The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raza on Saturday said that New Zealand’s abrupt withdrawal from its tour on security grounds had put an unwanted question mark over Pakistan’s ability to host international matches.
New Zealand abandoned the tour on the day of the opening fixture on Friday citing a government security alert, while England are also reconsidering their men’s and women’s team visits to Pakistan next month.
The tour was due to start with the first of three one-dayers in Rawalpindi, but New Zealand did not travel to the stadium.
Raza, who took over the PCB chairman role on Monday, urged his players to channelise their anger and frustration by performing well in the upcoming T20 World Cup to be held in Oman and UAE.
PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja has a message for Pakistan cricket fans pic.twitter.com/cwEfcQXxus
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) September 18, 2021
In a video message released by the PCB, Raja said he was as disappointed as every Pakistani on the cancellation of New Zealand’s tour.
“Release your frustration and anger by channeling it towards your performance. Take out your frustration in the coming World Cup by performing well,” said the new PCB chief.
“Once you become a world-class team, people will start lining up to play. Everyone will want to play against you. So I want us to learn from this, move forward and keep strong. There is no need to be disappointed,” he said.
A 33-member Black Caps squad was due to fly back home later Saturday after New Zealand abandoned its tour to Pakistan minutes before the start of the first one-day international at Rawalpindi on Friday.
“There’s a lot of pressure created on Pakistan cricket and (especially) Pakistan cricket at home,” said Ramiz Raja.
“The fight to survive is the base on which we challenge the whole world. If such a situation is developed (again) when international cricket comes under pressure in Pakistan, we will challenge them once again.”
Raja, a renowned cricket commentator and is known in the cricketing fraternity as the ‘Voice of Pakistan.’ He appealed for Pakistan’s fans to help the team come out of this crisis.
“Your pain and my pain are the same, it’s a shared pain,” he said. “Whatever happened is not good for Pakistan cricket … The point is that we have experienced this before but we have to move forward.”
Pakistan will open their T20 World Cup campaign against arch-rivals India on October 26. They will face New Zealand on October 26.