“When it comes to India-Pakistan cricket, it is not just sports, but becomes much bigger than that. It is not a simple decision, but a diplomatic and a political decision. So, it is a big decision and I think we should leave it to the government to decide. If the government decides, we will go and play and if they decide against it, we will play some other series,” he said.
Dhoni was invited to be the chief guest at the final of Chinar Cricket Premier League, organised by Srinagar-based Chinar Corps of the Indian Army. The 36-year-old further added that there is economic aspect also attached to series between the two countries. “It is said that sports should be kept away from politics, but when it comes to cricket and involvement of Indian cricket team — be it a bilateral series or any big tournament — it is not just cricket because wherever we go to play, we generate a lot of money and ultimately that money flows into the economy,” he said.
The last bilateral series between the two countries took place in 2012-13 featuring three ODIs and three T20Is in India. While the T20 series was drawn, Pakistan had won the ODI tournament by 2-1.
In 2014, BCCI and PCB had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023. However, after India refused to play Pakistan due to strained relations, the PCB sent a notice of dispute to the Indian Board, claiming losses due to the BCCI’s refusal to tour Pakistan in 2015.
Dhoni, who is likely to be included in the limited overs series squad during the tour in South Africa, extended his support to Indian skipper Virat Kohli on India’s stiff cricketing schedule. “It is absolutely right, because we play so much cricket that we do not get much preparation time when we go overseas to play. But as an international cricketer, this is also a challenge,” he said.
The right-hand batsman added that it takes time for a team to settle to overseas conditions. “It takes some time to get used to, but if you see this team, there are many cricketers who have played overseas and it helps a lot. If they get six to eight or 10 days, it is good, but whatever time they get, I think they will do well,” he said.