Ramiz Raja calls on the ICC to be « proactive » in helping to end the Pakistan-India cricket dispute.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja has called on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to be « outspoken » and « proactive » in resolving the long-running dispute between India and Pakistan over the cricket.
In an exclusive interview with The NationalRaja said the ICC had been « compromised » by India’s growing wealth and influence in the game, which prevented him from having the necessary conversations that could result in both teams nationals play in the country of the other.
« They are cautious and not very open because India produces all the wealth of the ICC, and so their position, unfortunately, is compromised as a result, » said the former Pakistan batsman.
« I don’t think that’s going to change unless we have resolve and commitment in every cricket council and our cricket fraternity works to make that happen. »
The move comes after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said it would not travel to Pakistan for the Asian Cup, requesting that it be played at a neutral venue. Raja and the PCB have since said they may boycott the World Cup in India. Both ODI competitions are due to take place next year.
In recent years, Pakistan and India have played many games away from their respective countries, including the memorable T20 World Cup game in Melbourne in October, which India won on the last ball.
“Of course we have to play against each other,” Raja said. “Who wouldn’t want to see India versus Pakistan? There should be no excuse for Pakistan not playing India or India not playing Pakistan. »
Raja was talking with The National Pakistan hosted England in Multan for the second Test of a three-game series. It is the first time the two teams have faced each other in this format in Pakistan since 2005.
International cricket only made a strong comeback in Pakistan recently after the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore.
The second Test against England was played with increased security, with thousands of police deployed in and around the city and traveling England fans are only allowed to move between venues with a police escort.
It also made access to the pitch difficult for home supporters, which had an impact on attendance.
Pakistan – India at the 2022 T20 World Cup
« I think we’re still two or three years away from letting our guard down, » Raja said. « I’m very comfortable with the fact that at least the cricket is happening in Pakistan. »
Since the introduction of the Indian Premier League (IPL), from which Pakistani players have been banned since 2009, Indian cricket has grown exponentially in terms of popularity and wealth.
Even though the Pakistani national team have performed well at elite level – finishing fifth in the ODI World Cup in 2019 and runners-up in the T20 World Cup in Australia this year – Raja believes Pakistani cricket has suffered .
« It’s a miracle really, how we stayed afloat and relevant, » he said. “And I mentioned somewhere before that it was like living in an apartheid cricket system.
“It has a horrible effect; your confidence [as a player]The industry and the fans want to see their favorite cricketers up close.
“We are the only team in world cricket in the last 10 years that hasn’t played a series against India and yet you see we have become an affluent cricket economy. So this is another proud moment for us. »
Despite the international hiatus, Raja said Pakistani cricket has continued to develop and grow, with better pathways into elite cricket for young players. He also recently announced the establishment of the Pakistan Women’s T20 League (PWTL) in October, with the inaugural edition set to run alongside the Pakistan Men’s Super League (PSL) next year.
« There’s a lot of traction, a lot of excitement, » he said. « Women’s cricket will skyrocket in Pakistan in the next five years. »
Although the Pakistani team were unable to play in Pakistan, they played their home matches in the United Arab Emirates, and Raja is grateful to the Emirates for stepping in to provide a ‘home away from home’.
« They’ve been very kind to host us for so many years, » he said. « So we have a lot of respect for that and for all cricket in the stadiums we’ve used. »
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