A fund-raising suggestion to help COVID-19 victims by Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar drew a sharp response from former India captain and all-rounder Kapil Dev, who ridiculed the idea of a match between the two countries to raise funds.

Akhtar had expressed his view that India and Pakistan play an in-camera three-match series and the money collected from the contests be divided equally between the two nations.

“Outlandish,” Kapil told Sportstar . “In these times you must be out of your mind to even think of playing any sport, leave aside cricket. Is it feasible? It is so far-fetched an idea to expect cricketers to play even as the world is engaged in a battle to defeat the deadly Coronavirus.”

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As Kapil pointed out, “These are difficult times. India doesn’t need funds from someone in its fight against this virus. It is not a matter of money at all. What counts is that we need to understand the gravity of the situation and stay inside the house. Repeatedly the government has been asking us all to maintain social distancing. To suggest playing a match in such a scenario really makes no sense to me.”


In this picture taken on April 8, a worker sprays sanitiser on the hands of man queued up to buy groceries from a government-subsidised shop in Karachi. According to WHO, there have been 4,183 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pakistan so far. - AFP

Rated one of the greatest cricketers the game has known, Kapil emphasised, “Cricket is not on anyone’s mind. In any case, when you play a match, there will be so many people involved. That is not the time for such an event. The government has been pleading on with the citizens not to venture out and this cricketer comes up with this ridiculous idea.”

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He concluded with an appeal for people to “follow the instructions of the government. Respect the front-line warriors who are risking their lives to protect humanity. We should not add to their work and just stay at home. All I would like to say is please respect the health workers, police, all the delivery boys who bring stuff to your doorsteps. This is more important and not when we will get to play.”