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Imran Khan

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. (File)
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. (File)
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Imran Khan To Meet Pakistan’s T20 World Cup Squad To Boost Players’ Morale

Imran Khan, Pakistan’s Prime Minister who is also the patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), will meet the national T20 World Cup squad on Wednesday (tomorrow), said sources in a bid to boost the morale of the cricketers after England and New Zealand called off their Pakistan tours.

Sources privacy to the matter said that arrangements were being finalized for the meeting between the premier and Pakistan’s T20 squad, selected for the upcoming T20I World Cup. During the meeting, Imran Khan, the 1992 World Cup-winning captain, will share his experiences and give tips to the players apart from a motivational lecture as well.

Besides all the members of the T20 team, PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja and other senior officials of the board will be among the attendees of the meeting.

Prime Minister Imran Khan.Photo: file
Prime Minister Imran Khan.Photo: file

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan To Meet T20I Players To Boost Morale

After New Zealand decided to abandon their tour of Pakistan right ahead of the first ODI, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday announced that its men’s and women’s tour of Pakistan would not go ahead as planned.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). (Photo: Twitter)
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). (Photo: Twitter)

Already reeling from New Zealand’s last-minute tour abandonment, Pakistan suffered another massive jolt on Monday as ECB pulled out both its men’s and women’s teams from the tour of the country. With the likes of Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka touring the country, it seemed things were starting to get back on track. But England and New Zealand withdrawing from their respective tours will be a body blow to the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Pakistan Mulling Legal Action Against England, NZC

Earlier today, Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chauhdry said that Pakistan will consult legal experts to take action against the England and New Zealand cricket boards after they cancelled tours citing “security” issues that cost the Pakistan Television (PTV) millions of rupees.

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021
Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021. Image Credits: Twitter

In a tweet, he said that consultations would be held with lawyers for taking legal action against both the boards- England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the New Zealand Cricket (NZC). The minister said that an international lobby was working against Pakistan. He said those who want to force Pakistan to surrender before them never succeed and they should end their misconception as early as possible.

NZ Women Image: Twitter@WHITE_FERNS
NZ Women Image: Twitter@WHITE_FERNS
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New Zealand Cricket Boosted Security Around Women’s Team Touring UK

New Zealand Cricket on Tuesday boosted security around the women’s national team currently touring Britain as a precaution after a threatening email was received by English officials. Neither of the two teams trained at the ground on Monday, avoiding any chance of an attack.

New Zealand Cricket, which last week abruptly abandoned the Black Caps’ Pakistan tour over security fears for the men’s team, said the latest threat was ultimately deemed “not credible”. But New Zealand Cricket said the communication received by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) prompted increased security around the White Ferns women’s team, which is due to play England in Leicester on Tuesday.

New Zealand women
New Zealand women. (Photo by Kerry Marshall/Getty Images)

New Zealand Cricket Boosted Security Around Women Team In UK

The latest development came as English cricket chiefs withdrew their men’s and women’s teams from next month’s white-ball series in Pakistan, citing “increasing concerns about travelling to the region”. That decision came in the wake of the Black Caps’ dramatic withdrawal from the Pakistan tour on Friday, moments before the first one-day international was due to start at Rawalpindi Stadium.

New Zealand Cricket has refused to detail what prompted the action beyond saying it had been advised of a “specific and credible threat”.

“The ECB has received a threatening email relating to New Zealand Cricket. Although this did not specifically reference the White Ferns, it was treated seriously, investigated, and deemed not credible,” the governing body said in a statement.

“The White Ferns have now arrived in Leicester and, as a precaution, security around them has been boosted.”

NZ Women vs England Women Getty Images
NZ Women vs England Women Getty Images

The third WODI of the series between England and New Zealand looks set to go ahead in Leicester after a security threat was deemed by New Zealand Cricket to be “not credible”. The 3rd England Women vs New Zealand Women match in the 5-match series will continue despite the security threat faced by the NZ team which is being probed.

The England women side led by Heather Knight is leading the five-match England Women vs New Zealand Women series 2-0 with three more matches to play.

England And New Zealand’s Pakistan Tour Cancellations Are A Huge Setback

According to Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Pakistan leader Imran Khan that the team feared an attack outside the stadium. The England and New Zealand cancellations are a huge setback for Pakistan, which has been trying to revive tours by foreign sides after home internationals were suspended in the aftermath of a terror attack on the Sri Lankan side in 2009.

