If Asia Cup gets taken away from us, we may pull out: Raja

NEW DELHI: After India’s tough stance on not travelling to Pakistan for Asia Cup next year and rather insisting that the tournament would be held at the neutral venue, PCB chief Ramiz Raja seems to be in no mood in relenting to the neighbour’s demand.
Raja has given a whole new twist to the issue saying Pakistan may consider pulling out of Asia Cup 2023 if their tournament hosting rights are withdrawn due to the Indian team not travelling to their country.
“It is not as if we do not have hosting rights and we are pleading to host it,” Ramiz was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo on the sidelines of the Pakistan-England Test in Rawalpindi.
“We won the rights fair and square. If India does not come, they would not come. If the Asia Cup gets taken away from Pakistan, maybe we are the ones that pull out,” he added.
Earlier in October, BCCI secretary Jay Shah made it clear that Team India will not travel to Pakistan for the 2023 Asia Cup and said that the tournament would be held at a neutral venue.
Raja also sounded a warning and threatened to adopt a tit for tat approach saying if India choose to opt out of the Asia Cup which will be held in Pakistan next year, then Pakistan will also not travel to India to take part in 2023 50-over World Cup.
“Our position is blunt that if they (Indian team) come then we will go to the World Cup, if they do not come then let them do it. Let them play without Pakistan. If Pakistan does not participate in the World Cup scheduled in India next year, who will see it? We will adopt an aggressive approach, our team is showing performance, we have defeated the biggest business-making cricket team in the world, we have played in the final of the T20 World Cup,” Ramiz told Pakistan media.
“I have always said that we have to improve the economy of Pakistan cricket and that will only happen when our team performs well, we have done it in the 2021 T20 World Cup. Beat India, we beat India in the Asia Cup, Pakistan cricket team has beaten the board of billion dollar economy twice in one year,” he added.
After Shah’s statement about holding Asia Cup at a neutral venue, PCB issued a statement saying, “The overall impact of such statements has the potential to split the Asian and international cricketing communities and can impact Pakistan’s visit to India for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 and future ICC Events in India in the 2024-2031 cycle.”
(With Agency Inputs)

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