Tag Archives: Ramiz Raja

New Zealand to tour Pakistan twice in 2022-23

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) on Monday confirmed that the BlackCaps will tour Pakistan for two Tests and three ODIs in December-January of 2022-23 as part of the Future Tours Programme (FTP) and will return in April 2023 for 10 white-ball matches to make-up for the September 2021 abandoned tour.

The development came following meetings and discussions between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and NZC Chairpersons Ramiz Raja and Martin Snedden, respectively.

While the two Tests and three ODIs will be part of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) and ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League, respectively, the second visit will include two additional ODIs and will now comprise five ODIs and five T20Is that will count towards the ICC Rankings.

The PCB said that now with details of the tours and matches confirmed, the two boards will continue to work together to finalise the series dates, which will be announced in due course.

Commenting on the development, PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja said: “I am pleased with the outcomes of our discussions and negotiations, and thank Martin Snedden and his board for their understanding and support. This reflects the strong, cordial and historic relations the two boards have and reconfirms Pakistan’s status as an important member of the cricket fraternity.”

On the other hand, NZC Chief Executive David White expressed: “Our respective chairmen, Ramiz Raja and Martin Snedden, had very fruitful and constructive discussions while in Dubai, further strengthening the bond between the two organisations.”

“It’s good to be going back,” he added.

After this announcement, Pakistan is now scheduled to host eight Tests, 11 ODIs and 13 T20Is against Australia, England and New Zealand in the period between March 2022 and April 2023.

Notably in September this year, the NZC had announced to abandon their Pakistan tour due to security concerns and had pulled out of the series at the last minute. The incident happened just few minutes before the first of the three ODIs in Rawalpindi when NZC decided to pull out citing security concerns.

Issuing a statement, the NZC had said: “The side was to play Pakistan this evening in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five match T20 series. However, following an escalation in the New Zealand Government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisors on the ground, it has been decided the BLACKCAPS will not continue with the tour.”

After the Kiwis, the England team had also cancelled their short limited-overs tour to Pakistan just before this year’s T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman.

PCB extra cautious for PSL 7 after Windies tour postponement

After the abrupt postponement of the West Indies tour of Pakistan due to the emergence of Covid-19 cases inside the secure bio-bubble, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is extra cautious for the upcoming Pakistan Super League (PSL) seventh edition, scheduled to begin from January 27 in Karachi.

On Thursday, the Covid-19 outbreak in the West Indies camp had led to the postponement of the ODI series between touring West Indies and hosts Pakistan. The ODI series will now be played in June 2022.

After the development, PCB Chief Operating Office Salman Naseer said that the recent experience has made the board extra cautious for the upcoming seventh edition of the T20 League.

“There will be players coming from different countries, from different flights. So we will have to be extra cautious,” he told reporters in Karachi.

“We are looking to book the entire hotel during the PSL and disconnect the staff and everyone at the hotel from outside,” he added.

Naseer meanwhile, also stressed that there was no breach of the biosecure bubble and opined that the touring party might have contracted the virus somewhere while flying to Pakistan.

Notably, the upcoming PSL season will be staged in two phases with the first one to be held in Karachi while the second and last phase will be held in Lahore. Each phase will consist of 15 matches each.

Following an opening ceremony, defending champions Multan Sultans will take on hosts and 2020 champions Karachi Kings at the National Stadium in Karachi, which will begin at 7pm PKT.

Later, 2019 champions Quetta Gladiators will face 2017 winners Peshawar Zalmi on the following day.

Issuing a statement, the PCB had earlier said: “In first of the six double-headers to be played in the 32-day and 34-match tournament, Multan Sultans will take on 2020 runners-up Lahore Qalandars at 2pm PKT, which will be followed by the Karachi Kings and Quetta Gladiators’ fixture that will begin at 7pm PKT on Saturday.”

“Two-time champions Islamabad will be in action on Sunday afternoon when they will lock horns with Peshawar Zalmi, with the evening match to be played between arch-rivals Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars. After Karachi, which will host 15 matches from 27 January to 7 February, action will shift to the Gaddafi Stadium where the remaining 15 league matches and the four play-offs will be played from 10-27 February,” it added.

The PCB further announced that final will be held in Lahore.

“The PCB has designed the 2022 tournament in such a way that each side will play equal number of matches in Karachi and Lahore, as well as games under natural and artificial lights,” the statement said.

Commenting on the upcoming season, PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja had said: “I am delighted that the HBL PSL 7 schedule has been announced. This will now get the ball rolling with the teams to start planning and finalising their line-ups and the PCB increasing the pace of the operational delivery to ensure they provide quality playing facilities for the players as well as five-star experience to the fans and our valued commercial partners.”

