Kolkata:Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor has suggested that terrorism in Pakistan has been affecting cricket, and hence, any series between India and Pakistan should be organised at a neutral venue - like the USA.
At an event on Saturday, Tharoor said that ever since the attack on the Sri Lankan team in Pakistan, the neighbouring country's cricketing relations with all cricket-playing nations have been strained.
"Because of the terror situation at home, no country is willing to play in Pakistan irrespective of our reasons," Tharoor said, adding, "After the attack on the Sri Lankan team, no sportsman feels sufficiently safe in Pakistan."
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Suggesting USA as neutral venue, Tharoor said, "In the television era it really does not matter where the match is being played, as long as you can watch it on your idiot box at home."
Tharoor, who had his education in the US, said that country has many cricket enthusiasts and hoped an Indo-Pak cricket series could well be appreciated by the people there.
"We have a large patriotic population of both Indians and Pakistanis in the US and a handful of cricket enthusiasts as well. That's a very, very good way to organise cricket in third countries when terror strikes have stopped cricket between the two countries," Tharoor said.
"It will be terrific to see a baseball stadium in the US crowded for a cricket match, though the stadium will be small by cricket standards," he said.
"There is a lot at stake in Indo-Pak rivalry as there is some historical baggage (of Partition)," he said, adding that this made an Indo-Pak series always "exciting".
Tharoor, who has co-authored a book 'Shadows Across the Playing Field' with former Pakistan Cricket Board chief Shaharyar Khan, recalled the resumption of Indo-Pak cricket in 2004 which was termed as a friendship tour. "For the first time so many cricket visas were given. The atmosphere was so good among fans," he said.
(With PTI inputs)