Kept telling Babar Azam that Pakistan should beat India for them to consider us as a superpower: Ramiz Raja

Interacting with fans on his YouTube channel, former PCB chairman Ramiz Raja said he kept telling captain Babar Azam that it’s important for them to beat India in ICC events to make sure the BCCI treated the Pakistan board as a “superpower”. Raja was sacked from the role earlier in December.

Ramiz Raja

Ramiz Raja was sacked as PCB chairman earlier in December (Reuters Photo)

By India Today Web Desk: Former Pakistan batter and Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja said he has always received a lot of love from India and the Indian cricket fans. Raja, speaking on his YouTube channel about him, said he has had to take tough decisions as an administrator. Raja’s comments came when he was asked by a fan about the perception that some of the calls that he took toward the end of his tenure as PCB chairman were against India and the Indian cricket board (BCCI).

Ramiz Raja referred to his statement that Pakistan would consider boycotting the 2023 World Cup in India if the BCCI did not send its team for the Asia Cup in 2024, for which Pakistan have the hosting rights.

Raja’s threats came after BCCI secretary Jay Shah said at the board’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) that the team would not travel to Pakistan for next year’s Asia Cup and that the tournament would be held at a neutral venue. Notably, Shah is also the president of the Asian Cricket Council and Raja argued that the Indian cricket board secretary had made the call without consulting the stakeholders of the ACC.

“I have got great regard for Indian fans, I have absolutely enjoyed my stint over the years in India. There is no doubt in this. Cricket breaks barriers, it helps transcend barriers. As a cricketer, as a commentator, I have gotten a lot of love,” Raja replied to a question from a fan on Monday.

“Problems start when you run the cricket administration, then you have to take strong decisions. Those strong decisions are judged by the Indian perspective, the fans and the cricket board in Pakistan are looking at their own benefits. They are looking at those calls from their own perspective.

“The problem started when we got the Asia Cup hosting rights and then India thought we won’t go to Pakistan and because of that Asia Cup will be held in a neutral country, it can’t be held in Pakistan. As you know, big international teams weren’t coming to Pakistan, and after a long time, Pakistan is getting to host an international tournament. I took my stand based on that,” he added.

‘IMPORTANT TO BEAT INDIA’

Furthermore, Raja said he had always kept telling Pakistan captain Babar Azam that the team needed to beat India to make sure the BCCI respected the PCB as equals and as a cricket superpower in the world.

High-profile international cricket returned to Pakistan only recently. The PCB has been able to host the likes of Australia, England and New Zealand for the first time since the attack on a Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009.

New Zealand pulled out of a tour in 2021 after arriving in Pakistan, citing security reasons following which England refused to tour Pakistan. However, both England and New Zealand returned to play in the Asian country in 2022.

England, in fact, played 7 T20 Is and 3 Tests while New Zealand are part of a 2-Test series. Australia played 3 Tests, as many ODIs and a lone T20I earlier this year.

“Leadership is very important when you are running cricket. We challenged England, we challenged New Zealand when they went back, they returned to play. England played extra matches too also,” Raja said.

“That’s why it’s important to take a stand for us.

“This was not even news to me, because it was a done deal that Pakistan will host the Asia Cup. To withdraw the hosting rights without any meeting, without any conversation, without any committee. No Asia Cup member also knew this.

“When any country tries to boss, then it becomes a problem. Suddenly, we took a stand against India and that situation won’t be painted in India that way. They will obviously say “who are they to challenge us?”

“That’s why I would keep telling Babar Azam it’s important to win against India… If we are not competitive against them (India), they will not regard as us a superpower in cricket. We have to prove it again and again. We have also beaten India twice recently,” he added.

Raja was sacked as PCB chairman earlier in December and was replaced by veteran administrator Najam Sethi.

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