Manchester - India great Farokh Engineer would like to see
"relations restored" in a "delicate" situation with
Pakistan so the arch-rivals can resume bilateral cricket series.
Amid the current glut of international cricket, one of the
more remarkable statistics is that India and Pakistan have not played a Test
against each other since the 2007/08 season.
An irony of the present stand-off is that the International
Cricket Council (ICC), well aware of the huge global sporting and commercial
interest generated by an India-Pakistan fixture, has admitted 'fixing' the draw
to make sure the two nations meet during one of their showpiece events.
They got two for the price of one at this year's Champions
Trophy in Britain, with India hammering Pakistan in the group stage of the
50-over event only for Pakistan to turn the tables in stunning style with a
180-run thrashing of their neighbours in a remarkable final at a sold-out Oval
There is nothing new in a freeze in India-Pakistan cricket
For example none of outstanding wicketkeeper-batsman
Engineer's 46 Tests in a career that ran from 1961-75 were against Pakistan.
"It's a delicate situation there, it's up to the government
really," Engineer told AFP during an interview at Old Trafford - the
Manchester ground he came to call 'home' during his time with county side
"They are saying we are having border clashes with
Pakistan all the time and it just wouldn't make sense playing cricket until
relations are restored.
"I am all for relations being restored because
basically we are the same people - it's the British government in 1947 who
created the partition, but who am I to judge that? I like to leave that to the
India and Pakistan went to war on September 1 1965 over the
still disputed territory of Kashmir, with both sides claiming victory when a
ceasefire was signed later that month.
Hostilities continued to flare up and Engineer said:
"All the years I played India-Pakistan were at war and never actually
played a Test series."
There were no Indian players involved in the recent World XI
Twenty20 internationals in Pakistan, designed to revive top level cricket in
the country after an armed attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009
turned the country into a 'no go area' for leading cricket nations.
Engineer played alongside Pakistan stars such as Zaheer
Abbas and Intikhab Alam during Rest of the World series against England and
Australia in 1970 and 1971/2 respectively caused by the cancellation of South
As a result, Engineer had the best view in the house as the
'other batsman' for a portion of West Indies star all-rounder Garfield Sobers's
blazing 254 for the World XI at Melbourne - an innings Australia's Don
Bradman, arguably cricket's greatest batsmen, labelled the best he'd seen on
"Sobers was brilliant - he absolutely smashed Dennis
Lillee to smithereens," recalled Engineer. "All I could keep on saying
was 'great shot Sobey' while I was at the other end enjoying it all."
But Engineer provided plenty of enjoyment of his own to
spectators and team-mates alike during a globe-trotting career chronicled in
the aptly-titled "Farokh: The Cricketing Cavalier", an authorised
biography written by Colin Evans, a former cricket correspondent of the
Manchester Evening News, and due to be published in November.
"I fell in love with Lancashire, and I'm pleased to say
they fell in love with me," explained Engineer, 79, who went on to settle
in the county long after being a key member of the Red Rose side that dominated
English county one-day cricket in the early 1970s.
Former Lancashire and England batsman David Lloyd, now a
well-known television commentator, was in no doubt of Engineer's value.
"Farokh, absolutely terrific," Lloyd said. "A
wonderful wicket-keeper, lithe and natural. He had great anticipation, fabulous
"As a batsman, totally unpredictable. He could play,
take the short ball on - a real entertainer."