Pakistan and New Zealand Prime Ministers Imran Khan and Jacinda Ardern. (Photo Credit: Reuters)
Pakistan and New Zealand Prime Ministers Imran Khan and Jacinda Ardern. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

There will also be questions raised about planned tours to Pakistan by the West Indies in December and Australia in February next year. The New Zealand men’s team arrived in Dubai on Sunday on a charter flight from Pakistan’s Islamabad, with players not involved in next month’s Twenty20 World Cup in the UAE returning to New Zealand as soon as flights and quarantine facilities can be arranged.

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021
Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021. Image Credits: Twitter
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Mitchell McClenaghan Tweets Not To Blame New Zealand Cricketers For Pakistan Tour Pullout

Mitchell McClenaghan, a New Zealand pacer has told Pakistan batsman all-rounder veteran Mohammad Hafeez that the BlackCaps should not be blamed for abandoning the tour of Pakistan, rather if there is someone to blame then it is the New Zealand government.

The left-arm NZ pacer Mitchell McClenaghan, who had first joined Mumbai Indians in 2015, stayed on the bench in IPL 2020 as the team management had a number of overseas options. Hence, his release from the squad didn’t surprise many. Mitchell McClenaghan has 71 wickets in 56 matches for Mumbai Indians playing from 2015 to 2019. Mitchell McClenaghan went unsold in IPL 2021 auctions.

Mitchell McClenaghan
Mitchell McClenaghan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Mitchell McClenaghan Tweets To Mohammad Hafeez Not To Blame Cricketers For Tour Pullout

New Zealand made headlines around the world when the cricket team called off its bilateral ODI and T20 series minutes before the toss for the first ODI between the two sides was scheduled to take place in Rawalpindi. The Black Caps had arrived in Pakistan after 18 years to play a cricket series. New Zealand pacer Mitchell McClenaghan has replied to Mohammad Hafeez after the Pakistan cricketer took a dig at Kiwi players on social media.

“Come now bro. This has a bad taste to it… Don’t blame the players or the organisation… blame our government. They have only acted on the advice they have received. I’m absolutely certain these young men – all wanting to prove themselves wanted to play. they had no choice,” tweeted Mitchell McClenaghan.

Mohammad Hafeez Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Mohammad Hafeez Image courtesy of ESPNcricinfo

On Saturday, veteran Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez had taken a dig at New Zealand Cricket (NZC) for postponing their tour of Pakistan citing security threats.

“Thanks to the security of Pakistan forces to make arrangements to @BLACKCAPS to reach at airport Safe & Sound. Wonder same route & same security but no threat today???” tweeted Mohammad Hafeez.

The Blackcaps abandoned their tour of Pakistan which came after an 18-year-old hiatus following a New Zealand government security alert, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) informed on Friday. New Zealand was slated to play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003. The side was to play the hosts on Friday in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five-match T20 series.

Imran Khan And Jacinda Ardern Had A Teleconference Before New Zealand Decided To Abandon The Pakistan Tour

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had also spoken to his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern before the Blackcaps announced they are abandoning their tour of Pakistan immediately.

Imran Khan assured Jacinda Ardern that Pakistan has one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team but instead NZC decided to return home after their government received a security alert. New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills echoed NZC chief executive David White’s sentiments.

“We’ve been across this process throughout and are fully supportive of the decision. The players are in good hands; they’re safe — and everyone’s acting in their best interests,” he said.

Pakistan and New Zealand Prime Ministers Imran Khan and Jacinda Ardern. (Photo Credit: Reuters)
Pakistan and New Zealand Prime Ministers Imran Khan and Jacinda Ardern. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

The New Zealand cricket team on Sunday arrived in Dubai after leaving Islamabad on a charter flight. The contingent of 34 players and support staff are now settling into their Dubai hotel and undergoing their 24-hour period of self-isolation. Of this group, 24 players and support staff will return to their country New Zealand over the next week or so, as flights and MIQ rooms in New Zealand become available.

The toss for the 1st ODI between the two teams was delayed as both teams were advised to stay in their hotel rooms before news of abandonment. A global intelligence alliance issued the security alert which led to the cancellation of the Black Caps’ cricket tour to Pakistan as per a published report. The publication said citing overseas media that the intelligence came from “Five Eyes”, an intelligence alliance of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the US, and the UK.

