The national team’s bowling coach and former fast bowling legend, Waqar Younis, has called on Shahid Afridi and Gautam Gambhir to end their social media war, and for India and Pakistan to resume playing cricket.
After being fierce on-field rivals, Pakistan’s Afridi and former Indian opener Gambhir have become involved in heated social media exchanges over the troubled Kashmir region.
Gambhir is now a lawmaker in the Indian parliament, while Afridi runs his own charity foundation and is a vocal activist.
Waqar advised the pair to “calm down” in an online chat show.
“The banter between Gautam Gambhir and Shahid Afridi has been going on for a while now. I think they both got to be smart, sensible, and calm down,” said Waqar.
“It has been going on for way too long. My advice to them is to maybe catch up somewhere around the world and talk it out if you cannot really calm it down.”
India and Pakistan have not played a series since 2012-2013 and have hit a new peak in tensions over Kashmir, which they have fought over since independence in 1947.
Kashmir is an internationally-recognised disputed territory, claimed in full by both India and Pakistan. Each country at present controls parts of the scenic Himalayan region, which has been divided between them by a UN-mandated line of control (LoC).
Waqar, 48, said that a cricket series would boost relations between the arch-rival neighbours.
“I think that it would be the biggest hit of the world,” said Waqar.
“I think Pakistan and India should play, and should play on a regular basis to avoid depriving cricket lovers.”