“The HBL PSL 7 will also kick start what will be a bumper year for Pakistan cricket with the Australia men’s cricket team to play a full series in March-April with England men’s cricket side to tour Pakistan twice for white-ball and red ball cricket,” he added.

Govt will take a call on India’s participation in 2025 Champions Trophy in Pakistan at right time: Sports Minister

After the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced Pakistan as the host of the Champions Trophy in 2025, there has been a question on every cricket fan’s mind whether Team India will travel to neighbouring country or not.

Due to political tensions between the two nations, bilateral cricket has been suspended since a long time however, the two sides now only meet each other in ICC events.

Responding to a question on the issue, Indian Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur has nowsaid that the Indian government and the home ministry will make a call on India’s participation when the time comes.

“When the time will come, the Indian government and the home ministry will take a decision. During the international championships, all the factors are looked upon,” Thakur said.

“Even in the past, many countries have refused to play in Pakistan due to security concerns. As you all know, many players were even attacked while playing over there and that’s a big issue to be dealt with,” he added.

Pakistan has been largely starved of international cricket particularly since the 2009 attack on the touring Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore.

Earlier on Tuesday, the ICC had announced Pakistan as the host for the 2025 Champions Trophy.

Significantly, Pakistan had last staged an ICC event in 1996 when they co-hosted the 50-over World Cup with India and Sri Lanka and it will now be after 29 years when an ICC event returns to the country.

The hosts were selected via a competitive bidding process overseen by a Board sub-committee chaired by Martin Snedden along with Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Skerritt. The ICC Board accepted the recommendations of the committee who conducted a thorough review of each bid along with ICC management.

Earlier, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) newly appointed chairman Ramiz Raja had brushed aside the fears of any last-minute pullouts by the teams from the showpiece event.

“It is not going to happen. They [ICC] went through all the pros and cons and after going through the details, came to the conclusion that Pakistan is fit enough to host and administer the Champions Trophy. You shouldn’t worry at all. I don’t think there will be any negativity or any pullouts at all,” said the PCB chairman.

“We won’t be going to the UAE for the Asia Cup or the Champions Trophy. Not everything happens because of India. We are also here. Don’t worry,” he added.

HBL reacquires title sponsorship of Pakistan Super League till 2025

In a major boost for the Pakistan Super League (PSL), HBL has announced to reacquire the title sponsorship of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB’s) pinnacle tournament for another four-year cycle (2022-2025).

Meanwhile, HBL also announced to exceed the reserve price in reacquiring the rights but sealed it with a 55 per cent jump from last cycle, which speaks volumes of their belief in the PSL brand.

HBL earned title sponsorship rights following a public tender process in which seven interested parties had collected the bid documents.

Commmenting on the development, newly appointed PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja said: “I am delighted that the HBL have further strengthened their bond and relationship with the Pakistan Cricket Board by committing to support the Pakistan Super League for another four years. Reality is that HBL, in fact, have been investing in the future stars of Pakistan cricket through PSL for which we are eternally grateful.”

“Their decision to continue the partnership is also a validation and endorsement of the brand and product the HBL PSL has become, thanks to the untiring efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board staff and our valued franchises. Both the PCB and franchises, with the patronage of HBL, have worked tirelessly to make the league glamorous, entertaining and exciting for the fans as well as the shortest format specialists who are keen to feature in it,” he added.

On the other hand, HBL Chief Operating Officer Sagheer Mufti said: “HBL is pleased to renew its commitment to Pakistan’s largest sporting platform, Pakistan Super League (PSL) for a further four years. This will mark HBL’s support for this national initiative for 10 years, since its inception in 2016. HBL remains committed to playing its part in promoting Pakistan and cricket.”

Similarly, HBL Chief Marketing & Communications Officer Ali Habib expressed: “HBL is all about ‘enabling dreams’ and this synchronizes perfectly with PSL’s philosophy to provide an enabling platform to the young, emerging cricketers of the country.”

“HBL wishes PCB all the success in staging this mega sporting platform that provides fans the world over the opportunity to enjoy the best that cricket has to offer,” he added.

HBL, is a Pakistani multinational bank based in Habib Bank Plaza, Karachi, Pakistan.

Founded in 1940 by the Habib Family, Habib Bank Limited, abbreviated as HBL, became Pakistan’s first commercial bank and in 1951 it opened its first international branch in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

PSL’s initial title sponsorship was awarded to HBL for three years in December 2015 and was later renewed.

The domestic T20 league features six teams from as many cities of Pakistan. The league was founded on September 2015 with five teams by the PCB.

