I urge our fans to stand behind the Pakistan team: Ramiz Raja

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18 Sep 2021 | 04:55 PM
authorcricket.com staff

I urge our fans to stand behind the Pakistan team: Ramiz Raja

The PCB chairman wants his team to use all the anger and frustrations on the field

The newly-elected PCB chairman Ramiz Raja has urged fans "to stand behind the Pakistan team" after New Zealand abandoned their tour, citing a security threat, a couple of hours prior to the first ODI in Rawalpindi on Friday (September 18).

The decision has left cricket-crazy Pakistan reeling, with the nation still recovering from the 2009 militant attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore that wounded six players.  Already struggling to convince foreign teams to tour, Pakistan were forced to play home matches at neutral venues -- primarily in the UAE -- following the assault. 

The decision left a generation of cricket fans growing up having never attended a live game. Prime Minister Imran Khan, a former international cricketing hero, and the Pakistan Cricket Board will now have to work overtime to avoid another period of exile.

"Our pain is shared. Whatever happened isn't good for Pakistan cricket. But one point that needs to be emphasised is that we have gone through such experiences in the past and we always move forward," Raja told the followers of Pakistan cricket through a video.

"So I urge our fans to stand behind the Pakistan team and be its strength at the (T20) World Cup. To my team, I would like to say take out your frustrations on the field because that is the only remedy. When you become the world's best team then everyone is queuing up in line to play series in your country. So I want everyone to take this as a lesson and move on and not be disappointed."

Pakistan's first task will be to convince England, who decide Sunday whether to send their men's and women's teams for a scheduled tour to Pakistan next month. Those tours are to be followed by a series against the West Indies in December and Australia's first visit since 1998 in February next year. On top of that, the T20 World Cup is hardly a month away and Raza wants his team to use all the anger and frustrations on the field.

"We will come out of this situation where our (ability to host) international cricket is under pressure again but even if we don't we still have that strong gut. We have the confidence and strength to work on our domestic cricket and still produce a world-class team.

"I understand there is a lot of pressure on the Pakistan team. But that's okay. We will face it. And we will bring you good news. Good performances. We are rallying the fans to get behind us. Now is the time to work hard and emerge as the world's best team so that we can get out of this challenge easily. I am with you and hope you are also with me, and as a unit we will take Pakistan cricket forward."

(With inputs from AFP)

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