Flashback: Cricket fans hold aloft a Pakistan and Indian flag stitched together during the 2006 Test match between the two neighbours at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore. Image Credit: AFP

Sometimes, one wonders whether some former cricketers and cricket administrators have cricket in their heart.

An example is that of former Pakistan great Javed Miandad’s recent statement that the International Cricket Council should not allow teams to tour India.

He was backing Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ehsan Mani’s assertion that India has a greater security risk now than Pakistan.

However big is the animosity between India and Pakistan, a cricketer or an administrator should refrain from talking about stopping cricket in any country.

In fact, a cricket administrator must consider it his duty to ensure that cricket does not stop not only in his country — but anywhere else in the world.

Miandad, as well as Mani, have experienced how tough it has been to bring international cricket back to their country.

If Miandad believes that he can become a hero by asking ICC to stop cricket nations to tour India, he is mistaken.

When a cricket series is cancelled, the losers are cricketers and fans of the game.

Whether a country is secure to travel or not is not his lookout — there are agencies that have experts to look into this matter.

When efforts need to be made to resume cricketing ties between India and Pakistan, and if responsible people themselves make such remarks, it can only make the situation bitter.

Political differences between India and Pakistan cannot be wiped away easily — given that it has existed for years.

India’s veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, during the build-up to the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, had remarked that India should never play against Pakistan.

It is a shame that as a cricketer, he could call for snapping cricketing relationships.

These cricketers who make such statements also know that whenever India and Pakistan have played each other, the players have had no animosity against each other.

Most speak the same language, and there have been so many instances of former cricketers from both countries giving tips to players to sharpen their skills.

One of the most enjoyable assignments as a reporter was when I reported the 2004 and 2006 India-Pakistan series in Pakistan.

Also, the numerous India-Pakistan series in India are all unforgettable memories.

I have witnessed cricket fans creating an atmosphere of joy rather than hatred. In places like Mohali, people opened their homes for Pakistan fans to stay with them.

In Lahore, local fans were competing with each other to extend hospitality to Indian fans.

Instead of boosting such affection, calling to end cricket speaks poorly of their passion for the game.

When politicians and their respective governments are against an India-Pakistan series, it is the cricketers and administrators who should canvas for playing each other or even together, like for an Asian XI team.

The message should be that cricket should not be stopped by anyone.