New Zealand was scheduled to play three ODIs in Rawalpindi starting Friday (September 17) before the series shifted to Lahore for a five-match T20I series, but the entire tour now stands unilaterally postponed following the visitors’ expression of concern.

New Zealand Cricket Team
New Zealand Cricket Team-AFP
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New Zealand’s Pakistan Pullout: ‘Five Eyes’ Security Alert Caused NZC To Cancel Pakistan Tour

New Zealand pulled out of their Pakistan tour even before play started in the 1st ODI in Rawalpindi. The Kiwis left Islamabad on a charter flight on Saturday night. The Pakistan tour was Black Cap’s first tour to the Asian country since 2003 and it was made possible after receiving clearance from their security agency.

The toss for the 1st ODI between the two teams was delayed as both teams were advised to stay in their hotel rooms after which news came in that the NZC board had issued an official statement that they were abandoning the tour for security concerns.

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021
Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021. Image Credits: Twitter

New Zealand’s Pakistan Pullout: ‘Five Eyes’ Security Alert Caused NZ Cricket Board To Cancel Pak Tour: Report

A global intelligence alliance issued the security alert which led to the cancellation of the Black Caps’ cricket tour to Pakistan as per a published report. The publication said citing overseas media that the intelligence came from “Five Eyes”, an intelligence alliance of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the US, and the UK.

The report stated that the threat issued by Five Eyes prompted the teleconference between Pakistan and New Zealand Prime Ministers Imran Khan and Jacinda Ardern. Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had claimed that there is a “conspiracy” behind the cancellation of New Zealand’s 2021 cricket tour to Pakistan.

New Zealand, who were all set to play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003, on Friday informed that they are abandoning their tour following a government security alert.

“However, following an escalation in the NZ Government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisors on the ground, it has been decided the BLACKCAPS will not continue with the tour,” NZC said in a statement on Friday.

Pakistan and New Zealand Prime Ministers Imran Khan and Jacinda Ardern. (Photo Credit: Reuters)
‘Five Eyes’ security alert caused NZ cricket board to cancel Pak tour: Report

New Zealand made headlines around the world when the cricket team called off its bilateral ODI and T20 series minutes before the toss for the first ODI between the two sides was scheduled to take place in Rawalpindi. The Black Caps had arrived in Pakistan after 18 years to play a cricket series.

David White Opens Up On Advice Of A Specific And Credible Threat Against Team

Later on Sunday, NZC chief executive David White said they were faced with no option but to abandon the tour after receiving advice from their government of a specific and credible threat.

“What I can say is that we were advised this was a specific and credible threat against the team. We had several conversations with New Zealand government officials before making the decision and it was after informing the PCB of our position that we understand a telephone discussion was conducted between the respective Prime Ministers,” said White in an official statement.

Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, during a press conference in Islamabad on Friday, refused to name the country responsible for the conspiracy behind NZ’s pullout. However, he termed the cancellation as an attempt to damage Pakistan’s efforts for peace in the region.

New Zealand Cricket Chief Executive David White during a press conference. Photo: File
New Zealand Cricket Chief Executive David White during a press conference. Photo: File

The minister said the New Zealand team’s security in-charge spoke to government officials and informed them of an intermittent threat. When the Pakistani officials asked to reveal details, the NZ security in charge “did not have any”, Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed added.

Reacting to the cancellation, newly-elected Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja lashed out at New Zealand Cricket (NZC) for taking a ‘unilateral approach’ on security as a threat. New Zealand abandoned their tour of Pakistan just before the start of the first ODI over a security threat that led to a massive backlash on social media, especially from current and former Pakistan players and the team’s fans.

Ramiz Raja too had expressed his disappointment on Friday, saying that New Zealand will hear Pakistan at the ICC meetings. He told the Pakistan cricketers selected in the World cup squad to take out whatever “anger or frustration”, they might have, through their performances and asked the fans to be the team’s strength at the forthcoming T20 World Cup.

New Zealand was scheduled to play three ODIs in Rawalpindi starting Friday (September 17) before the series shifted to Lahore for a five-match T20I series, but the entire tour now stands unilaterally postponed following the visitors’ expression of concern.

Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports
Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports
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Impossible Right Now: Ramiz Raja Opens Up On Resumption Of Pakistan And India Bilateral Series

Ramiz Raja, the newly-elected Pakistan Cricket Board chairman on Monday said the resumption of bilateral assignments with India is “impossible right now” and he is “not in a hurry” for it either as his focus is solely on his country’s domestic circuit at this point.

The 59-year-old, who formally took over on Monday after being elected unanimously, also acknowledged that being chairman of the PCB is one of the toughest jobs in cricket.

Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)
Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)

Ramiz Raja Opens Up On Resumption Of Pakistan And India Bilateral Series: Impossible Right Now

Ramiz Raja, a member of the 1992 World Cup-winning Pakistan team under Pakistan’s current Prime Minister Imran Khan’s leadership, has played 57 Tests and 198 ODIs from which he scored a total of 8674 international runs with 53 fifties and 11 hundred.

“It is a very big challenge and a lot of boxes had to be ticked before the prime minister (Imran Khan) decided to give me this tough job,” he said in a press conference here.

Asked about the possibility of revival of bilateral series between Pakistan and India, Raja said, “Impossible right now…”

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images) NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“…because the sporting model has been spoiled by politics and right now it is a status quo and we are not in a hurry on this issue because we have to focus on our domestic and local cricket,” he added.

The last time India and Pakistan faced each other was in the round-robin stage of the 2019 ODI World Cup, where the former won by 89 runs (DLS method). Their last T20 World Cup face-off resulted in India’s 6-wicket win over Men in Green in Kolkata in the 2016 edition.
However, due to the unfortunate political situation, the two teams haven’t played a bilateral series since 2012-13. Pakistan and India’s last bilateral ties at either of the two neighbouring countries were 2 T20Is and 3 ODIs in India way back in 2012.

Ramiz Raja Wants Pakistan To Play Fearless Cricket

He also expressed his displeasure over the development that there would be no Decision Review System in the upcoming Pakistan and New Zealand white-ball series in Rawalpindi and Lahore.

“Yes there is no doubt that this DRS issue reflects a mess and I will look into this matter,” he said.

Ramiz Raja expressed his reservations over the standard of coaching in the country and said there was a dire need to improve the local infrastructure in the country.

When asked whether he would allow the board CEO, Wasim Khan, to carry on, Ramiz Raja made it clear that he would not discuss internal matters of the body in public. However, he claimed that if it came down to proper accountability 90 per cent of the functionaries deserved to be sacked from the board.

Ramiz Raja was also asked about the India-Pakistan match in the coming T20 World Cup in Dubai. The game is due on October 24.

“It is a show stopper and when I met with the Pakistan team players I told them I want the tables to be turned this time and the team must be 100 per cent operational for the match and to do well in it,” he said.
India has not lost to Pakistan in any World Cup, be it in the ODI or T20I format. India has an 11-0 record versus their arch-rivals in limited-overs ICC tournaments.
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby

The new PCB Chairman also said that he wants the national team to play fearless cricket.

“We must be prepared to face problems and also lose matches but I have told the players they shouldn’t worry about being secure about their places in the team and play fearless cricket. I know we will face more failures than success when we go on this path but we have to do it if we are to become relevant in world cricket. Because this is a process and we need to change the mindset of our players as well.”

Ramiz Raja is Pakistan’s 18th Test and 12th ODI captain and played 255 international matches in which he scored 8,674 runs in the period from 1984 to 1997. He has previously served the PCB as its Chief Executive from 2003-2004 and has represented Pakistan on the ICC Chief Executives’ Committee and presently sits on the MCC World Cricket Committee. After retirement, he has been a successful broadcaster.

Shahid Afridi played in 27 Tests, 398 ODIs and 99 T20Is for Pakistan.© AFP
Shahid Afridi played in 27 Tests, 398 ODIs and 99 T20Is for Pakistan.© AFP
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Taliban Came With A Positive Mindset, Says Shahid Afridi

Shahid Afridi, Pakistan’s former cricketer has also thrown his weight behind the Taliban after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and said the terror outfit has come with a “positive mind” to power.

In a video clipping tweeted by Pakistani journalist Naila Inayat, Shahid Afridi can be seen telling reporters that the Taliban is “allowing women to work”, and “likes cricket”.

Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi. (Source: Twitter)
Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi. (Source: Twitter)

Shahid Afridi: Taliban Came With A Very Positive Mind

Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi is someone who always loves the limelight and continues to do the same after his international retirement as well. Shahid Afridi made a shocking statement to the media on Monday (August 30), claiming that the Taliban, who have taken over Afghanistan recently, have come with a ‘positive mind’.

“No doubt Taliban have come. But, they have come with a very positive mind. They’re allowing ladies to work. They are allowing them to participate in politics. They are supporting cricket…And I believe the Taliban like cricket a lot,” Afridi told reporters.

Shahid Afridi brings out his trademark starfish celebration Pakistan Super League
Shahid Afridi brings out his trademark starfish celebration Pakistan Super League

The 46-year-old Shahid Afridi’s statement also come days after a suicide bombing at Kabul airport killed at least 170 people, including 13 US security personnel.  The 46-year-old, who will be playing his last match for Pakistan Super League, added, “Taliban loves cricket.” He further encouraged their involvement and said it would help cricket grow.

Shahid Afridi last played international cricket for Pakistan more than five years ago in 2016 but has continued to take part in the PSL ever since its inception well into his forties. Shahid Afridi played 27 Tests, 398 ODIs, and 99 T20Is between 1996 and 2018. He scored 11196 runs across formats and took 541 wickets as well.

He burst onto the international stage with a 37-ball century in October 1996 which was then the fastest hundred in ODI history, a record that remained intact for over 17 years before New Zealand allrounder Corey Anderson broke in 2013, taking one less delivery. AB de Villiers then broke the record in 2015, hitting a century in mere 31 deliveries.

Imran Khan Supported The Taliban On Numerous Occasions

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has supported the Taliban on numerous occasions in the past. In July, before the terror outfit forcefully took over the Afghanistan government, Imran Khan said the Taliban are not some “military outfits but normal civilians”, and asked how the country was supposed to hunt them down when it had three million Afghan refugees at the border.

In an interview, Imran Khan stressed that Pakistan hosts three million Aghan refugees of which the majority are Pashtuns, the same ethnic group as the Taliban fighters.

“Now, there are camps of 500,000 people; there are camps of 100,000 people. And Taliban is not some military outfit, they are normal civilians. And if there are some civilians in these camps, how is Pakistan supposed to hunt these people down? How can you call them sanctuaries?” he argued.

Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul (Image Credit: AP)
Taliban fighters take control of the Afghan presidential palace after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Zabi Karimi)

Later in August, Imran Khan, who has publically endorsed the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, said that his country is reaching out to all “Afghan leaders” and urged other countries to “stay engaged”, to economically support people in the war-ravaged country.

After the hostile takeover of Afghanistan, the Taliban has re-imposed repressive laws and retrograde policies on Afghan women that defined its 1996-2001 rule when they enforced their version of Islamic Sharia law.

Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports
Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports
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Ramiz Raja All Set To Be The New Chairman Of Pakistan Cricket Board

Ramiz Raja is all set to be the new chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The decision follows a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, who gave the go-ahead for the change of guard at the PCB. Ramiz Raja will replace Ehsan Mani once the succession process is complete.

Both Ramiz Raja and Ehsan Mani met the Prime Minister on Monday (August 23) afternoon. After the meeting Ramiz Raja, a former Pakistan captain said that he had given Imran Khan his plans and the PM will make a call and decided to wait to hear from the PM’s office. Eventually, the decision was made three days later.

Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja will meet with Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan today to discuss his probable appointment as chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after Ehsan Mani's tenure ends.
Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja met with Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan to discuss his probable appointment as chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after Ehsan Mani’s tenure ends.

Ramiz Raja All Set To Be the New Chairman Of The Pakistan Cricket Board

Ramiz Raja confirmed that he has accepted the job as an official of the PCB confirmed that Ehsan Mani was no longer chairman of the board as his tenure ended on August 25.

“The aim is to reset Pakistan cricket’s GPS and will be in pursuit of excellence,” Raja, who was also a Chief Executive Officer of PCB said on Thursday (August 26).

Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)
Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)

Meanwhile, Imran Khan is understood to have asked Ehsan Mani – whose three-year term ended on Wednesday – to ensure a smooth transition of power. Ramiz Raja, a member of the 1992 World Cup-winning Pakistan team under Imran Khan’s leadership, has played 57 Tests and 198 ODIs from which he scored a total of 8674 international runs with 53 fifties and 11 hundred.

