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Rameez Raja has been chosen as the PCB Chairman and will be taking charge of Pakistan Cricket officially from today. He held a press conference to give a briefing about his aims and to shed light on the concerns of the public. He touched on numerous topics including Indo-Pak encounters, captaincy of the national team, and domestic structure.
The former cricketer expressed his contentment on becoming the new PCB Chairman and thanked the Prime Minister.
“I’m grateful to PM Imran Khan for believing in me. It is still a fan moment whenever we meet IK. He’s a great leader. Chairman PCB is a challenging designation but we’ve to work hard for the betterment of Pakistan Cricket.”
He wants a healthy bond with the cricketers and would like them to fully participate and voice their opinions.
“I have a clear vision for Pakistan Cricket and have asked cricketers to give feedback and suggestions to me bluntly because the performance of the team is directly related to the performance of the board. We’ve to revise the coaching panel once again.”
Raja urged people to support the men’s cricket team for the T20 world cup and put an end to the rumors regarding his involvement in the squad.
“We’ve to support the squad for the T20 World Cup. There is no truth in the rumors that I’ve made any changes in the T20 squad of Pakistan.”
PCB chairman wants the Pakistan Cricket team to change the history of Pak-Indo matches in the world cup and finally register a win against the arch-rivals.
“Cricket matches between Pakistan and India are always a showstopper. The inaugural match of Pakistan in the T20 WorldCup is against India and is highly important. This time Pakistan has to change the result against India in the WorldCup by becoming victorious.”
Regarding the captaincy duties of the Pakistan cricket team, Rameez Raja is yet to make an informed decision about whether it is right for a player to lead all three formats.
“A captain is the sole leader of the team but still has to prove himself through performance. Quite early to decide whether there should be a single captain for all three formats or not. For now, I still have to analyze Babar Azam as captain.”
Raja clarified his stance on senior cricketers and how they still have a strong chance to come back into the team.
“I’m no one to end the career of any senior cricketer neither there’s any rule not to include seniors in Team Pakistan as there can be a chance for a comeback. There’s still a need for seniors in domestic cricket where youngsters can learn from them.”
PCB chairman expressed concerns over the domestic structure of Pakistan cricket and wants to take it to the next level and change its nature.
“There’s a lot of confusion regarding the domestic system. There’s no existence of school/club cricket neither pitches are prepared up to the required standard. We’ve to bring consistency in selection, improve technique, and play fearless cricket.”
Moreover, to support domestic cricketers, he has announced a PKR 100,00 increase in their salaries. This is done to increase their confidence and to compensate for the loss they suffered due to the termination of department cricket.
“It is our duty to care for our cricketers and continue to take measures which strengthen our system. This will also play a role in ending any uncertainty surrounding the current cricket structure; the welfare of present and former cricketers is paramount to me.”
Domestic men’s cricket season will begin from 15th September with the cricket association T20, the players participating in it will now get a monthly salary ranging from Rs 140,000 to 250,00. The salary of players from the D category will see an increase of 250 percent.
Discussing his plans for grassroots cricket, the PCB chairman has announced a U19 league. He also seems determined to provide modern facilities to young players as it will help both PSL and the national cricket team.
“We need to develop an environment in which we generate professional cricketers at a young level. It will help the HBL Pakistan Super League franchises as well, who are on the lookout for youngsters. I would like the former greats to coach them. We need to give a push to the age-group cricketers so they can excel in the sport from an early age.”
Furthermore, he thinks improving the quality of pitches at the grassroots level is imperative for the development of players. He has also announced plans to set up high-performance centers in both interior Sindh and Balochistan. It will give more and more players the chance to refine their skills.