PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja has reiterated that Pakistan may boycott next year’s World Cup in India if the standoff between the two cricketing boards is not resolved, but insists he will wants to see the two nations welcoming each other back.
Pakistan and India have not met outside of a white ball tournament since 2013 due to strained political relations between the two countries, and there is now a dispute between the Pakistan Cricket Board and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Asian Cup 2023 and World Cup 2023.
Pakistan is due to host the Asian Cup next September, but BCCI secretary Jay Shah has said India will not travel to Pakistan and has requested that the tournament be held at a neutral venue. In response, PCB chief Raja said that if India pulls out or is moved, Pakistan will not participate in the 50+ World Cup in India which starts a month later.
« We don’t really want to go there, but it’s just that the fans want us to react, » Raja said. Sky Sports Cricket Saturday. « Fans are absolutely bitter because of India’s narrative regarding India and Pakistan. »
Raja called BCCI’s stance on the Asian Cup « unfair » and that he would « absolutely resist » moving the tournament.
“I think there is a government policy and I don’t know if they will come or not,” he said. “The Asian Cup would mean a lot to the fans, it’s a multi-nation tournament. We will resist.”
Raja, a former Pakistani cricketer, said he hoped to play against India again but only on « equal terms ».
« I’m all for the India-Pakistan contests, I’ve said that publicly, » he said. “I love the fans, and they love us too – Pakistan has become a hallmark of international cricket, players are followed by fans in India, and I know the second most watched team in India after India is Pakistan, so they are interested in our development.
“We want to go and play, but the fact is that it has to be on an equal footing. You cannot be subject to a certain cricket board.
“We survived without India for quite a number of years. Pakistan looked at the scales of the economy internally and somehow survived extremely well.”
Raja also said any series should be in Pakistan or India because « neutral territory wouldn’t really advance the cause. »
Pakistan are currently hosting England in a Test series for the first time in 17 years.