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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja on Thursday said that New Zealand cricket board was working on a new schedule to tour Pakistan after it abandoned the series last month citing security threats.

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.

In a briefing to Senate Standing Committee on Inter-Provincial Coordination chaired by Raza Rabbani, Raja said that the New Zealand Cricket is rescheduling the tour after being pressured by Pakistan.

But, Rabbani, who is a former chairman Senate, said that the PCB chief should turn down New Zealand's tour of Pakistan.

"What if we don't allow the New Zealand tour," Rabbani questioned.

To this, Raja said: "We've to live with them. But we can tell them that Pakistan can find a time window for the tour at some point in 2022. And if New Zealand were ready to play according to our conditions, we should have no problem".

Rabbani also fully endorsed a letter written to International Cricket Council (ICC) by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in protest against Kiwis cancellation of Pakistan tour last month.

He said that the Western countries must realise that Pakistan - a place where international sports team members feel at home - is no pushover.

Raja briefed the committee on cancellation of visits and series by New Zealand and England Cricket teams on account of alleged security issues and steps taken in this regard by the PCB.

"I've written a strongly-worded letter to ICC chairman in which I have clearly written that ICC has become a political wing of Western bloc and has turned into an event management company," he recalled.

He lamented the New Zealand cricket board for cancelling the series, saying it was a politically motivated decision.

"We've one of the best security systems in place...neutral ICC appointed security experts have acknowledged the high-level security accorded to the visiting teams," he added.

He also regretted that New Zealand cricket board did not share the details of so-called threat to New Zealand players on tour to Pakistan, which is beyond comprehension.

"The cricket experts around the world have supported our stance and have lambasted both the England and New Zealand cricket boards for the cancellation of the tour. There is huge pressure on English cricket board," he added.

The PCB chairman claimed that he was told by chairman of English cricket board that "the players are spooked after cancellation from New Zealand cricket board".

"But reports have emerged that neither the players nor the players' association were consulted before taking such a decision," he added.

When asked about the details of losses incurred by the PCB after cancellation of both the tours, the PCB officials said that exact figure of the monetary losses could not be given at the moment due to ongoing evaluation and negotiations with broadcasters. Rabbani asked about the ramifications for the board, if the cancelled tours are not rescheduled.

To this, the PCB chairman said: "We have to find a way to exist with these Western cricketing nations, while showing some strength as we cannot go overboard".

The Minister for Interprovincial Coordina-tion, Dr Fehmida Mirza, said that Pakistan is being discriminated against at international stage in all the sports not just cricket.

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 added.

He said that he had held fruitful meetings with various investors, adding that they were willing to offer money for the betterment of national cricket.

Raja said work at the school 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.

Pakistani athletes TalhaTalib, a weightlifter and Arshad Nadeem, a javelin thrower, were presented souvenirs as a token of appreciation for their performance in Tokyo Olympics 2021.

The committee appreciated the performance of Olympians.

The committee strongly recommended that until the implementation of new sports policy, the ministry must ensure that athletes associated with various departments and other institutions should not go jobless.

The committee discussed the approach of the ministry to discourage the departmental sports system.

The minister for inter-provincial coordination clarified that departmental sports are not being abolished; however, under the new sports policy the regional sports shall be encouraged.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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