Miandad confident Imran as PM will mend ties with India

Javed Miandad says that Pakistan has always been ready to play India, anywhere in the world.

Imran Khan and Javed Miandad were integral to Pakistan winning the 1992 World Cup.   -  AP

It took two individuals from very different backgrounds to tango in a cricketing marriage of convenience for Pakistan cricket to achieve some great highs. Today, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad are a part of cricket lore.    

Despite their much talked about bittersweet relationship off the field, Imran and Miandad’s on-field partnership helped Pakistan cricket flourish. The two were instrumental in guiding the side to the World Cup win in 1992.

Miandad believes his former captain's rise to the prime minister's seat — Imran is scheduled to take oath as PM on August 11 — holds much promise for improving ties with India.

“Imran has already spoken about improving India-Pakistan relationship. Hopefully, everything will fall in place,” Miandad told Sportstar on Thursday.

Imran Khan: The captain of captains to Prime Minister

The former cricketer also admits that being neighbours, it is important for India and Pakistan to mend their ties. “When it comes to cricket, Pakistan has always wanted to play India. The Pakistan Cricket Board has always taken the initiative in playing a match or series against India. Last time (in 2012), we even played there, so one can’t blame Pakistan for not extending support,” says Miandad.

The former national coach also points out that even though politics has affected the chances of a bilateral series, the fans of both the countries have always made sure that the love is not lost. “All the people want both the teams to play. With Imran coming in, I am sure, sports will improve. Be it cricket or other sport, there are issues with visa, but that should not happen. It is important to not mix politics and sports.”

Ever since Imran won the elections, there have been murmurs that the PCB could undergo an overhaul. But Miandad believes it is too early to make any predictions. “He has just been elected. Nobody knows how things will be.”

In his first speech after winning the polls, Imran made it clear that improving ties with India will be on the top of his list. Miandad is confident Imran will not leave any stone unturned to change the equation with India. “Remember the World T20, Imran was there in Kolkata for the India-Pakistan match (2016). The ground was packed. So, even he knows that people are always willing to back sport, and the top-level needs to understand that,” he says.

Imran Khan delivers his address after winning the Pakistan general elections.   -  AP

 

Miandad, however, admits that the last few months have been an emotional roller coaster for him as well. “Even after quitting sport, we have been in touch. So, it has been a wonderful thing to see him come all the way,” he says.

“Nobody should have a question about Imran’s intentions. With him coming in, people are hoping for a better tomorrow in terms of India-Pakistan cricketing relations. But we have never said no. We have always been ready to play India, anywhere in the world,” he says. “Let’s not forget, sport can improve relations. In cricket, winning and losing are part of the game. Dono khel rahein hai, ek jeetega aur ek harega (two are playing, one will win and the other will lose).”