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Ramiz Raja hints at New Zealand rescheduling Pakistan tour

New Zealand had cancelled its tours of Pakistan; Source: ICC.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja has hinted at “good news” in the coming week, saying the New Zealand cricket board was working on a new schedule to tour Pakistan.

Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Inter-Provincial Coordination, Raja said the New Zealand cricket board was “now rescheduling the tour” amid pressure from Pakistan. The PCB chief informed the committee that the New Zealand officials did not inform him about the nature of the threat before cancelling the series.

He deplored that no one from the global cricket community helped Pakistan during its time of need even though the national team had toured different countries even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Raja said the PCB had also written a letter to the International Cricket Council (ICC) on the matter after the court was abruptly cancelled.

During the briefing, the PCB chairman stressed the need for fixing the system. He added that the salaries of domestic cricketers had been raised and they will now earn Rs40 million annually. “No cricketer will have to drive a rickshaw anymore,” he said.

He said he had held positive meetings with various investors who were willing to offer money for the betterment of national cricket. Raja said they would start work at the school level to overhaul the cricket structure at the grassroots. 

The PCB chairman also said those cricketers who had tarnished the country’s image by being involved in match-fixing should not be included in the team.

The New Zealand cricket team arrived in Pakistan on September 11 for the first time in 18 years. However, the Kiwis opting out of their tour minutes before the first match was to be played citing a ‘security threat’ without providing any further information. The tour cancellation was followed by England also deferring their tour.