Rohit bats for India-Pakistan Test series at neutral venue: ‘That will be awesome’

Left: Babar Azam (PCB Twitter), Right : Rohit Sharma (Rohit Sharma Twitter)

Is the ice melting? India captain Rohit Sharma has thrown open the possibility of India-Pakistan Test series at a neutral venue. This comes on the heels of IPL chairman Arun Dhumal telling RevSportz that “nobody can predict the future” as regards to Pakistan players’ participation in the Indian T20 league.

In a chat with Club Prairie Fire podcast, co-hosted by Adam Gilchrist and Michael Vaughan, Rohit said he would love to see India and Pakistan playing bilateral cricket on a regular basis, something that has been put on hold for more than a decade now. The arch-rivals haven’t played a bilateral series – a three-match ODI series – after 2012-13.

Vaughan, the former England captain, asked Rohit if for the sake of the health of Test cricket, it would be beneficial if India and Pakistan start playing bilateral cricket overseas. “I totally believe that,” said Rohit. The two teams last played a full series, involving Tests and limited-overs matches, in 2007.

Resuming bilateral cricket between India and Pakistan is subject to the go-ahead from the Indian government. The Pakistan Cricket Board administrators have been calling for the resumption for a long time now. But the stalemate continues. Recently, Cricket Australia reaffirmed its desire to host an India-Pakistan bilateral series if the BCCI and the PCB agree to it. Everyone agrees that a Test series between the two countries would be very exciting, Rohit concurred.

“They (Pakistan) are a good team. They have got a superb bowling line-up. So it will be a good contest, especially if you play (in) overseas conditions. That will be awesome,” said the India captain.

Rohit sees it purely as a cricket contest. “At the end of the day, we want to be in a contest and I think it will be a great contest between the two sides,” he said. “We, anyway, play them in ICC trophies, so it doesn’t really matter. It’s just pure cricket that I’m looking at. I’m not interested in anything else. It’s pure cricket, a game between bat and ball. It will be a great contest.”

He also said he would “love to” play bilateral cricket with Pakistan. Rohit is the first major name in Indian cricket to publicly back the resumption of India-Pakistan bilateral cricket at a neutral venue. The BCCI officials have maintained that this is subject to permission from the Indian government.