India-Pakistan played in the final of ICC Champions Trophy 2017    Getty Images
India, Pakistan played in the final of ICC Champions Trophy 2017 Getty Images

It has been a week since Pakistan welcomed international cricket to their land after 8 years. World XI players received warm reception from the crowd and a few even recommended other countries to play in Pakistan.

India-Pakistan series has been a debatable topic for years. However, Farokh Engineer bats for India-Pakistan bilateral series. Amid the current glut of international cricket, one of the more remarkable facts is that India and Pakistan have not played a Test against each other since the 2007-08 season. One has only witnessed the two teams come together through ICC events, the recent one being in Champions Trophy 2017.

“It’s a delicate situation there, it’s up to the government really,” former India player Farokh Engineer told AFP during an interview at Old Trafford. “They are saying we are having border clashes with Pakistan all the time and it just wouldn’t make sense playing cricket until relations are restored. I am all for relations being restored because basically we are the same people, it’s the British government in 1947 who created the partition, but who am I to judge that? I like to leave that to the politicians.

India and Pakistan went to war on September 1, 1965 over the still disputed territory of Kashmir, with both sides claiming victory when a ceasefire was signed later that month. Hostilities continued to flare up and Engineer said: “All the years I played India-Pakistan were at war and never actually played a Test series. There were no Indian players involved in the recent World XI T20I in Pakistan, designed to revive top level cricket in the country after a armed attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009 turned the country into a ‘no go area’ for leading cricket nations.

Engineer played alongside Pakistan stars such as Zaheer Abbas and Intikhab Alam during Rest of the World series against England and Australia in 1970 and 1971-72 respectively caused by the cancellation of South Africa tours. As a result, Engineer had the best view in the house as the ‘other batsman’ for a portion of West Indies star all-rounder Garfield Sobers’ blazing 254 for the World XI at Melbourne, an innings Australia’s Don Bradman, arguably cricket’s greatest batsmen, labelled the best he’d seen on Australian soil.

“Sobers was brilliant, he absolutely smashed Dennis Lillee to smithereens,” recalled Engineer. “All I could keep on saying was ‘great shot Sobey’ while I was at the other end enjoying it all.”

(Inputs from AFP)