New Delhi: Sunil Gavaskar has come down hard on the BCCI’s decision to revive bilateral ties with Pakistan, claiming that the short limited-overs series in December-January was in poor taste considering Pakistan’s non-cooperation in the Mumbai terror attacks probe.
"Being a Mumbaikar I feel what is the urgency when there is no co-operation from the other side," said Gavaskar, adding that the scheduling of an additional series during
India’s heavy workload in the upcoming season would only put more pressure on the team.
England, who are touring India from November to January, playing four Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20s, go home on December 22 and return on January 3.
"My first reaction is that the time the players have between the England series, it is not going to be there,” said Gavaskar. “They are playing England in November-December but now they are not going to get the breather. Players need the time to look after their injuries and get better.”
Relations between India and Pakistan broke down after the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. Since then there have been no bilateral series between the two countries and the only three meetings have come in tri-series or ICC events.
Former Pakistan batsman Zaheer Abbas felt the series would improve the mood between the two countries. "The best remedy is to play. At least the country will be busy watching cricket. It will be good for cricket and Indo-Pak relationship. Both the countries should be playing cricket every year. It is a very good sign," he said. "People in Pakistan are very happy. India are becoming a great power in cricket. Playing with India we can improve our cricket also.”
Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi welcomed the BCCI’s decision. "It will be interesting Pakistan is playing their home series in India. It will mean a lot in the two nations,” he said. “And the amount of interest and the goodwill it will generate will be huge. Lots of positives will come out of it and it is a step in the right direction.”
The standoff between India and Pakistan has also led to Pakistan being the only major Test nation without representation in the Champions League Twenty20 [which is organised by the Indian, South African and Australian boards] and the IPL, much to the PCB’s dissatisfaction. Bedi, however, did not care much for this.
"I am not interested much in a Pakistan team being invited in the Champions League Twenty20. I am more interested in the two countries playing against each other," he said.
He did echo Gavaskar when it came to the issue of player fatigue, considering India are set to host Australia for four Tests after England complete the ODI leg of their tour. "India-Pakistan matches are much more intense than Australia playing England. My only apprehension is that the Indian boys may be a bit taxing. England and Australia are coming and to take out another series, though short, against arch-rivals Pakistan could be taxing on the Indian players," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)