Kapil calls for revival of Indo-Pak duels

SHARJAH - Legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev said he would love to see a revival of India-Pakistan duels at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in particular and UAE in general to quench the thirst of passionate followers of the game based in the Middle East.

“I’d like to see that cricket should come back to this part of the world. I spent my beautiful time here, playing cricket in Sharjah, as well as Dubai or Abu Dhabi,” said Dev, who was guest of honour at the 12th Shyam Bhatia annual cricket awards in Dubai.

Sharjah holds the record for staging the most number of one-day internationals and was a popular venue between 1984 and 2003 with tri-series tournaments being held regularly.

But hit by unfounded allegations of match-fixing and India’s refusal to play in the desert venue, cricket came to a standstill in Sharjah which staged its 200th one-day international match last year. However, UAE is the only non-Test playing nation to hold Test matches with Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi and Dubai Sports City being the latest venues. “We lost most of the matches in that time and Pakistan won. That’s true and one shouldn’t forget that they were the better team,” recalled the former Indian skipper.

“But, today, I want to say in the same breath that India played far better than anybody and they deserved to win the World Cup,” said Dev. However, he magnanimously gave credit to both Sri Lanka and Pakistan for making it to the four of the World Cup. “I will not take any credit though away from Sri Lanka, with the way they’ve come along in the last 20 to 25 years and they’ve kept continuously playing their cricket so well. Hats off to Sri Lanka,” said Dev.