LAHORE: While terming earning the hosting rights of the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy a milestone, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja on Wednesday said the country would further improve its management capabilities to make the prestigious event a success story.
On Tuesday, the International Cricket Council in its 2023-2031 cycle gave the hosting rights of the 2025 Champions Trophy to Pakistan.
“We got a major breakthrough in the shape of hosting the Champions Trophy. It was a difficult chapter especially after England and New Zealand had cancelled their last tours of Pakistan [due to different reasons],” Ramiz said on Wednesday while addressing a presser from Dubai where he is attending different ICC meetings.
“Pakistan succeeded in convincing the world of cricket that Pakistan is also a strong candidate for ICC events. It is good that we will organise it on our own with no partners. But we have to work a lot to hold it successfully. We have to improve our organisational ability at our stadiums. It is a milestone and we will get more milestones. For all such achievements our national team’s performance is vital.
“The way Pakistan played in the 2021 T20 World Cup, except for the tooth and nail game against Australia, it proved we are a very relevant force in the world of cricket,” the PCB chief emphasised.
Pakistan had bid to host one T20 World Cup and 50-over World Cup jointly with the UAE and hold the ICC Champions Trophy alone, but it managed to earn only one event. Whereas India during the same time period will hold the events of 2026 T20 World Cup with Sri Lanka and the 50-over World Cup with Bangladesh in 2031 besides solely hosting the 2031 Champions Trophy.
Ramiz, however, did no show any major concern over this apparent discrepancy.
“Look we got this event after the 1996 World Cup. We should enjoy it. We should not have problems with others. We have to set our house in order first. We got an opportunity to advertise Pakistan to the world. We should be positive; everyone has their own cricketing and marketing value,” Ramiz insisted.
Pakistan, which will be hosting an ICC event after a yawning gap of 29 years, had also earned the rights to hold the 2009 Champions Trophy and it was a joint partner to host the 50-over 2011 ICC World Cup along with India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. However, security concerns expressed by some players of top cricketing nations forced the ICC to shift the eight-nation event from Pakistan to South Africa which hosted the contest in September-October 2009.
Responding to a view that due to negative attitude of some elements Pakistan could not hold ICC events for a long time, Ramiz said there would be no more negativity in future as the ICC was making decisions after taking every aspect into account.
“Security level in Pakistan has been rated equal to the world-class event like Formula One and the English Premier League,” the PCB chairman said.
Ramiz said at the ICC level he had emphasised that all cricket boards should be involved emotionally to remove the hardships of any other member instead of keeping it in isolation.
He said though the previous PCB management had bid for some ICC events, the situation was not the same after New Zealand and England cancelled their tours to the country last September and he had to hold short group meetings with other boards to convince them about the significance of Pakistan cricket.
Ramiz continued, “Not just the Pakistan Super League (PSL) but by successfully holding [a number of bilateral] international series in Pakistan all played a positive role in giving us the Champions Trophy [hosting rights] and it was a result of the collective efforts of many people.”
Commenting on the reformation of international cricket contests, Ramiz said holding triangular competitions instead of bilateral series was being discussed at the ICC level and soon such series would be given final shape.
On the forthcoming home Test series against Australia, Ramiz said during this series special arrangements would be made to bring youngsters to the venues in order to increase fan following of Test cricket, the game’s longest and oldest format.
Giving his view on the possibility of resumption of Pakistan’s cricket with traditional rivals India, the PCB chief said reviving bilateral games seemed not likely.
“It is hard to hold bilateral cricket with India [currently] but there may be such a possibility in the shape of a triangular series at some point,” he said. “Until there are political hurdles, it is not possible to start [the] bilateral series.
“India will come to Pakistan to compete in the Asia Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy as it is not easy for any country to pull out its team from multi-national events.”
To improve the standard of cricket pitches in Pakistan, Ramiz added, he had recalled former chief curator Agha Zahid and would also talk to the England and Wales Cricket Board, which had started to use new artificial pitches made with natural ingredients.
Answering a question, Ramiz praised Babar Azam’s captaincy and denied he had said that Babar would not be given the Test captaincy.
Ramiz clarified he had said that as he did not know Babar’s captaincy, he would test his abilities.
Meanwhile, the PCB chief said he would try to hold international cricket in Pakistan in friendly atmosphere instead of overwhelming security arrangements, both for foreign teams and fans.