Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ramiz Raja’s stint has been very impressive as in six months’ time since his appointment, Pakistan beat India for the first time in T20 World Cup, PSL 2022 was conducted successfully and Australia visited for a series for the first time since 1998.
This week, Raja attempts his most ambitious pitch at the ICC board meeting – an annual four-nation T20 tournament involving Pakistan, India, Australia, and England.
However, the success of his pitch is dependent on whether India agrees to participate on not in this ambitious plan Raja, given that reports have indicated that BCCI is not keen to support the PCB proposal.
This is due to tensions between the two sides which have kept India and Pakistan from playing bilateral series since 2012-13. Things were looking up in these terms until the 2019 Pulwama attack, which led to the relations between the two nations souring further.
However, Ramiz, in an interview with Indian Express’ Sandeep Dwivedi, seemed optimistic of India coming through and participating as he feels that politics and sports should be separate and one shouldn’t be affected by the other.
“Whenever I talk about India and Pakistan, it’s not always as the chairman of a Cricket Board. But it’s the cricketer that comes out. And as a cricketer, I’ll say that politics can be set aside because why should the fans not enjoy India-Pakistan games. The numbers and the figures are there for everyone to see why it is still the best competition in the world. And the idea of a Four-Nation series (PCB is to purpose an annual T20 series involving India, Pakistan, England, and Australia at ICC this week) stems from that very fact. And somehow, we’ve got to make it happen. And if not now, when? Because there are three ex-cricketers representing the Board. (Sourav Ganguly – India, Raja – Pakistan, and Martin Snedden – New Zealand),” he said.
“I’m not taking this forward as a PCB chairman, I’m taking this concept forward as an ICC Board member. It’s not Us versus Them, it’s Us versus Us. The last great concept was the T20 World Cup, which was held in 2007. So nothing new has come since that 2007 event, and here’s an opportunity. This thing happens in rugby, so we have a precedent. I’m just hoping that we look at this concept as a cricketing concept and not as a political concept,” he added.
When told that BCCI is bound by the decisions taken by the government when it comes to India and Pakistan cricketing ties, Ramiz said that he expects BCCI to take up this concept with their bosses and convince them.
He said: “I expect the BCCI to take this concept back to the political alley and talk cricket with the bosses. As simple as that. Let’s not forget that the same kind of pressure is on me also. Not that the situation is terribly or terrifically different. I’m taking this liberty to promote a concept on my own without any government interference just for the sake of the game. The point is, I’m taking this forward in any case because I, as a cricketer, believe that this should happen.”
He further mentioned that he was misquoted on his statements on bringing in an auction for Pakistan Super League (PSL) like in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and then seeing how foreign players avoid playing in PSL and choose IPL.
He said: “I was misquoted from the start regarding IPL – about let’s see whether people go to play IPL or not. Point is we want to be competitive, and we want to churn out a product that is as huge as IPL. I know for a fact that we’ll have to work extremely hard to get it to the auction module, but there is no harm in trying. I’m trying my level best to get this thing off to an auction model come next year but it’s got nothing to do with competing with IPL.”
(Indian Express inputs)