Srinagar: Former India Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, on Sunday visited Kunzar area of Baramulla District in Kashmir as a chief guest for the Chinar Cricket Premier League. The event was organised by Indian Army in North Kashmir.
While thousands gathered early in the morning considering the Ranchi cricketer’s massive popularity across the world, in a shocking incident, pro-Shahid Afridi slogans were heard when Dhoni arrived at the venue. Local media reported that some of the locals chanted ‘Boom Boom Afridi’ slogans as Dhoni, who holds an honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Army, interacted with aspiring cricketers. Later on, a video also emerged on social media confirming the same.
On the same occasion, when asked whether India should resume cricketing ties with Pakistan, the 36-year-old said, “When we talk about cricket, in most people’s opinion it is a sport, but when it comes to India and Pakistan series, it is much more than that. It is also a diplomatic and political decision.”
Referring to the saying that ‘sports and politics should be kept separated’, the 36-year-old added that whenever the team plays a bilateral series, it generates a lot of money, which eventually flows in the economy of the country and thus it makes cricket more than a sport.
He said, “Saying that it is just cricket is wrong, as it also has an impact on the Indian economy. So, coming to a conclusion on India-Pakistan series is a big decision which should be left to the government.”
India has not been involved in any bilateral series with the neighboring country since the 2012-13 limited-overs series which comprised two T20Is and three ODIs in India.
In June 2014, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) signed an agreement during the ICC annual conference in Melbourne to play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023.
However, the series never commenced in the wake of political tensions between the two countries.
But, as per the International Cricket Council (ICC) Future Tours Programme, each of its member countries has to play at least once against each other. If India does not play Pakistan, it will eventually lose point to the rival country.