“Fans Want Us To React, They Are Bitter”: Ramiz Raja On PCB’s Threat To Pull Out Of ODI World Cup

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja has been publicly expressing his frustration ever since the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah suggested that India would not travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup next year. Raja even threatened to retaliate saying his team would not go to India for the ODI World Cup if the BCCI doesn’t send its players to Pakistan for the Asia Cup.

Speaking to Michael Atherton during Pakistan’s 2nd Test against England, Raja said that India are not only refusing to come to Pakistan but there are talks of the Asia Cup being taken away from the country too.

“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.

On being asked if he intends to retaliate by not going to India for the 50-over World Cup, Ramiz said that he doesn’t want to go that route but the fans want the board to react.

“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 that 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 have looked at the scales of economy in-house and somehow we have survived extremely well,” he added.

On being asked about the prospects of playing Test cricket with Pakistan on neutral venues, Ramiz said that the proposition doesn’t solve the cause.

” A neutral territory would not really advance the cause. It has to be either in India or Pakistan,” said the PCB boss.

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