Ehsan Mani, 76 Years Old, Is Seen As Too Old For The Job As Chairman

Ehsan Mani (76), an experienced hand in cricket administration, both at the PCB and the International Cricket Council (ICC), was seen as too old for the job, which necessitated high amounts of energy, particularly at the ICC forum, where the PCB is left with very few friends.
Also, Ehsan Mani’s constant posturing against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), a powerful body at the ICC, did not leave him with too many friends in India. On the other hand, Ramiz Raja has no shortage of friends in India, which is an advantage for him.
Sourav Ganguly (Source: File Photo)
Sourav Ganguly (Source: File Photo)

However, Ramiz Raja’s appointment will entail a bit of a process. His name first will be forwarded to the Board of Governors of the PCB, being one of the two nominees. Following this, there could be an election if another BoG member wants to contest, but normally, a PM’s nominee is unlikely to meet any resistance.

When nominated by Imran Khan three years ago, Ehsan Mani was elected unopposed. In the same way, Ramiz Raja should find his way to the top position. The second member to be nominated by the Prime Minister is believed to be a noted businessman – Asad Ali Khan. There are seven on the BOG currently – four independent directors, CEO (Wasim Khan), and two nominees of the Prime Minister.

Ramiz Raja is a former chief executive of the PCB and had been in the hot seat when India’s revival tour of Pakistan took place in 2004. Shahryar Khan had been the chairman then. It will be the first time that two former captains are in charge of India and Pakistan’s cricket boards. Sourav Ganguly has been BCCI president since October 2019.

New Zealand and England are slated to tour Pakistan later this year. Ramiz Raja had said that the Babar Azam-led Pakistan side remains highly inconsistent and their ranking in all three formats reflects that they cannot make it to the finals of major tournaments.

Hardik Pandya Bowling
Hardik Pandya Bowling
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Hardik Pandya’s Body Too Weak To Take The Workload Of An All-rounder: Salman Butt

Salman Butt feels that Hardik Pandya’s body, in its present state, is too weak to shoulder the workload of an all-around player. According to the former Pakistan skipper, Salman Butt, the Indian cricketer is undoubtedly talented but will need to work extremely hard on building his physique.

Hardik Pandya has bowled sparingly since returning to international cricket following back surgery in 2019. He has even lost his place in the Test team due to his inability to bowl his medium pacers on a consistent basis.

Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
Hardik Pandya Image Source: GETTY

Salman Butt: Hardik Pandya Needs Some Muscle In His Body But Skill Wise He Can Improve Himself But His Body Can’t Take Excess Workload

After missing out on a lot of action owing to a back injury, Hardik Pandya made a phenomenal comeback in the IPL 2020 season, playing the finisher role for the team and hammering the ball in the slog overs at a strike rate of 178. But in IPL 2021, he disappointed scoring only 52 runs in 7 games averaging a pathetic 8.66. He didn’t bowl in the last two IPL editions.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Salman Butt shared his views on Hardik Pandya and stated: “India had high hopes from Hardik Pandya, but he has been on a long layoff period. He looks very skilful when he bats. And when he was bowling before injury, he looked very effective with decent pace. But again, Hardik Pandya’s problem is that he is so slim, if there is extra load on his body, he will keep getting unfit.”

Salman Butt. Image-Twitter
Salman Butt. Image-Twitter

“He needs some muscle on his body. Skill-wise, he has a lot of capacity to become better and better. The way he bats and bowls… he has a very good bowling action. But again, his body cannot take the excess workload. That is what needs to be managed.”

Hardik Pandya, India’s premier seam-bowling all-rounder, has been dealing with his back injury issues, which have forced him to bowl less. He hasn’t played Test cricket since 2018 and he hasn’t been fit enough to bowl even short spells, let alone take the toll of a full day’s work.

He didn’t bowl a single ball in last season’s IPL, and in the first half of the IPL 2021 as well. But he is now gradually gaining fitness as the T20 World Cup nears. Being a pace-bowling all-rounder, it would be key for India that Hardik Pandya is able to provide his quota of 4 overs as that would give the desired balance to the eleven.

Salman Butt Doesn’t Know If There Is Any Issue With Hardik Pandya’s Physique

Salman Butt cited the examples of Kapil Dev and Imran Khan to explain why it is important to have a strong body structure to fulfill all-round duties.