ICC Board appoints Afghanistan Working Group to review status of ACB

The International Cricket Council (ICC) Board on Wednesday announced to appoint a Working Group to review the status of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) and cricket in Afghanistan in light of the recent governmental changes in the country.

As per a statement by the global cricket governing body, the group comprises Imran Khwaja (Chair), Ross McCollum, Lawson Naidoo and Ramiz Raja. The group will report back to the Board over the coming months.

Commenting on the development, ICC Chair Greg Barclay said: “The ICC Board is committed to continuing to support Afghanistan Cricket to develop both men’s and women’s cricket moving forward. We believe the most effective way for this to happen will be to support our members in their efforts to achieve this through its relationship with the new government.”

“Cricket is fortunate to be in the position to influence positive change in Afghanistan with the national men’s team a source of great pride and unity in a country with a young population that has experienced more upheaval and change than most. We should protect that status and continue to try to influence change through the ACB but will continue to closely monitor the situation and take any decisions accordingly,” he added.

Earlier, although the ICC had opted for a wait-and-watch approach on Afghanistan but had said that it will discuss the future of cricket in the war-torn nation nation in its board meeting in November.

After Afghanistan came under Taliban’s rule in August, the future of cricket has been uncertain with Cricket Australia (CA) recently postponing the one-off test in Hobart, was was slated to be held in November end in Brisbane.

After ousting the Afghanistan’s elected government in August this year, few senior Taliban leaders had said that Afghan women would no longer play cricket or any other sport under their regime which didn’t go well with Cricket Australia and even the ICC.

Recently, when asked if the women cricketers not being allowed to take part would result in its men’s team getting suspended, Allardice had said that the global body will not interfere in bilateral arrangements.

“Our goal is to see men and women playing cricket in Afghanistan. Our view is that the best way to achieve that is to stay closely connected with the cricket board and try to influence [things] through the cricket board. They are on a steady trajectory of development there and we would like to see that continue,” Allardice had said.

“How other members react to their bilateral arrangements with Afghanistan is up to them. We will be working through their situation at both board levels. They are the agent for developing cricket in their country,” he had added.

Many senior Australian cricketers had supported the call to cancel the one-off Test against Afghanistan following such statements while the CA has now said that they will host the match only once the situation is clearer.

Recently, the Mohhamad Nabi-led Afghanistan team bowed out of the just concluded T20 World Cup Super 12 stage after managing to win just two of their five Group 2 matches. They lost to neighbours Pakistan, India and finalist New Zealand.

Pakistan to host an ICC event after 29 long years

In a massive development, the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday announced Pakistan as the host for the 2025 Champions Trophy.

Significantly, Pakistan had last staged an ICC event in 1996 when they co-hosted the 50-over World Cup with India and Sri Lanka and it will now be after 29 years when an ICC event returns t the cuntry.

Pakistan has been largely starved of international cricket particularly since the 2009 attack on the touring Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore.

The development came as the ICC confirmed the 14 host countries of ICC men’s white-ball events from 2024-2031 as per which, 11 full members and three associate members have been selected to host two ICC Men’s Cricket World Cups, four ICC Men’s T20 World Cups and two ICC Men’s Champions Trophy events.

Commenting on the development, and elated Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja thanked the ICC for awarding the Champions Trophy 2025 to Pakistan and said that the event will showcase his country’s passion for the sport.

In a statement, issued by the PCB, Raja said: “I am pleased no-end with the ICC’s decision to select Pakistan as a host nation for one of their elite tournaments. By allocating a major global event to Pakistan, the ICC has expressed complete confidence and faith in our management and operational capabilities and skills.”

“We have continued to demonstrate how a great host we are and through the ICC Champions Trophy 2025, we will again showcase our passion and love for the sport as this event will be a boon to the millions of home fans, who will see world class teams and their favourite international players from close quarters,” he added.

Notably, PCB has been trying its best for the return of international cricket in the country.

“We not only endeavour to plan and deliver a world-class event, we will also prepare and field a strong and formidable side that can perform and entertain our home fans. We saw during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup campaign how the nation got united and the ICC Champions Trophy 2025 at home will be another opportunity to further strengthen that bond as we defend the title,” Raja further expressed.

Also, it will be for the first time when the USA and Namibia will host an ICC World Cup event as the former has been selected as the co-host of the 2024 T20 World Cup while the latter, an African nation, will jointly host the 2027 One-Day International (ODI) World Cup with South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Significantly, the hosts were selected via a competitive bidding process overseen by a Board sub-committee chaired by Martin Snedden along with Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Skerritt. The ICC Board accepted the recommendations of the committee who conducted a thorough review of each bid along with ICC management.

