Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has proposed a three-match ODI series between arch-rivals India and Pakistan to raise funds for the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

The India–Pakistan cricket rivalry is one of the most intense sports rivalries in the world. Notably, the two nations have not played a bilateral cricket series since 2007 due to strained diplomatic relationships between the two neighbouring countries. Both teams only meet each other in ICC events. “In this time of crisis, I want to propose a three-match series in which for the first time, the people of neither country would be upset at the outcome of the games,” Akhtar told PTI from Islamabad. “If Virat (Kohli) scores a hundred, we will be happy, if Babar Azam scores a hundred, you will be happy. Both teams will be winners irrespective of whatever happens on the field. You are bound to get massive viewership for the games. For the first time, both countries will play for each other. And whatever funds are generated through this can be donated equally to the government of India and Pakistan to fight this pandemic,” added the 44-year-old. With both countries in lockdown amid the fast-spreading pandemic, the games can only be organised when things improve. However, Akhtar feels the sooner they are held, the better it would be but could not tell how the logistics of such an initiative would be worked out.

India cricketers Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh were recently trolled for asking their social media followers to donate to Shahid Afridi’s charity foundation which is doing its bit in Pakistan’s fight against the deadly virus. In a video shared on social media by Mohammad Kaif, the Indian cricketer’s son can be seen explaining why hitting Akhtar may not be difficult. Mohammad Kaif and his son can be seen watching the highlights of India vs Pakistan classic from the 2003 World Cup which was aired on Star Sports on Tuesday. Akhtar has come up with hilarious response.  Reacting to the video post, Akhtar on Wednesday jokingly challenged Kaif to a cricket match between Kabir and his own son Mikael Ali Akhtar. “Toh phir @Mohammad Kaif match ho jaaye Kabir aur Mikael Ali Akhtar ka? He’ll get his answers about Pace. Haha Give him my love”: tweeted Akhtar in response to Kaif’s video.