‘Pakistan not pleading to host Asia Cup. If India…': Ramiz Raja's fresh threat to BCCI with 'common sense' remark
Blasting the Indian cricket board yet again, Ramiz warned that if Pakistan are snatched off their hosting rights for the Asia Cup next year on account of India not travelling to the country, the Babar Azam-led side might pull out of the tournament entirely.
PCB chairman Ramiz Raja has once again fired shots at BCCI for its secretary Jay Shah's remark on Asia Cup 2023 which is slated to be held in Pakistan. Blasting the Indian cricket board yet again, Ramiz warned that if Pakistan are snatched off their hosting rights for the Asia Cup next year on account of India not travelling to the country, the Babar Azam-led side might pull out of the tournament entirely.
"It's not as if we don't have hosting rights and we're pleading to host it," Ramiz said on the sidelines of the ongoing Pakistan-England Test in Rawalpindi. "We won the rights fair and square. If India doesn't come, they won't come. If the Asia Cup gets taken away from Pakistan, maybe we're the ones that pull out."
In October, Shah, who is also the president of the Asian Cricket Council, had dropped a bombshell shortly after BCCI's annual general meeting saying that the Indian team won't be travelling to Pakistan for the Asia Cup before adding that the tournament will be hosted at a neutral venue. PCB had retaliated with a statement threatening to boycott the ODI World Cup next year which will be played in India next year. Ramiz had reiterated those words in a recent interview as well.
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The last time India travelled to Pakistan was back in 2008, also for the Asia Cup. Pakistan, on the other hand, had travelled to India in 2016 for the T20 World Cup. They haven't had any bilateral series since 2012 but they have met each other in ICC events and Asia Cup.
"We've shown we can host great teams," Ramiz said. "I can understand issues relating to bilateral cricket, but the Asia Cup is a multi-nation tournament, almost as big as the World Cup for the Asian bloc.
"Why give it to us in the first place and then make all those statements about India not travelling to Pakistan? I accept that India won't come because the government won't allow them to come - fine. But to take the Asia Cup away from the host on that basis isn't right."
Responding to a question on BBC's Test Match Special on what it would take to convince the Indian team to travel to Pakistan, Ramz replied saying, "common sense".
"There is no contest if India and Pakistan are not playing. I have mentioned it so many times. I have always been loved in India; I've done so many IPL editions [as a commentator]. I know the fans want to see India against Pakistan. You saw what happened in the World Cup - 90,000 fans turned up [at MCG]. I am just a little disappointed with the ICC. When the point was put to the FIFA president why is the US playing Iran, Iran has so many issues regarding women's rights, he picked up the football and said this can solve a lot of issues. Through sport we can take care of the tribe mentality. I feel let bat and ball talk."