The global cricket governing boday also said that a similar process to identify the hosts for ICC Women’s and U19s events for the next cycle will be undertaken early next year.

England will play two additional T20Is in Pakistan next year: ECB CEO

The England men’s cricket team will play two additional T20Is against the hosts when they tour Pakistan in September-October 2022, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Chief Executive Tom Harrison has announced.

The announcement by the ECB CEO was made after his meeting with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) newly appointed Chairman Ramiz Raja in Lahore on Tuesday.

Notably, the ECB’s top administrator has flown to Pakistan to re-establish relations with the PCB which was strained after England cancelled its Pakistan tour in September, citing “increasing concerns about travelling to the region”, just days after New Zealand also pulled out of a tour to Pakistan over security concerns.

Commenting on his meeting with Raja, ECB Chief Executive Tom Harrison said: “Myself and ECB’s Senior Director Martin Darlow visited Lahore to talk face to face with the PCB around some of the things that have happened over the past few weeks, leading to the cancelation of our tour in October. We also wanted to discuss the future as the two boards have a historic relationship and want to move the agenda towards a forward-looking one as opposed to one looking back.”

“We’re happy to announce that we’ll play two extra white-ball T20Is on our men’s tour of Pakistan in September/October 2022. We will then return after the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia to complete the Test match element of that tour. This is just to reaffirm our commitment to Pakistan cricket to getting England teams, men’s and women’s teams, eventually playing in Pakistan at home. I don’t think there’s a cricketer in England who doesn’t want to test their abilities against the huge talent this country has and in the conditions they know best,” he added.

On the other hand, Raja expressed: “The ECB have shown their large heartedness to be here for which I am thankful to Tom and Martin. It means a lot to us. We are excited that England have committed to playing two additional T20Is as part of their white-ball tour in September/October in 2022. We put in lot of efforts to make sure that all visiting teams are comfortable in Pakistan. As such, it is a matter of pride for the Pakistan fans, who look forward to welcoming Australia and England in 2022.”

“England have got a great team and it’s mind-boggling how they’ve produced so many match-winners in a span of about five to seven years. They play very engaging and attractive cricket, which is fantastic for the fans and a big advertisement of the game,” he added.

After Pakistan, Harrison is scheduled to visit the UAE later this week for an International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executives’ meeting.

Earlier, the ECB after cancelling the recent tour, had assured the PCB that it will play a full series against Pakistan next year.

Windies’ women cricket team to tour Pakistan in November

In a major relief for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which is trying its best to bring international cricket back in the country, the West Indies women’s cricket team will be touring Pakistan in November to play three One Day Internationals (ODIs) against the home side.

The three ODIs will be held on November 8, 11 and 14 November after which both the sides will head to Zimbabwe to participate in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier, which will be held between November 21 and December 5.

The top three tams of the 10 participating sides will then secure a qualification for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, which will be played in New Zealand.

Confirming the development, PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja said that the board was delighted to announce the West Indies women’s tour to Pakistan in November.

In a statement, the PCB Chairman said: “We are delighted to announce the West Indies women’s tour to Pakistan in November. This will be a great series for the promotion, publicity and growth of women’s cricket in Pakistan, besides also providing both sides excellent opportunity to prepare for the World Cup qualifier.”

“West Indies women’s tour will be followed by their men’s side who will visit Pakistan for three ODIs and three T20Is in December. So, the Pakistan cricket fans can brace for some exciting and entertaining cricket in women’s and men’s cricket later this year,” he added.

Meanwhile, the national women’s selection committee – which includes Urooj Mumtaz (the chair) and Asmavia Iqbal – has also announced an 18-member squad for the upcoming three ODIs against West Indies and the World Cup Qualifier which will be led by batter Javeria Khan.

“The national women’s team’s camp for the series will begin from 23 October and will run till 5 November at the Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre, Karachi. At the conclusion of the camp, the team will shift to the team hotel,” the PCB said in a statement.

“As part of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s efforts to increase the reach and viewership of the women’s sport, the three ODIs – which will start at 1000 – will be live-streamed through PCB’s YouTube channel around the world,” it added.

Significantly, the upcoming series will be the Pakistan women’s team’s third bilateral series in the ongoing year as they had already toured South Africa in January-February and West Indies in June-July earlier this year.

