Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli says he enjoys playing against Pakistan but the resumption on India vs Pakistan bilateral cricket is a subject that is beset left to the authorities.
Sporting rivalries around the world have moulded careers, produced heroes and villians, brought smiles or tears on the faces of players and fans alike.
An India versus Pakistan cricket match even today invokes all of the above and much more. There was a time when this rivalry was compared to the Ashes. The comparison does not hold good anymore as India do not play bilateral series with Pakistan and is unlikely to do so in the near future.
Even then, it does not come as a surprise when India skipper Virat Kohli, in his post match media conference after thrashing Pakistan in Birmingham on Sunday, said he really enjoys being part of the battle between the arch-rivals.
“You do enjoy playing against them. They’re a very competitive side. The atmosphere is great. From that regard, as a cricketer, we really enjoyed this game, that’s all I can say,” said Kohli.
Surely, Virat Kohli would have enjoyed the match even more had Pakistan managed to put up a semblance of a fight. That did not happen. For that matter, with Sunday’s win, India have set the ICC Champions Trophy head-to-head record straight at 2-2. In World Cups, the record is 6-0 in favour of India.
The ICC events and the Asia Cup remain the only platforms where India and Pakistan face each other now. As the Board of Control for Cricket in India officials met their Pakistan counterparts last month in Dubai, sports minister Vijay Goel ruled out the possibility of resuming bilateral cricket.
“India and Pakistan can’t play bilateral series till the terror from Pakistan remains. BCCI should speak to the government before giving any proposal to Pakistan. I have made it clear that bilateral cricket with Pakistan is not possible till the time there is cross-border terror. We have, however, no say on multilateral events (ICC tournaments),” Goel said.
Obviously, Kohli felt his opinion on resumption of bilateral series is immaterial.
“As cricketers, those things are not in our hands. We come here to play the sport. And that’s all we focus on. It’s not my place to speak of any other decisions. The higher officials take care of those decisions. My opinion does not matter and should not matter.”
“But regardless of who you play, you just want to play cricket. At the end of the day, for us, it’s just playing the sport we love. It’s not preferences over opposition. And that’s all I can say to this,” Kohli said in the post-match press conference.
The last time Pakistan played India was in 2012. It was a three-match ODI and a two-match T20 series. The last full series between the two was in 2007 after the Dosti series in 2004.
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