The talismanic Virat Kohli has received a shocking request from Pakistani supporters amid the ongoing dispute between the Indian and Pakistani cricket boards regarding Team India’s attendance at the Asia Cup in 2019.
The participation of the team captained by Rohit Sharma in the 2023 Asia Cup, which will be hosted in Pakistan, has not yet been confirmed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India. In an earlier statement, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah caused a heated debate by stating that India will not visit Pakistan and that the Asia Cup would be held in a neutral location.
Ramiz Raja, the head of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), immediately retaliated against the BCCI, threatening a tit-for-tat response and declaring that Babar Azam and company would not play in the ICC ODI World Cup, which is set to take place in India in October and November of next year if India did not participate in the Asia Cup.
Since then, tensions between the two boards have risen, and even former cricketers from the two countries have started a nasty verbal spat.
In a recent attack on the Indian cricket board, PCB president Ramiz Raja said that cricket between the two countries will strengthen relations, but the BCCI was adamant about not bringing the Men in Blue to Pakistan.
“I’m all for India-Pakistan contests, I’ve said this on record,” Ramiz Raja told Sky Sports. “I absolutely love the fans, and they like us as well – Pakistan has become a brand in international cricket, the players have got a fan following in India, and I know that the second most watched team in India after India is Pakistan, so they take interest in our development.
“We want to go and play, but the fact is it has to be on equal terms. You can’t be subservient to a certain cricket board. We’ve survived without India now for a good number of years. Pakistan have looked at the scales of economy in-house and somehow have survived extremely well,” he added.
Many were even taken aback by Ramiz Raja’s recent remarks, in which he advocated for Pakistan to withdraw from the competition before India. The PCB will effectively communicate with the BCCI in this manner.
“It’s not as if we don’t have hosting rights and we’re pleading to host it. We won the rights fair and square. If India doesn’t come, they won’t come. If the Asia Cup gets taken away from Pakistan, maybe we’re the ones that pull out,” Ramiz Raja said earlier this month.
“We’ve shown we can host great teams,” Ramiz said. “I can understand issues relating to bilateral cricket, but the Asia Cup is a multi-nation tournament, almost as big as the World Cup for the Asian bloc.
Why give it to us in the first place and then make all those statements about India not traveling to Pakistan? I accept that India won’t come because the government won’t allow them to come – fine. But to take the Asia Cup away from the host on that basis isn’t right,” he pointed out.
Despite the fact that the PCB needs funding to operate cricket in their nation and that pulling out of an ICC event would be suicide, the Indian government, notably the Sports Ministry led by Anurag Thakur, has repeatedly criticized Pakistan for making what they have referred to as “false threats.”
Because the BCCI makes significant financial contributions to the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), which oversees the Asia Cup, many former Indian cricketers have dismissed their warning as a bluff. Notably, Jay Shah is the ACC’s current president.
In this case, Pakistani supporters of former India captain Virat Kohli pleaded with him to play in their country’s Asia Cup because he has a sizable fan base there.
During the latest Test between the Green Army and England in Multan, an unexpected request came from the Pakistani fans. One of the banners held up during the game read, “Hi King Kohli, come and play Asia Cup,” while the other read, “We shall love u more than our King Babar.”
Virat Kohli fans in Pakistan – The craze is huge. pic.twitter.com/THW0veDL7L
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) December 12, 2022
Virat Kohli is very well-liked in Pakistan and gets along well with some of their players, including cricketers from the past and present.
When he slammed his 44th hundred in the 50-over format against Bangladesh on Saturday, the 34-year-old batsman from Delhi put an end to his protracted quest for an ODI century.
Virat Kohli’s 44th century, which moved him above Australian great Ricky Ponting’s milestone in international cricket, was his first century in an ODI since August 2019, breaking a wait of more than 1200 days.
Virat Kohli has surpassed Ricky Ponting, who ended his brilliant career with 71 tonnes on the international stage. The famous Sachin Tendulkar is currently at the top of the record with 100 centuries, and the Indian superstar is presently in second place.