India's dominant recent record might have something to do with it, but captain Virat Kohli "enjoys" playing Pakistan and would not mind being part of more contests. But, in an indication of how thorny an issue bilateral ties between the two countries are, Kohli made it clear he has no influence or opinion on a resumption of cricketing ties.
Kohli was speaking after one of India's more crushing wins over Pakistan in recent years, in Edgbaston. It continued India's recent dominance over Pakistan as well as their historic hold over them in ICC events. But though the competitiveness of the rivalry is fading, its popularity has not yet dulled. The absence of regular cricket between the countries has added a layer of importance to matches like that played on Sunday: Edgbaston was sold out months in advance.
"This one's done and dusted," Kohli said, when asked if he enjoyed the contest. "We've played the game. It's been completed fully. And as cricketers, those things are not in our hands. We come here to play the sport. And that's all we focus on. It's not my place to speak of any other decisions. The higher officials take care of those decisions. My opinion does not matter and should not matter."
As a player, Kohli said, his job was to enjoy a contest, something he has always done against Pakistan. "But regardless of who you play, you just want to play cricket. At the end of the day, for us, it's just playing the sport we love. It's not preferences over opposition. And that's all I can say to this. You do enjoy playing against them. They're a very competitive side. The atmosphere is great. From that regard, as a cricketer, we really enjoyed this game, that's all I can say."
The two countries have not played a full bilateral series - of Tests and limited-overs games - since Pakistan toured India at the end of 2007. Pakistan did travel to India for a limited-overs series at the end of 2012, but it is a far cry from the early years of this century, when there were four series in just over four years. But as political ties have deteriorated, bilateral cricketing contests have been put on hold. And they are unlikely to start anytime soon.
Last month, the BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary met PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan in Dubai to resume talks. The BCCI was compelled to attend the meeting after the PCB filed a dispute notice claiming the Indian board had not fulfilled an MoU, signed in 2014, for bilateral series in the 2015-23 cycle. A vague media statement was issued by both the boards, which indicated no headway had been made.
The BCCI repeated the same line it has for the past five years: without the Indian government's clearance no bilateral cricket against Pakistan was possible anywhere. Even as Choudhary and Shaharyar were talking in Dubai, the Indian government made it public that no cricket with Pakistan was possible outside of the global tournaments.