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Rohit Sharma would love to play against Pakistan in Tests

The veteran opener has played 59 Tests so far scoring more than 4,000 runs but none against the arch-rivals.

India captain Rohit Sharma scores a centiry in the first Test match against Australia in Nagpur on Friday, February 10, 2023. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIA captain Rohit Sharma has said that he wouldn’t mind playing Test matches against Pakistan at a neutral venue as it would be a “great contest” against what he feels a “superb bowling line-up” of the arch-rivals.

The two Asian cricketing powerhouses have not played bilateral cricket since 2012-13 when Pakistan went to India for a one-day international series. The last time they played a bilateral Test series was in India in 2007-08. Plummeting political relations between the two countries have taken a toll on their bilateral cricket relations and they play each other only in multilateral tournaments and on neutral venues.

However, Pakistan went to India for the 50-over World Cup last year and played the hosts in a match in Ahmedabad. India, however, refused to go to Pakistan for the Asia Cup preceding the mega tournament and had played their games in Sri Lanka, which was later picked as a co-host.

Read: Days ahead of turning 37, Rohit Sharma says he’s still hungry for a World Cup title

“I totally believe that they are a good team, superb bowling line-up, good contest, if we play overseas. The last Test was played way back in 2007-08,” Rohit said on ‘Club Prairie Fire’, a Youtube show hosted by former Australian keeper-batter Adam Gilchrist and former England skipper Michael Vaughan.

“Yeah, I would love to (play against Pakistan), it would be a great contest between two sides. We play them in ICC trophies, pure cricket I am looking at, great contest, so why not?” he said when asked whether India-Pakistan Tests are possible at a neutral venue such as England or Australia.

Read: Rohit Sharma’s ‘cheerless’ IPL ton in vain as Chennai trump Mumbai

Sharma, who led India in the World Cup match against Pakistan last year, was already an international cricketer the last time the two sides locked horns but his Test debut had come only in 2013. The 36-year-old recently led India to a thumping 4-1 win over England in a home Test series and captained his country to reach the final of the World Test Championship last year where they lost to Australia.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Indian cricket board, has maintained that any decision on bilateral cricket with Pakistan will hinge on approval from the government, which has so far not permitted cricketing engagement with them.

Pakistan, on the other hand, has been aggressively pushing for bilateral engagement with India, even taking it up at International Cricket Council (ICC) forums at every available opportunity.

The next year’s Champions Trophy will be another bone of contention between the two countries as the tournament is set to be held in Pakistan, which has declared that it won’t agree to any change of venue to accommodate India.

The ICC, on its part, has stated that it won’t force any member nation to disregard government advisory. “…ICC Board’s position remains that it doesn’t expect its members to go against any policy/instructions issued by its own government,” an ICC official had stated recently.

(With PTI inputs)

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