Lahore: Oct 2, 2013
“Such is the importance of Indo-Pak contests that even if both the teams play in a third country their match attracts big crowds,” Ajmal said in an interview.
“So I see no reason for India and Pakistan not to be playing more regularly against each other. Politics should not dictate sporting ties between the two nations. Cricket has always helped in improving relations between the two countries,” he said.
Ajmal, who currently heads the ICC One-Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International bowling rankings, regrets not to get a chance to play a Test against India still in his career.
“I made my debut against India in the Asia Cup in 2008 but I am yet to play a Test against India. I would like to see relations improve and both sides playing regularly against each other,” he said.
The off-spinner also said that it was disappointing that Pakistani players have been barred from playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
“What I don’t understand is when players from the world over can be allowed to play in the IPL then why not Pakistani players? I would like to test my skills against the best in this league,” Ajmal said.
Ajmal said he had relished the challenge of bowling to Sachin Tendulkar in the limited opportunities he got him in the last few years.
“As a spinner you grow when you play against top batsmen like Tendulkar and his wicket carries high value.”
The two spinners, who are preparing for the coming series against South Africa, made the point that as bowlers they missed the opportunity to test their skills against a team like India.
“It would be a good challenge playing against India because they play spin well and one would like to see how we can fare against them. As a spinner I relish the challenge of battling against batsmen who play spinners well,” Rehman said.
The left-arm spinner said if both countries played regularly against each other it would help revive interest in Test cricket and also boost the development of young players.