While former world champions India and Pakistan have not played bilateral cricket except for their face-off in ICC events in recent times, in what comes as a huge update, India and Pakistan players could play for the same team in 2023. Such a scenario might happen in mid-2023 as there are attempts being made to restart the Afro-Asian Cup from next year onwards.
This could be a huge development as usually India vs Pakistan is known as the Mother of All Contests for the sheer passion that the fans of both the cricket-crazy nation bring to the stadiums. However, political reasons have meant no cricket series between the two nations with India’s last bilateral engagement with their neighbour dating back to 2012-13.
When it comes to the longest form of the game, India and Pakistan last went head to head in a Test match in 2007. Moreover, Pakistan players do not play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) which has seen players from different cricketing nations share a dressing room, leaving their international rivalry aside.
“We haven’t got confirmation from the boards yet. We are still working on the white paper and it will be submitted to both boards. But our plan is for the best players from India and Pakistan to be playing in the Asian XI. Once plans are finalized we will go into market for sponsorship and a broadcaster. It will be a massive event. Really, really big,” ACC head of commercial and events Prabhakaran Thanraj was quoted as saying by Forbes.
The last edition of the Afro-Asian Cup was held in 2007. On that occasion, several former Indian stars including Sourav Ganguly, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni had participated and shared the dressing room with members of Sri Lankan and Pakistani team. A few cricketers from Bangladesh were also part of the Asian team.