through this can be donated equally to the government of India and Pakistan to combat this pandemic, “added the 44-year-old man.

With both countries in a lockdown in the midst of the rapidly expanding pandemic, games can only be organized when things get better. However, Akhtar feels that the sooner they are carried out, the better it will be, but could not say how the logistics of such an initiative would be solved.

“Everyone is sitting at home right now, so there will be a massive following for the games. Maybe not now, when things start to get better, the games could be hosted in a neutral location like Dubai. Flights could be arranged chartered and parties could be held

“It could even lead to a resumption of bilateral cricket relations and relations between the two countries will improve diplomatically. You never know,” said the ‘Rawalpindi Express’.

“The whole world will tune into it, you can raise a lot of money to face this crisis. In difficult times, the character of the nation appears.”

In these extraordinary times, Akhtar feels that the two countries should help each other.

“If India can make 10,000 fans for us, Pakistan will remember this gesture forever. But we can only propose the parties. The rest is up to the authorities (to decide).”

Indian cricketers Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh were recently criticized for asking their social media followers to donate to the Shahid Afridi charity foundation, which is doing its part in Pakistan’s fight against the deadly virus.

“It was inhumane to criticize them. It is not about countries or religion at the moment, it is about humanity,” he said.

Akhtar has spent a lot of time in India as a commentator. He fondly recalled his days in Mumbai during the World T20 in 2016, the last time he came to India to work.

“I am forever grateful for the love I have received from the people of India. For the first time I am revealing this, what I was earning from India, I made a significant amount there, thirty percent of that, I used to distribute to the staff at low income that used to work with me on television, “he recalled.

Akhtar used to visit the slums of the city with his face covered to deliver financial aid to older women there.

“From drivers to racers to my security guys. I took care of a lot of people. It was like I won from this country, I also have to help my colleagues.”

“I also remember visiting the slums of Dharavi and Sion in the early hours of the night to meet people I worked with,” added Akhtar.

Times of India