India playing Pakistan would give Test cricket a massive boost, says Atherton

Former England captain Michael Atherton believes the chances of India and Pakistan contesting in a bilateral cricket series are minimal at the moment, which according to him is a “great shame”.

While the two countries have faced each other numerous times in multi-nation tournaments organised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) or the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), India and Pakistan have not faced each other in a bilateral series since Pakistan’s 2012/13 tour of India for two T20Is and three ODIs.

The last time the two sides played a Test series against each other was when Pakistan toured India for a three-match series in 2007/08.

“I think the chances of India and Pakistan playing each other outside of ICC tournaments, even at a neutral venue, are minimal at the moment,” said Atherton, who visited Pakistan earlier this year to film the Sky Sports Cricket documentary Out of Exile.

“They seem as far apart as ever from playing each other which is a great shame because it would be the one thing that would give Test cricket a massive boost,” he added.

The two Asian giants last faced each other in the 2019 World Cup at the Old Trafford in Manchester when Virat Kohli’s men thrashed Pakistan in the round-robin game.

“Pakistan vs India games are unbelievable affairs as we saw at Emirates Old Trafford in the World Cup last year,” said Atherton.

“I think there were around 600,000 applications for tickets for a ground that holds 25,000,” he added.