Akram hopes to revive Indo-Pak cricket ties
Published: Friday, February 22, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
Karachi: Famed Pakistan pacer Wasim Akram on Thursday said he is ready to serve as a 'goodwill Ambassador' to revive Pakistan-India cricket ties when he appears on a popular Indian cricket television show next week. "I would love to give a goodwill message to the Indian public that both the countries should revive cricket because the public of both the countries wants to see it," Akram told reporters. "Cricket should be above politics and since cricket matches bring the two nations close, there should be a revival of cricket between Pakistan and India." Akram, 35, will make a guest appearance on the ESPN-Star show 'Super Selector' next week. Viewers select a team of 11 cricketers to compete to become Super Selector and win prizes. "I have been a great supporter of cricket between Pakistan and India and see no reason why cricket should suffer due to politics," he said. Akram will leave for India via Dubai on Tuesday as there are no direct flights between the two countries since India barred Pakistani flights from using its air space in January. "Cricket series will lessen the tension and Pakistan has always been ready to play India," he said. Akram led Pakistan's last team to India in the 1999-2000 season when Pakistan played three Tests and featured in a tri-series along with Sri Lanka. Both South Asian nations have not met on the cricket ground since their Asia Cup league game in Dhaka, Bangladesh in June 2000. India says it will maintain its cricket boycott of Pakistan until Islamabad ends its support for militants in Indian- administered Kashmir. India refused to send its team on tour to Pakistan in December 2000 and also pulled its team from participating in the Asian Test Championship match in Lahore in September last year. New Delhi also refused to allow India play alongside Pakistan in multi-national events in third countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Canada. The nuclear-armed rivals have massed troops on their common border in the wake of the attack on India's parliament on 13 December, which New Delhi claims was carried out by Pakistan-based militants.