West Indies series itinerary

Nov 1: West Indies women arrival

Nov 4-7: Both teams’ training and practice sessions, National Stadium

Nov 8: First ODI, National Stadium

Nov 11: Second ODI, National Stadium

Nov 14: Third ODI, National Stadium

Nov 16: Departure for Zimbabwe

Pakistan Women Squad for West Indies series World Cup Qualifier:

Javeria Khan (Captain), Aiman Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Iram Javed, Kainat Imtiaz, Maham Tariq, Muneeba Ali, Nashra Sundhu, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Rameen Shamim, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin and Sidra Nawaz (wicketkeeper)

Support staff: Fizza Abid (team manager), David Hemp (head coach), Arshad Khan (assistant coach), Kamran Hussain (assistant coach), Saboor Ahmad (strength and condition coach), Zubair Ahmad (analyst), Dr Riffat Asghar Gill (head physiotherapist) and Rabia Siddiq (physiotherapist)

Club owners’ efforts can make Pakistan number one team: Ramiz Raja

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja believes that their national cricket team will become number one globally through the efforts of club owners.

During a meeting with the owners of clubs falling under the Central Punjab Cricket Association’s jurisdiction, Raja said: “Our national cricket team will become number one through your efforts. So, your success is my success.”

Further speaking on his vision for the revival of cricket at the grassroots level, the Raja praised the efforts of the club owners and termed them “unsung heroes”. The PCB Chairman also promised that the PCB will undertake “unprecedented initiatives” to extend support to the cricket clubs across Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Raja stressed on the need to make the system conducive to helping young cricketers grow.

“Your [cricket club owners] role is of the parents, and in a way, it is beyond that. Give a good environment to players and make every effort to ensure their dreams are fulfilled. This is a big responsibility. Your steps will shape society. There should be no compromise on merit and our system should look after players,” he expressed.

Raja also said that the PCB will extend support to clubs that require equipment and suggested the owners’ priority should be on making quality pitches for the young cricketers.

“In this setup, we will work together to eradicate your problems and difficulties,” he said, adding that they are all very important to me, as your role is very critical. We need quality ­pitches so players are technically stronger and curating top-quality pitches should be your top priority. The PCB will provide you technical and financial support,” he said adding that the PCB will soon launch a talent hunt programme.

On Monday, Raja had claimed that the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) has agreed to stage the 2023 Asia Cup in Pakistan while 2022 edition of the tournament will be held in Sri Lanka.

The PCB chairman said the 2023 ACC Cup in Pakistan would be a 50-over competition while the 2022 edition will be a 20-over tournament.

During the ACC meeting, which was held in the UAE, Raja had also met representatives of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Emirates cricket boards.

However, the ACC is yet to officially announce the development that Pakistan will hosts the 2023 Asia Cup.

ACC agreed & approved Asia Cup 2023 will be held in Pakistan: Ramiz Raja

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja on Mondy said that the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) has agreed to stage the 2023 Asia Cup in Pakistan while 2022 edition of the tournament will be held in Sri Lanka.

The PCB chairman said the 2023 ACC Cup in Pakistan would be a 50-over competition while the 2022 edition will be a 20-over tournament.

“The ACC has agreed and approved that the 2023 event in Pakistan will […] will be held in September. This aligns very nicely with the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, which will be held in October and November. We are looking forward to hosting this tournament in Pakistan and I am confident it will be a well-organised event because this is what the fans want,” Raja said while speaking to PCB digital following.

“The ACC has also confirmed next year’s tournament in Sri Lanka will be played on a 20-over format and will be a prelude to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 to be held in Australia from 16 October to 13 November. The ACC was set up to create a unified approach and collective stance so that we had one voice and if there was a situation, all stood together. I would like to see our relationship with other boards and the ACC be strong so that if there is an issue like we had with the withdrawal of a couple of sides, a strong and joint statement could come out from the ACC platform,” he added.

Meanwhile, the PCB Chief also said that a lot of task is needed to be accomplished to revitalise bilateral cricket between India and Pakistan.

“I met with BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah on the sidelines of the ACC meetings. We need to create a cricketing bond, while I have also believed that politics should stay away from sports as much as possible and this has always been our stance,” Raja said.

“There needs to be some comfort level between the two boards and then we can see how far we can go,” he expresed adding that overall discussion held was quite good.

During the ACC meeting, Raja had also met representatives of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Emirates cricket boards.

Although the ACC is yet to officially announce the development but if Pakistan hosts the 2023 Asia Cup, it will be after a long gap of 17 years when Team India tours the neighbouring nation.

Earlier in the year 2018, the prestigious Asia Cup tournament was also played in the 50-over format while the Asia Cup 2020, which was scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka, was cancelled due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Notably, due to the political relations between the two countries, India and Pakistan now only face each other in ICC events and Asia Cups.