Lahore: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja has hinted at “good news” in the coming week, saying the New Zealand cricket board was working on a new schedule to tour Pakistan after it abandoned the series last month citing “security threats”.
Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Inter-Provincial Coordination on Thursday, Raja said the New Zealand cricket board was “now rescheduling the tour” after being pressured by Pakistan.
Asked about the tour cancellation, the PCB chief informed the committee that the Kiwi officials didn’t inform him about the nature of the threats, adding that “it’s not our fault”.
He lamented that no one from the cricket fraternity helped Pakistan at its time of need, while recalling that the national team had toured different countries even during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Raja said the PCB had also written a “strong letter” to the International Cricket Council (ICC) on the matter, while quoting experts as saying that a lot of politics was underway at the ICC.
During the briefing, the PCB chairman stressed the need for fixing the system, adding that the salaries of domestic cricketers had been raised and they will now earn Rs40 million annually.
“No cricketer will have to drive a rickshaw anymore,” he said.
He said he had held “positive meetings” with various investors, adding that they were willing to offer money for the betterment of national cricket.
Raja said work at the schools level would soon begin with an aim to overhaul the cricket structure.
The PCB chairman also said those cricketers who had tarnished the country’s image by being involved in match fixing should not be included in the team, adding that unfortunately, “our society sides with such cricketers”.
The New Zealand cricket team had arrived in Pakistan on September 11 for the first time in 18 years to play three ODIs and five Twenty20 Internationals.
The Kiwis had, however, devastated Pakistan’s cricket fraternity on Sep 17 by opting out of their tour of Pakistan minutes before the first ODI was to be played. They had cited a ‘security threat’ as the reason without divulging any further information. The tour cancellation was followed by England also deferring their tour.