Ramiz Raja hits out at cricket's 'western bloc' after England pullout

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safari
21 Sep 2021 | 07:38 AM
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Ramiz Raja hits out at cricket's 'western bloc' after England pullout

England became the second team after New Zealand to abandon their tour of Pakistan

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja has hit out at the 'western bloc' for continuously refusing to play in Pakistan after England became the second team in a week after New Zealand to call off their tour. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Pakistan had toured New Zealand and England twice, but England decided not to send their players to Pakistan due to bubble fatigue.

"I am severely disappointed in England's withdrawal but it was expected because this western bloc gets united unfortunately and tries to back each other," Ramiz said. 

"So you can take any decision on the basis of security threat and perception. There was a sense of anger because first New Zealand got away without sharing information about the threat they were facing."

"Now, this [England] was expected but this is a lesson for us because we go out of our way to accommodate and pamper these sides when they visit. And when we go there, we undergo strict quarantines and we tolerate their admonishments, but there is a lesson in this. That is, that from now on we will only go as far as is in our interest."

"Our interest is that cricket will not stop in our country and if the cricket fraternity will 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 who is already reconsidering. This - England, Australia, New Zealand - is all one block. Who can we complain to? We thought they were our own but they haven't accepted us as theirs."

Amid countries pulling out, which would certainly have financial ramifications, Raja says that is important to strengthen from within to ensure that the teams would not even think of pulling out. "We have to improve and expand our cricket economy so that these countries remain interested in playing us," he said. "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 together toward Pakistan," the PCB chairman said.

The only competitive cricket the Pakistan players will play before the T20 World Cup in the UAE is the National T20 Cup, starting September 23. In the build-up to the mega event, Pakistan would have played just one completed T20I, which was in the West Indies, as the other matches of the series were washed out.

"We go in the World Cup now and where we had one team in our target - our neighbours [India], they now add two more teams - New Zealand and England. So pick up the strength and develop a mindset that we are not going to lose because you didn't do right by us with us and we will avenge that in the ground," Raja said.

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