Ramiz Raja, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has been vocal about his anger since Jay Shah, the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), stated that India wouldn’t visit Pakistan for the Asia Cup the following year. Raja even made a threat of retaliation, claiming that if the BCCI doesn’t send its players to Pakistan for the Asia Cup, his squad won’t travel there for the ODI World Cup.
Raja claimed that India is not only refusing to visit Pakistan but that there are also discussions about taking away the Asia Cup from the nation when speaking to Michael Atherton during Pakistan’s second Test match against England. “I’ve got no idea whether they will come or not. But, it’s unfair and there was a statement made at the end of a BCCI meeting where they said India may not travel to Pakistan because of a government policy. And, also there’s the likelihood of the Asia Cup being taken away from Pakistan, and put somewhere else which I will absolutely resist. As you know, Asia Cup would mean a great deal to the fans, it’s a multi-nation tournament,” he said on Sky Sports.
When asked if he intended to take revenge by skipping the 50-over World Cup in India, Ramiz responded that he doesn’t want to take that action, but the supporters want the board to respond. “We don’t really want to go there but the fans want us to react. They are absolutely bitter because of what India’s narrative has been regarding India-Pakistan. I am all for India vs Pakistan contest. I’ve said on record that I’ve been there for about 10 IPL editions. I love the fans, they like us as well.
“Pakistan has become a brand in international cricket. The fact that the players have got fan-following in India and on record, I know, they are the second-most watched team in India. They take interest in our development. We want to go there but the fact is it has to be on equal terms, you can’t be subservient to a certain cricket board. We’ve survived without India now for good 10-12 years. It’s a proud moment for Pakistan Cricket Board and the Pakistan cricket team. Whereas other cricket boards look up to India for a tour or so so that they can build up their coffers. Pakistan has looked at the scales of economy in-house and somehow we have survived extremely well,” he added.
When questioned whether it would be possible to play Test cricket against Pakistan on neutral grounds, Ramiz responded that the suggestion doesn’t address the problem. “A neutral territory would not really advance the cause. It has to be either in India or Pakistan,” said the PCB boss.