Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja has stressed the need to revive Pakistan-India cricketing ties, saying the two boards should “create a cricketing bond” while politics must be kept away from the sport.
Raja, who was speaking to PCB Digital on Monday after his return from Dubai where he met the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials, said: “I met with BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah on the sidelines of the ACC (Asian Cricket Council) meetings. We need to create a cricketing bond, while I also believe that politics should stay away from the sport as much as possible and this has always been our stance.”
The PCB chief added that “a lot of work needs to be done to revitalise Pakistan-India cricket but there needs to be some comfort level between the two boards and then we can see how far we can go.”
“So overall, we had a good discussion,” he said.
Raja’s remarks come ahead of a Pakistan-India fixture in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup as fans across the world gear up for what is set to be a high-octane game on Oct 24.
Pakistan versus India matches are hotly anticipated by cricket fans on both sides of the border as well as around the world. Given the two countries’ frosty relations, the two teams have only been playing each other in major world tournaments.
‘Collective stance through ACC’
Raja said the ACC had been established to “create a unified approach and collective stance so that we had one voice and if there was a situation, all stood together”.
Referring to the recent withdrawal of New Zealand and England from Pakistan tour, he said he wanted “strong” relations with other boards and the ACC, so that “if there is an issue, like we had with the withdrawal of a couple of sides, a strong and joint statement could come out from the ACC platform”.
“My message at the ACC was that we should not forget this philosophy and I am optimistic there will be better outcomes in future.”
Speaking about Aisa Cup 2023, Raja announced that the tournament, a 50-over competition, would be held in Pakistan in September.
“The ACC has agreed and approved that the 2023 event in Pakistan will be a 50-over competition and held in September. This aligns very nicely with the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, which will be held in October and November,” the PCB Digital quoted him as saying.
He added, “we are looking forward to hosting this tournament in Pakistan and I am confident it will be a well-organised event because this is what the fans want.”
Raja further said the ACC has also confirmed that the next year’s Asia Cup would be a 20-over competition and held in Sri Lanka.
“[It] will be a prelude to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 to be held in Australia from 16 October to 13 November,” he said.