Ramiz Raja lashes out at “Western Bloc” in cricketing world

Sept 21, 2021: Ramiz Raja slammed the ‘Western Bloc’ in cricket after England, New Zealand cancel Pakistan tours, he said Pakistan has learnt its lessons from the withdrawal of New Zealand and England and will pay back in the same coin.

PCB chairman Ramiz Raja on Monday criticized the ‘Western bloc’ when England canceled its visit to Pakistan citing security concerns in the country.

The decision to cancel the tour of England came just days after New Zealand withdrew from the cricket series citing a “security alert” from its government before the start of the first ODI in Rawalpindi on Friday. New Zealand had three ODIs and five T20s to play.

In a video statement, the PCB chairman said, “England’s withdrawal disappointed me a lot. But, it was quite expected as the western bloc gets united in an attempt to back each other, unfortunately. England withdrawal is unjustified, Pak cricket will prevail.”

“You may take any decision on the pretext of security threat/perception. Earlier, New Zealand stepped out without sharing [with the PCB] about the nature of the threat they were facing. We know about our battle-hardened security agencies and their standards. It was a setback that they [Kiwis] just took an aeroplane and left without sharing any details of threat with our agencies.”

He continued saying, “But this is a lesson for us because we go out of our way to accommodate and pamper these sides when they visit. We are the best hosts. And when we go there, our players undergo strict quarantines and tolerate their admonishments. And, this holds out to us a lesson. Now, we will only go as far as our interest takes us.”

An angry Ramiz Raja, said “If the cricket fraternity does not take care of each other then there’s no point to it. New Zealand, then England, now we have a West Indies series that can also be hit, and Australia are already reconsidering options. All of them England, Australia, New Zealand are one single bloc. Who can we complain to?”

He added, “These teams would not have declined to play Pakistan, if we had a big cricket economy or we had a very strong team,” Ramiz Raja said. “So, the lesson is that we need to improve and expand our cricket economy so that these countries remain interested in playing us,”

“That is in our interests as well so that our players are paid better and we are respected more. They come to the PSL where they don’t get spooked or fatigued but collectively they have a different mindset altogether toward Pakistan.”

Stating that England’s decision was not fair, Ramiz Raja said that neither the UK nor Australia had changed its travel advisory. He said he would change his travel advisory first if there was a major risk. “We expected England to help us because it has cultural ties with Pakistan,” he said. “If the cricket community stops us, we will pay you in your own coin,” he warned.

Ramiz Raja also said Pakistan has initiated formal correspondence with New Zealand to offset the losses incurred in canceling the visit. He described the current scenario as a good opportunity for the Pakistani team and fans and urged them to reduce their anger in the right way by supporting Pakistan and called on players to concentrate energies on India, England and New Zealand during the TTwenty world cup.

Ramiz Raja also rejected the “other options” available, saying that steps taken with frustration would not work. “We will play cricket with dignity and invite teams to play with dignity on Pakistani soil,” he said.

He added that Pakistan would emerge as a powerful force, learning from what New Zealand and England had done.

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