Ramiz Raja seeks to approach Sourav Ganguly for saving international cricket's future

Published March 15, 2022
A combination photo of PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja (L) and BCCI Chairman Sourav Ganguly. — Reuters/AFP
A combination photo of PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja (L) and BCCI Chairman Sourav Ganguly. — Reuters/AFP

KARACHI: Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja has explicitly expressed his lack of confidence in the future of bilateral international cricket.

For Ramiz, it’s imperative for the world cricketing powers to go for an out-of-the-box solution, which, he believed, was triangular and quadrangular cricket.

The PCB chief said he will meet his Indian counterpart Sourav Ganguly in the upcoming Asian Cricket Council meeting to discuss with him the prospect of a four-nation tournament including the arch-rivals along with England and Australia.

“I’ll talk to Ganguly regarding a four-nation tournament,” Ramiz said during a media interaction here at the National Stadium on Monday.

“The future of cricket is in triangular and four-nation competitions. Twenty20 leagues are taking away eye-balls from bilatertal cricket, of which the novelty factor is decreasing.”

Ramiz claimed England and Australia were ready to collaborate with Pakistan for this project. However, he admitted some dialogue was required to rope in India to become the fourth partner.

“I think it’s unfair to keep fans away from India-Pakistan contests,” he said.

“India-Pakistan [2022 T20 World Cup] tickets were sold in one day, we don’t have a political perspective on things and if a fellow cricketer is leading the BCCI, we should be approachable to each other since we don’t know politics.”

Ramiz said he was aware of the obstacles the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Future Tours Programme (FTP) will pose to his vision, but said it will be important to bypass them.

“We have to look at the rules but I believe that the four-nation tournament should have a separate CEO to run it and it should be held in a 15-day window every year,” said Ramiz.

“The idea is for each participant to take turns in hosting it annually and the revenue to be shared among the cricket boards.

“We don’t need third-party interference.”

AUCTION MODEL FOR PSL

After the Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) most successful season in terms of revenue, Ramiz said the PCB was now looking to switch to an auction model instead of player drafting system which has been in place since the league’s inception seven years ago.

The PCB chief claimed the auction model will make the PSL at par with the Indian Premier League. He revealed that two franchises had shown their willingness to experiment the model while others were being approached for related talks.

The future editions of the PSL, Ramiz said, will be held on home on away basis and that prefabricated rooms will be installed by venues in Lahore, Karachi and Faisalabad to facilitate teams.

UNDER-19 PSL FROM OCTOBER

Ramiz revealed the PCB’s plan to launch a version of the PSL for under-19 players in October.

He said South Africa, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe had responded positively to PCB’s approach to them regarding their involvement in the said competition.

The 1992 World Cup winner said he will talk to representatives of Sri Lanka Cricket as well in the ACC meeting about the under-19 PSL.

Ramiz said the PCB was looking at the January-February window next year for women’s PSL, which he believed was key to improve the quality of women’s game in the country.

Pakistan are struggling in the ongoing ICC Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and have lost all four games they’ve played so far.

Ramiz admitted it was important to create a strong domestic structure for the national women’s side to excel.

“Our women’s cricket needs to be taken higher and that can only happen when we give them an environment where they can make money as well as share dugouts with the best players from around the world,’ said the 59-year-old.

“We will also try to create women’s first-class teams and attach them with our provincial teams so that they can have regular cricket.”

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2022

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