Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja has taken a U-turn on his remarks about Pakistan not travelling to India for ODI World Cup 2023. While Ramiz Raja has not ensured that the Men in Green will cross the border to take part in the ICC event, he has rather invited the Men in Blue to play a Test against Pakistan.
Explaining his remarks about Pakistan pulling out of the 2023 ODI World Cup, Raza said that it was a reaction to what the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said regarding shifting the Asia Cup 2023 to a neutral venue. The PCB Chief also urged the Indian cricket board to keep politics aside and let India travel to Pakistan for the continental showpiece.
The former Pakistan captain then talked about India and Pakistan playing Test cricket again for the longevity of the format. Raza said that Test cricket needs India vs Pakistan. Raza also cited the example of the United States and Iran playing at the FIFA World Cup despite political tension between the two nations while also expressing his disappointment with the ICC.
"What happens if the government of Pakistan doesn't allow Pakistan to travel to India because of security issues? It is quite an emotional subject here. The debate was started by BCCI in a way. We had to respond. Test cricket needs India v Pakistan,” said Ramiz while speaking on BBC's Test Match Special.
"You saw what happened in the World Cup - 90,000 fans turned up (at MCG). I am just a little disappointed with the ICC. When the point was put to the FIFA President why is the US playing Iran, Iran has so many issues regarding women's rights, he picked up the football and said this can solve a lot of issues. Through sport, we can take care of the tribe mentality. I feel let bat and ball talk," he added.
Notably, Pakistan Cricket Board has the hosting rights for Asia Cup 2023 while BCCI will host the ODI World Cup. With geopolitical relations not-so-good between the two countries, India and Pakistan have refrained from touring each other. Hence, Asian Cricket Council (ACC) President Jay Shah has said that Asia Cup will be staged at a neutral venue.