Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairperson Ramiz Raja raised several eyebrows with his sensational remarks about Pakistan’s participation at the 2023 edition of the ICC World Cup which will be hosted by former champions India. The former Pakistan cricketer issued an explosive statement after Asian Cricket Council (ACC) president Jay Shah recently stated that Rohit Sharma-led Team India will not travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup 2023.
After India’s apex cricket board expressed their reservations about touring Pakistan for international matches, PCB chief Raja made a tall claim which sparked a massive debate in the cricket spectrum. Raja claimed that viewership of the ICC event is set to take a massive hit if the Babar Azam-led Pakistan side doesn’t take part in the 2023 edition of the 50-over World Cup.
“In the 2021 T20 World Cup, we beat India. We beat India in the T20 Asia Cup. In one year, the Pakistan cricket team defeated a billion-dollar economy team twice,” Raja told Urdu News. Giving a befitting response to the PCB chief, Indian Sports Minister Anurag Thakur reminded Raja that no country can overlook India. “Wait for the right time. India is a major power in the world of sports and no country can overlook India,” Thakur told ANI.
Days after Thakur hit back at PCB chief Raja with the bombshell statement, former Pakistan captain Salman Butt has shared his views about the heated debate. Sharing his views on YouTube, the former Pakistan skipper shared a noteworthy remark while mentioning the two luminaries of the game.
“What can we say? One is the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief and the other is India’s sports minister. It is not going to happen where one will say vanilla ice-cream is good and the other party would agree. If one says vanilla, the other would say chocolate and vice-versa. Some people use this as a podium and stand on it. The political aspect is always there, but the main issue is the betterment of cricket,” Butt said.
“Ramiz Raja is right. Those who follow Pakistan cricket and are admirers of the team, their interest level will be less if Pakistan doesn’t play. If India-Pakistan match doesn’t happen, lot of people who were making profits would end up suffering losses. In true sense, people want to see India-Pakistan cricket. They want India to come to Pakistan and Pakistan to go to India. They want improvement in relationships,” Butt added.
Arch-rivals India and Pakistan only square off against each other in ICC events and continental tournament (Asia Cup) due to political tensions and frosty diplomatic relations. India last faced Pakistan at the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia earlier this year. The Men In Blue are currently in New Zealand for white-ball series against the Black Caps while the Babar-led Pakistan side is set to host England for the first time in 17 years on Tuesday.
“I don’t know what will happen (with regard to 2023 World Cup), but at least talk should be constructive. I think they get bored sitting like that. India should play in Pakistan and Pakistan should play in India. Both nations have the right to refuse the other if one is not coming,” the former Pakistan skipper concluded.