Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ramiz Raja made a cheeky remark on India’s exit from the T20 World Cup, saying, ‘Pakistan players are better than the billion-dollar league cricketers.’ Pakistan will take on England in the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.
Speaking to the reporters upon his arrival in Australia, the PCB chief said: “Billion dollar ki industry waali teams peeche rah gayi hai aur hum upar nikal gaye hai (Teams with billion dollar leagues are falling behind us). We are doing something right.”
This is not the first time Raja has made a ‘billion dollar’ remark. Before the World Cup, he had said that Pakistan must get the credit to the Babar Azam-led team, who defeated one billion dollars Indian cricket team in the last T20 World Cup.
Raja also cleared the air on the possibility of the India-Pakistan test series. Former Australia all-rounder Simon O’Donnell has revelead that Australia has offered to host a Test series between India and Pakistan.
“I don’t have any such knowledge about the Test series to be played between India and Pakistan,” said Ramiz. The PCB has earlier threatened to pull out of the 2023 ODI World Cup to be held in India if the BCCI will not send their team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup.
Raja also said that he is amazed to see the striking similarities in Pakistan’s campaign between 1992 and this World Cup.
“There are striking similarities to the 1992 campaign. There is an air of invincibility, a self-belief like in 92. Back then, we knew that even if the opposition played with 15 in the final, we were not going to lose,” said Raja.
However, Raja accepted that the Babar XI looked more relaxed than Imran Khan’s 1992 World Cup-winning team.
“Babar XI are more relaxted than us. We were bit scared before the final. They are enjoying the moment, and it is heartening to see,” he said.
On his interaction with the team before the final, Raja said: I have given them the reference of the 1992 World Cup final. Speech ye thi ki 90 hazaar log hai bahar ye mauka humare career mey waapis aane nahi hai, enjoy kare aur match jeete, maine exactly wahi repeat kiya jo humare kaptaan (Imran Khan) ne 1922 mey kaha tha (I repeated what exactly Imran Khan told us in team meeting. he said 90 thousand people are outside; this moment is not coming back in our careers; we need to enjoy the game and win it,” said Ramiz.
“Jo aapne karna hai wo aapne kar liya hai, aapki technique 24 ghanton mey kharab nahi ho sakti, ye ab mental game hai (They have done everything, their techniques will not suffer in 25 hours. It is just a mental game.”
“In the finals, there are no clear favourites, it will be a 50-50 game,” he said.
Raja also lamented the former Pakistani cricketers, who have ruthlessly criticised the team and the selection in the past few weeks.
“I always believe that criticism should be constructive, not agenda-driven,” he said.
Raja heaped praise on Babar Azam and said he has the chance to cement his legacy.
“I always wanted to see a strong captain. This is a basic principle in cricket. It is not football, where people from the sidelines are calling the shots. Babar has the chance of greatness and leaving a great legacy behind. There won’t be a bigger achievement than this in his career if he manages to lift the world cup,” he said.