Former Pakistan cricketer turned administrator Ramiz Raja has held the post of the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for a hot second and he is already trying to lecture Indian fans on how to enjoy cricket. Reportedly, in an interview with Indian Express, Ramiz remarked that politics should be set aside as Indian fans want to enjoy the India-Pakistan cricket contest. Ramiz also stated that he “expected the BCCI to take this concept back to the political alley and talk cricket with the bosses”.
“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.” Ramiz said.
Speaking of the four-nation tournament, Ramiz further added, “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 three ex-cricketers are representing the Board. (Sourav Ganguly – India, Raja – Pakistan and Martin Snedden – New Zealand).”
PCB wants to resurrect its dead finances
While it may appear that Ramiz is trying to promote cricket, the truth cannot be far from it. In September last year, Ramiz during a Senate Standing Committee meeting remarked that if Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) wanted, the PCB could collapse anytime.
He had stated, “PCB is funded 50% by the ICC (International Cricket Council) that is funded 90% by the BCCI or in a way, the Indian business houses are running Pakistan cricket. If tomorrow Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi feels that we won’t provide any funding to Pakistan, then this cricket board can collapse.”
PCB chairman Ramiz Raja told Pakistan’s Senate Standing Committee that Indian business houses in a way run Pakistan cricket and Indian PM Modi has power to ensure collapse of PCB#PakistanCricket #RamizRaja pic.twitter.com/fbpUk2g5Fx
— Zee News English (@ZeeNewsEnglish) October 8, 2021
Sounding scared after seeing the accounting books of PCB, Ramiz further remarked, “Our cricket is relying on ICC’s funding right now and when I see the books, I get very scared because the contribution of local entrepreneurs is minimal.”
PCB has been trying to get cricket back to Pakistan
Ever since Ramiz took the reins of the PCB, he has had to face a torrid time. First, the New Zealand Cricket team cancelled the limited-overs tour midway, packing its bags and leaving the country overnight citing security threats. Then, the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) cancelled their four-day tour to Pakistan citing Covid as a reason.
Holding the PSL and hosting Australia has been the only recent mini-victories for Pakistan. However, even that is not enough to sustain the finances.
Pleading India to play a bilateral tour
PCB time and again has wanted to play a bilateral series with India to infuse cash liquidity in the market. However, the last time the two nations played a bilateral series with each other was way back in the year 2012-13. Since then, the two teams have only locked horns in ICC tournaments and Asia Cup as the BCCI and the Indian government continue to put national interests above sport.
The entire cricketing world understands that money flows whenever India is involved. Thus, through his passive aggression, Ramiz is attempting to sway the stakeholders. However, unless Pakistan stops exporting terrorism to India, no cricket will be possible. The Modi government is adamant about its demand and the Indian fans are more than happy to share the same sentiment.