Centre should take final call on bilateral series with Pakistan: Dhoni

Centre should take final call on bilateral series with Pakistan: Dhoni”

"It is said that sports should be kept away from politics, but when it comes to cricket and involvement of Indian cricket team - be it a bilateral series or any big tournament - it is not just cricket because wherever we go to play, we generate a lot of money and ultimately that money flows into the economy", the 36-year old said.

A video circulating on social networking website Facebook shows the crowd raising slogans like "Bhoom Bhoom Afridi", in praise of the former Pakistan cricket superstar, Shahid Afridi.

Dhoni had visited an army school in Srinagar and interacted with aspiring cricketers in the border town of Uri.

Former Indian capital also distributed awards in a post-match ceremony.

"I do believe India and Pakistan should play cricket, because my view of the India and Pakistan relationship is that we unfortunately are not going to go too far with diplomatic contacts through them", Tharoor, who was present as a panel member to discuss about cricket as Indian democracy's alter ego, said at the Times Lit Festival here.

"An India-Pakistan cricket series is much more than just sport". Dhoni holds the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Indian Territorial Army.

India have not played any bilateral series with Pakistan since the limited-overs series featuring two T20Is and three ODIs in India in 2012-13. And naturally, the question arose as to whether India should play cricket matches against Pakistan.

As per the ICC Future Tours Program, each of its member countries are bound to play against each other at least once and if India do not play with Pakistan, they would lose points. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the PCB in 2014, which was a step in the right direction, but India backed out following the Pathankot terror attacks in 2015. Pakistan Cricket Board has sent a notice of dispute to the BCCI claiming losses due to the its refusal to tour Pakistan in 2015.

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