The former Pakistan batter Salman Butt added: “If you compare Hardik Pandya with Kapil Dev or Imran Khan, they were far fitter than him. You can watch their YouTube videos. They were double in size, and had more muscle. I don’t know if there is any issue with Hardik Pandya’s physique. The physios and trainers must be definitely talking to him about it.”

Recently, National Cricket Academy (NCA) bowling coach Paras Mhambrey said that IPL 2021 would provide a decent idea of the extent to which Hardik Pandya can be utilized as a bowler, especially with the T20 World Cup coming up.

Paras Mhambrey
Paras Mhambrey

Speaking to IANS, Mhambrey said about the Mumbai Indians’ fast bowler: “Yes, the way I look at him, and the way I feel, I am sure he will bowl (in IPL). First step is the IPL. Maybe the franchise will decide how will they use him. That, kind of, will decide how it will be (a) preparatory ground for the World Cup.”

In the white-ball series in Sri Lanka last month, Hardik Pandya bowled 14 overs in three ODIs, picking up two wickets at an average of 48.5 and an economy rate of 6.92. He also sent down two overs in one T20I.

Against England in March, he had bowled 17 overs in the five T20 Internationals, picking three wickets and conceding runs at 6.94 an over which was the second-best on either side after Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He could complete his four-over quota in three of the five games. Hardik Pandya also bowled in the third and final ODI against England and was quite economical, conceding runs at 5.33 in nine overs.

Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja will meet with Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan today to discuss his probable appointment as chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after Ehsan Mani's tenure ends.
Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja will meet with Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan today to discuss his probable appointment as chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after Ehsan Mani's tenure ends.
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Ramiz Raja And Ehsan Mani Expected To Meet Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Ramiz Raja, Pakistan’s former cricketer-turned-commentator, is expected to meet the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Patron-in-Chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Imran Khan, today(23rd August).

The 59-year-old Ramiz Raja is likely to be given the big responsibility of PCB chairman in the near future. The three-year contract of the current chairman of the PCB, Ehsan Mani is set to expire on August 24.

Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports
Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of ARY Sports

Ehsan Mani Has Also Been Called In To Meet Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Ehsan Mani has also been called in to meet the prime minister today and it is expected that his journey with the PCB is near its end.  Ehsan Mani was set for an extension but that changed when some government officials were left unhappy after the Pakistan team’s disappointing performance on the England tour and mishandling of the Kashmir Premier League (KPL).

An England team, missing most of their star players, whitewashed Pakistan 3-0 in the ODI series. With Ehsan Mani’s tenure as chairman likely to end soon, Ramiz Raja is one of the prime contenders for the job.

Ramiz Raja has played 57 Tests and 198 ODIs. He represented Pakistan (sometimes as captain) during the 1980s and the 1990s. Since retiring from cricket, he has been a commentator in international cricket matches. Ramiz Raja played international cricket for 13 years, appearing in 57 Test matches, with a career average of 31.83 and scoring two centuries.

Ehsan Mani
Ehsan Mani

According to sources, Prime Minister Imran Khan will recommend two names for the governing board which include Ramiz Raja and Dr Jawad Sajid Khan, chairman of the Lahore Gymkhana. One of these will be elected for the role of PCB chairman. It must be noted that PM Imran Khan has already appointed Justice (r) Azmat Saeed as the election commissioner to hold the PCB chairman elections.

Apparently, Imran Khan, himself a former captain under whom Ramiz Raja played the 1992 World Cup, feels it is time a former player runs the cricket affairs in the country. Another source said Ehsan Mani had also expressed reluctance to continue for another term due to health issues.

Pakistan Have Been Inconsistent In Limited Overs Cricket

Since the 2019 World Cup, poor selection decisions have seen players drift in and out of limited-overs squads, with few sticking around long enough to show results. Pakistan’s limited-overs squads have gone through numerous changes in the last couple of years.

Since the 2019 World Cup, they have tried 27 players in 11 ODIs and 38 players in 34 T20Is (in the first seven of those games alone, there were 25 different players, and a change in captaincy, though the team was No. 1 in the T20I rankings at the time).

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
A pattern has emerged of too many players being dropped after too few opportunities or despite producing decent results. Much of this has come during the tenures of Misbah-ul-Haq (September 2019 to December 2020) and Mohammad Wasim (since January 2021) as chief selectors. In that time Pakistan has still won more white-ball games than they’ve lost – their win-loss record is 22-18 – but it has been an uneven, unsettled ride.

