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The year 2021 has been a whirlwind for the Pakistan Cricket Board. Covid-19 breaking through the PSL bubble, series wins, elections, tour cancellations, PCB has seen this all in just 10 months. But the most significant change was the induction of Ramiz Raja as the PCB chairman. He was elected as PCB’s 36th chairman after the former chairman Ehsan Mani’s three-year tenure ended. From the commentary box to the chairman’s office, Raja is all set to get things going.
PCB’s Mission to Strengthen Cricket at Grass-Root Level
Ramiz Raja in his first press conference has clearly stated his vision to strengthen cricket at the grass-root level. For this, he has taken two measures.
1. Increasing salaries of players at the domestic level
PCB has decided to raise the salaries of domestic players by 100,000 rupees. This will allow the players to compensate for the loss endured owing to the closure of departmental cricket. Also, it will boost up the confidence of players and allow them to play fierce cricket which is the need of today’s cricket.
2. Promoting cricket at club cricket
Another initiative the PCB plans on taking is attaching schools with club cricket. This will provide the youngsters a chance to hone their talent and possibly make a spot in international cricket in the future.
PCB to Fortify Cricket Economy
Ramiz Raja is all set to boost up the cricket economy. After the NZ- England tours snub, Raja stressed about strengthening Pakistan cricket. For this purpose, he is all set to meet Karachi’s corporate and business community representatives. According to Ramiz Raja, the more money invested in cricket, the more its value will increase. This measure will attract more international cricketers to Pakistan cricket.
Also, the construction of a five-star hotel near NSK is in talks to better facilitate the players and eliminate security risks.
PCB’s Broadcasting Vision
One of the key points of his debut press conference as the Chairman of PCB, Ramiz Raja assured the Pakistani cricket fans of great broadcasting services to Pakistan’s international and domestic cricket. He promised that no compromise would be made on the quality of broadcasting.
Broadcasting deals are done only by the PCB itself. They are important for the business model and critical for generating the central pool revenue of any board. Ramiz Raja is keen on producing a great broadcasting quality of Pakistan cricket for the Fans. The vision of the Chairman can be reflected from his recent efforts too.
As we are currently witnessing the National T20I cup 2021, one can observe the quality and improvement in the broadcasting of the domestic competitions. We can easily say that the ongoing competitions have gained a lot more popular than the previous ones.
Cut down on Board’s Expenses
Ramiz Raja has issued a warning to cut down and reduce the board expenditures. In a meeting with the entire staff of PCB, Raja said that all those working for the board would have to justify their earnings. He stressed that all of the members must work hard to improve the performance of board cricket. There will be no room for a slaking attitude.
PCB Faces Huge Set-Backs
1. Tour Cancellations
On 17 September, minutes before the start of the first ODI between Pakistan and New Zealand, the touring team abandoned the series and went back home. This was a stressful and unique situation for the newly elected Chairman of PCB.
A few weeks later, the ECB also canceled the England team’s two-match T20I series, due to the prevailing conditions. This worsened the situation and provided a greater hurdle in the revival of cricket in Pakistan.
This was a stressful and unique situation for the newly elected Chairman of PCB. Ramiz raja stood firmly and gave a befitting reply to both the cricketing boards. On these occasions, the Chairman said, “Walking out of the tour by taking a unilateral approach on a security threat is very frustrating. Especially when it’s not shared! Which world is NZ living in? NZ will be hearing from us at ICC.”
Commenting on ECB’s withdrawal decision Ramiz said “I am severely disappointed in England’s withdrawal but it was expected because this western bloc gets united unfortunately and tries to back each other.” Due to PCB and Pakistan Government’s efforts, England has now announced plans to make a full tour of Pakistan next year.
PCB quickly made arrangements for the National T20I cup, which compensated for the tour cancellations.
Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis resign: PCB received the shock of Pakistan’s batting and bowling coaches resigning from their positions. This came as the rumors of Ramiz Raja being elected as the next PCB chairman gained some truth to it. While some people speculated that these resignations were Ramiz’s doing, others had blamed the duo’s lack of say in selecting the T20I squad. However, both the coaches brushed these rumors as false.
CEO Wasim Khan Quits: CEO of PCB presented his resignation to the new chairman on 29th September, days before the commencement of the T20I world cup. It was the curtailment in power that led to the decision. His three-year contract was to end in 2022. Wasim thanked the PCB and Pakistani fans for outpouring their love.
New Coaches for the T20I World Cup
The newly elected PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja has a very clear perspective that if Pakistan wants to become a team of high-class level, their approach should be aggressive.
That’s why Ramiz Raja has made a big announcement for the upcoming mega event of the ICC T20I World Cup. Two new coaches would be there to help Pakistan perform well in the tournament. Mathew Hayden of Australia and Vernon of South Africa would be there to insert some aggression into the team.
It has been observed in the past that foreign coaches have created a good impact on the performance of the team. Whether it is Mickey Arthur or Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan Cricket team has performed well under these individuals.
Future of Cricket under Ramiz Raja
With Ramiz Raja determined to do a complete PCB overhaul and with measures already in practice, the future of cricket looks promising. What can be better than harboring new talent while strengthening the current setup? A strong sports board believes in rearing and showcasing talent and that is what Ramiz Raja has in plans for PCB.
We hope Ramiz doesn’t lose the energy with which he has stepped in for his duties. The ever-existing social, political, and security situations are not always easy to navigate through. These things can tamper with the working process as already seen after the attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team in 2009.
The die-hard cricketing fans of Pakistan cricket want nothing but to see the team soaring high and getting back to being the aggressive side it once was.
Written by Irum Firdaus, Abdul Raza and Moied Rashid Butt