A fair amount of controversy that followed soon after Miandad was granted visa by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad led the batsman to put his foot down. “I can confirm that I was issued the visa, but I cancelled my trip because this controversy would have diverted the focus of our boys. We have been playing so well and have already won the series, so I didn’t want the entire focus to be shifted to me,” Miandad told SUNDAY MiD DAY from Karachi.
According to the 55-year-old former skipper, getting an Indian visa was never an issue for him. “I was granted a visa for the World Cup semi-final in Mohali. This time too, I had the visa to visit Ajmer Sharif and that was one of the reasons why I was inclined to travel to India,” Miandad said. However, Miandad is unperturbed by the whole visa episode. Moreover, he is planning a trip to India soon, but not for cricket.
“I have made up my mind to visit Ajmer Sharif (in Rajasthan) and I will do that shortly,” he said. The issue of being related to under-world don Dawood Ibrahim is something that has taken the batsman by surprise. “I don’t understand what the fuss is all about. Dawood Ibrahim has many relatives who stay in India permanently. Also it’s not my fault that my son married his daughter. The Indian government granted me a visa during the World Cup in 2011, so why not this time?” he asked. Miandad’s son Junaid is married to Ibrahim’s daughter Mahrukh.
Cricket comes first
Miandad, however, had a piece of advice for politicos from both the countries. “Cricket should not be mixed with politics and that’s why cricketers should not be allowed or barred depending on their nationality. As a cricketer, I met Bal Thackeray during my playing days despite knowing his anti-Pakistan stance,”
The former Pakistan coach didn’t want to blow this issue out of proportion at a time when Pakistan cricket is on the right track. “Let’s not put this issue ahead of Pakistan’s performance. “I have been in charge of Pakistan cricket for some time and my hands are full. I don’t have time for anything else apart from thinking of the betterment of Pakistan cricket,” he said.
The resumption of Indo-Pak cricket has delighted Miandad. “It’s good for the game and also for both countries. From a commercial angle, India-Pakistan cricket attracts huge money and support which is necessary for the game to grow,” he signed off.