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PCB doesn't want overkill of matches

Wary of an "overkill" of matches, Pak now wants to restrict itself to playing bi-annual Test series with India, alternately in each country.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, Rawalpindi
UPDATED ON APR 15, 2004 08:41 PM IST

Wary of an "overkill" of cricket matches, Pakistan now wants to restrict itself to playing bi-annual Test series with India, alternately in each other's country.

Pakistan Cricket Board's Chief Executive Rameez Raja said PCB, as a matter of policy, had now decided to avoid an "overkill" of matches with India.

"Instead we are going to play a full series every two years in either country," he was quoted as saying in The News.

PCB, which had said it was eager to tour India sometime early next year, agreed for the bi-annual series after BCCI expressed its inability to host a return series for Pakistan this year.

"We have been told the series will not be held early next year as anticipated but later in 2005. We are discussing this with the Indian Board officials."

But Raja confirmed Pakistan would be playing in the triangular one-day series in Amstelveen, Holland, this August with India and Australia.

Raja also denied that he was planning to quit after the home series against India. "No, I have no such plans in mind. Nor do I see any signs of any changes taking place in the Board after this series," Raja said.

Rumours have been rife here that some heads would roll in the PCB and Raja has particularly been at the receiving end of criticism that he wanted to have the best of both worlds by being the CEO of PCB as well as a TV commentator.

But Raja said he was enjoying the challenge. "The Patron (President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf) has full confidence in me and the working of the Board. This series has been a big challenge for us and it has progressed smoothly.

"As far as my position is concerned I have made very clear to the Chairman that if asked to choose between a career as commentator and CEO, I would prefer the former as it is my bread and butter. But the Chairman and Patron have both given me an open chit to function in the way I am doing and they know the position well."

He also said he had no ambitions of trying to become the Chairman of the Board. "I am satisfied with the position and respect I have. This historical series was a big thing for me and I wanted to be involved with it directly. The day I stop enjoying this job I will step down."

Raja said as far as the Board was concerned, the series against India had been a success, going by the positive response Pakistan had got in the international press and the way the national media had hailed the spirit in which the series had been played.

"I think this series has done a lot for uplifting the image of Pakistan internationally and in improving our relations with India. Obviously we are not satisfied with the results on the field but the cricket has been intense and quality stuff and one team has to lose in such a close series," Raja said.

He pointed out the biggest positive was the spirit in which the people had accepted the results.

"I think discussions by former players and others on television and in the print media has also helped shape the opinion of the people on the way they view cricket matches between Pakistan and India.

"There was a time when a match against India was taken as a matter of life and death. There was a time when players were hounded after a defeat to India. But that has changed for the better in this series. It shows the growing maturity in the way people view our cricket relations with India."

Raja also ruled out any witch hunting being carried out in the team after the series. "I don't see that happening but yes, we will sit own and review a lot of things like appointing a bowling coach and full time fitnes trainer."

The CEO revealed that the Board had earned more than it anticipated from the India series ($22 million) which was twice the amount it had in reserves and the money would spent on developing the game in the country.

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