Asia Cup 2023: Ramiz Raja has given the Final verdict

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja has announced that the Pakistan cricket team will not travel to India to play the ODI World Cup if they don’t play the Asia Cup 2023 in Pakistan. 

India visiting Pakistan has become a hot topic ever since the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) granted hosting rights to PCB. In late October, the president of ACC and also one of the board of directors of the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), Jay Shah had cleared the air that India will not travel to the neighbouring country to play the Asian version of the tournament. To add fuel to the fire, Shah also reaffirmed to the media that the tournament will be shifted to a neutral venue.

“It’s the government that decides over the permission of our team visiting Pakistan. We won’t comment on that but for the Asia Cup 2023, it is decided that the tournament will be held at a neutral venue,”

While Raja had expressed his anger and disappointment at this statement back then, he has now come up with a clear answer.

Interesting to read: Politics over the India tour of Pakistan

“Aggressive Approach,” says, Ramiz Raja

The cricketer-turned-commentator said it is without a doubt that Pakistan will not play the ODI World Cup in India if they don’t come and play the 50-format Asia Cup 2023 in Pakistan.

“We have a clear stand: If the Indian team comes here (for the next Asia Cup) then we will go for the World Cup. If they don’t come then they can play the World Cup without us. We will adopt an aggressive approach. Our team is showing performance,”

It is notable that the green shirts have become a power-packed unit with the way they are playing the short format of the game. From qualifying for the final of the Asia Cup to securing a dearth in the finals of the T20I World Cup, the Babar Azam-led line-up has become one of the most successful teams of the modern game. 

Moreover, Raja claimed that nobody would be interested in watching the tournament if there would be no Pakistan. “If Pakistan doesn’t take part in the World Cup scheduled in India next year, who will watch it? The Pak-India cricket rivalry is the crown jewel of every ICC tournament no matter what the format is. The big clash attracts a humungous crowd every time and hypes up the entire event. 

It should be noted that the green team has defeated the men in blue twice in one year, once in the T20I World Cup 2021 and the other time in Asia Cup 2022. Both defeats facilitated India’s early exit from the tournaments. Speaking of this the PCB chairman said that the Pakistan cricket team defeated a billion-dollar economy team twice.

“I’ve always said we need to improve the economy of Pakistan cricket. That can only happen when we perform well. In the 2021 T20 World Cup, we beat India. We beat India in the T20 Asia Cup. In one year, the Pakistan cricket team defeated a billion-dollar economy team twice,”

What does the Asia Cup 2023 mean to Pakistan?

This Asia Cup 2023 means everything to Pakistan fans, who, if put simply, are downright crazy for the sport. Not only the fans, but the country would get a massive boost in economy and a whole lot of tourism. This would also mean more International cricket for the country in the future. Pakistan is also set to host the Champion’s Trophy in 2025.

Cricket was kept isolated from Pakistan stadiums ever since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009. Unfortunately, that was the last year the country hosted Asia Cup, or any ICC event. Gradually the game returned and given the security protocols, international cricket also began to resume. Among the big team, Australia has already completed a three-format tour. England, after playing seven T20Is in October this year, will return to play a three-test series beginning December 1. 

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