Pakistan emerged victorious in the rain-hit T20I series against West Indies. Pakistan claimed the four-match T20 series 1-0 after 3 matches were washed out. In the preceding England series, England won the first two ODI matches to win the series with a game to spare.

England then won the third ODI by three wickets to win the series 3–0. Pakistan won the first T20I match by 31 runs but England went on to win the next two matches to win the series 2–1.

Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)
Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)
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Ramiz Raja As A PCB Chairman Will Benefit Pakistan Players, Says Kamran Akmal

Kamran Akmal, Pakistan veteran former wicketkeeper-batsman has reacted to rumours of Ramiz Raja being in the mix to become PCB’s chairman. With Ehsan Mani’s tenure as chairman likely to end soon, Ramiz Raja is one of the prime contenders for the job. Kamran Akmal expects Ramiz Raja to lift Pakistan cricket to big heights should he take the post.

It was reported that Ehsan Mani will meet Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday (August 23) as convened by the latter’s wishes. Ehsan Mani’s time in the position ends a couple of days after that. But he intends to retain the spot moving forward, adding to his three years of service.

Ehsan Mani
Ehsan Mani

Kamran Akmal: A Cricketer Coming In As A Chairman Would Benefit Domestic Cricket And Benefit Players Financially

Speaking to Cricket Pakistan, Kamran Akmal recognized that Ramiz Raja’s hiatus from commentary duties could be a signal about his immediate future. The 39-year old feels a cricketer becoming the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman will benefit the players on all fronts since he has previously served as the national team’s skipper as well.

“He hasn’t been going for commentary duties in the last couple of series and that gave us some signals for the future. A cricketer coming in as a chairman would benefit domestic cricket. It will bring in money.

“There was a lot of talk about bringing in money by commercialising so that players get money. Ramiz (Raja) bhai coming in will benefit players financially. Maybe the teams might improve as well. Management might get better as well because he has been a captain himself.”

Kamran Akmal Photo AFP
Kamran Akmal Photo AFP

Akmal added: “Cricket doesn’t improve at the international level. If you want good cricketers, you have to make them at the grassroot level. Unfortunately, no one has been paying attention to it in the recent past. This is why cricketers at the lower level are ignored. We have all seen how sensitive he (Ramiz Raja) is regarding cricket with his words. It is time to walk the talk now.”

Ramiz Raja has played 57 Tests and 198 ODIs. He represented Pakistan (sometimes as captain) during the 1980s and the 1990s. Since retiring from cricket, he has been a commentator in international cricket matches. Ramiz Raja played international cricket for 13 years, appearing in 57 Test matches, with a career average of 31.83 and scoring two centuries.

In the One Day International arena, he played 198 matches and scored 9 centuries. He was a member of the national side that reached the semi-finals of the 1987 World Cup and played a pivotal role in Pakistan’s 1992 World cup win. Ramiz Raja didn’t respond to calls and messages but media reports said that Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is also patron-in-chief of the board has decided against giving Ehsan Mani an extension after his term ends this month.

Kamran Akmal : Ramiz Raja Has  Been In The PCB In The Past

Kamran Akmal further stated that Ramiz Raja has previously been in the PCB and brought some transformations as well. The 39-year old pointed out that the cricketer-turned-commentator often pointed out the ways of planning and how development must take place. Thus, Kamran Akmal predicts Ramiz Raja to make better decisions if he becomes the chairman and raises the graph of the Pakistan cricket team.

“He has been in the PCB in the past. He made region cricket and changed the system from division cricket. There is a new system now that was the Prime Minister’s vision. We have always heard him talking about how the team should plan, become mentally strong and develop.

“When he comes in as chairman, he will have an opportunity and would want to see how to raise the graph of our cricket team. This will happen if he makes correct decisions and looks after cricket.”

Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports
Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of ARY Sports

Pakistan has been one of the most inconsistent teams in recent times. They have some world-class players in their ranks but have failed to sufficiently move forward. The batting line-up sans captain Babar Azam has remained a consistent issue across formats in recent times.

Apparently, Imran Khan, himself a former captain under whom Ramiz Raja played the 1992 World Cup, feels it is time a former player runs the cricket affairs in the country. Another source said Ehsan Mani had also expressed reluctance to continue for another term due to health issues.

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