Thatscricket - News - Akram calls on fans to urge Indian govt
Published: Monday, February 5, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2000Extras:
Quake relief series officially cancelled
Karachi: Famous Pakistani pacer Wasim Akram on Monday urged Indian cricket fans to pressure New Delhi to allow matches between Pakistan and India and to keep the sport above politics. "I call on the Indian fans to urge their government to change its anti-cricket stance and revive Pakistan-India cricket, just for the love of the game," Akram told AFP.The former Pakistani captain was reacting to India's refusal of a cricket series in Sharjah to raise funds for quake victims in the Indian state of Gujarat."I know the fans love Pakistan-India ties and get engrossed in them but they are starved due to politics, which should not be mingled in the game. Even if today you hold a poll 70 per cent of Indians will give thumbs up for Pakistan-India matches, they want this and are being deprived," he said."How can I forget the Chennai crowd that gave Pakistan a standing ovation when we won a Test there in 1999," Akram, who led Pakistan to the last Test series between the archrivals, said."I also admire the Calcutta crowd who did show their resentment during that same series but the trouble makers were very few, Indians love cricket like anything and they can change all this."The Asian Cricket Foundation (ACF) proposed the fund raising tri-series later this week in Sharjah but Indian Government turned down the proposal in protest over Islamabad's alleged support to separatist militants in Kashmir."I must say cricket should not be affected. Pakistan showed a great gesture by agreeing to raise funds for India victims," Akram said. I can safely say this on behalf of all the Pakistani players that they want to play India anywhere in the world."The cancellation of the series allowed Akram to leave for Ireland where his wife gave birth to their second son last week.Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Lieutenant General Tauqir Zia said on Sunday he was worried for another tri-nation series, involving Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka, in April.Zia demanded the Sharjah organisers to confirm India's participation in that tournament. Former Pakistan captain Intikhab Alam said India should not be allowed to do whatever it chose."Indians are doing what they like and it should not be this way. Pakistan is maintaining a positive stance all the time while India is negative," Alam told AFP.Alam, however, saw no danger for the Sharjah tri-series in April. "I think since Sharjah event is a regular commitment India will honour it," he said.