Pakistan should travel to India for ODI World Cup say Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi


Former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has advocated for his country’s team be allowed to compete in the ODI World Cup in India and said that not sending the side for the mega event will be “depriving people” of the opportunity to see the arch-rivals clash on the biggest stage.

“When there can be contacts between the two countries in other sports, why not in cricket,” Misbah said at a function in Karachi. “Why link cricket with political relations? It is unfair to deprive people of a chance to see their teams play against each other.

“It is great injustice to the fans who follow Pakistan and Indian cricket a lot.”

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) recently conveyed to the ICC and the BCCI that the national team’s participation in the World Cup in October-November this year is subject to government clearance due to the tense relations between the two countries.
India have refused to play their Asia Cup matches in Pakistan owing to geopolitical tensions, and after months of speculation around it, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) announced that the event will be staged in a hybrid model with four games in Pakistan and nine in Sri Lanka (neutral venue) from August 31 to September 17.

Misbah felt it was time Pakistan should go to India and the Indian team should also come to Pakistan to play matches.

“Certainly, Pakistan should be playing in the World Cup even in India,” he said. “The many times I have played in India, we have enjoyed the pressure and crowds there because it gives you motivation and conditions in India suit us. Our team has the capability to do well in Indian conditions.”

Pakistan’s league stage matches at the 2023 ODI World Cup•ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Misbah also advised the players to just focus on the cricket and winning the World Cup.

“What is happening outside their sphere, they should not think about it,” he said. “The key to doing well in the World Cup in India is to get the playing XIs right at particular venues and against particular opposition.”

During a media round-table on Friday, ICC chair Greg Barclay had said that all ten participating teams will “turn up” for the World Cup that begins on October 5 and will run until November 19. “We are expecting as per the terms of the participation agreement that all teams will turn up for all events. Nothing to suggest otherwise that it won’t be the case at the World Cup later this year.”
Misbah’s former team-mate and captain Shahid Afridi too felt Pakistan must travel to India for the World Cup. He was also confident of Pakistan doing well in the allotted venues, including Ahmedabad where the two neighbouring teams will clash.

“The biggest challenge for me or for any professional cricketer is dealing with the pressure which come with playing in India and trying to do well there in front of Indian crowds,” he said. “Overall we have enjoyed playing in India because the satisfaction and recognition you get if you can do well and perform in Indian is a worthy reward for any player. We have a very good side and some outstanding talent and I don’t see any reason why we can’t go to India and do well there even if we play at Ahmedabad.”

Afridi, who was the interim chief selector late last year, also expressed concern over the frequent changes in the PCB.

“It is a bother for the players and fans alike,” he said. “I say develop a system so that it doesn’t matter who comes and goes, the system should stay and decisions must be respected.”

He also felt that cricketers need to be given leading roles in the PCB since they know the sport and understand the psyche of players.

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