Former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria has attacked Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief, Ramiz Raja, for threatening to pull out of next year’s ICC ODI World Cup if India doesn’t tour the neighboring country for the Asia Cup in 2023.
According to Danish Kaneria, who is the only Hindu to play for Pakistan, the PCB doesn’t have the guts to withdraw the Green Army from the 50-over World Cup in India.
Danish Kaneria reckons that if Pakistan doesn’t visit India, it will hit their finances hard while the latter will not lose much if the former doesn’t travel there.
“The PCB does not have enough guts to boycott an ICC event. India, on the other hand, don’t care if Pakistan don’t come. They have a huge market that generates a lot of revenue. Not travelling to India for the World Cup will have a major effect on Pakistan,” Danish Kaneria said.
“Pakistan will ultimately travel to India for the World Cup. Officials will say that they had no other option as there was pressure from the ICC. It will hurt Pakistan cricket badly if they talk about skipping an ICC event again and again,” he added.
“There is still a lot of time for the Asia Cup. We can’t be sure that everything will be fine in the country by then or if the tournament will be conducted on Pakistani soil or not. We don’t know what the situation will be like during that time. It could also be possible that, apart from India, teams like Bangladesh and Afghanistan also refuse to travel to Pakistan. The people of Pakistan want the Asia Cup to be played in their country. However, you have to remain on the back foot because of the situation of the nation,” Danish Kaneria concluded.
Danish Kaneria’s comments came after Ramiz Raja issued India an ultimatum that their participation in the 2023 Asia Cup which is scheduled to take place in Pakistan, will decide PCB’s stance about Babar Azam and his boys’ appearance in the ODI World Cup in India.
“If Pakistan doesn’t take part in the World Cup scheduled in India next year, who will watch it? We have a clear stand: If the Indian team comes here then we will go for the World Cup. If they don’t come then they can play the World Cup without us. We will adopt an aggressive approach. Our team is showing performance. I’ve always said we need to improve the economy of Pakistan cricket, and that can only happen when we perform well. In the 2021 T20 World Cup, we beat India. We beat India in the T20 Asia Cup. In one year, the Pakistan Cricket Team defeated a billion dollar economy team twice,” Ramiz Raja said this week.
However, there are no takers for Ramiz Raja’s pull-out threat in India. Like Danish Kaneria, ex-India opener Aakash Chopra called Pakistan’s threat hollow.
“Asia Cup might not happen at all if India don’t participate, there’s no chance. The Asia Cup is a minor tournament compared to the world cup. Skipping the World Cup means you will end up forgoing a massive amount of revenue that ICC shares (with the participating nations). It’s a case of who blinks first. So I’m not taking this seriously. I feel the Asia Cup 2023 will be held and at a neutral venue,” Aakash Chopra said on his YouTube channel.
“Of course, ACC is a consortium. But few are aware of the fact that India doesn’t take a penny from ACC. Everybody takes a certain amount from the (ACC) coffer whether 4 million or 8 million but India ends up distributing their amount instead,” Aakash Chopra explained.
“India has been playing the role of a big brother in ACC. If it has been said that the team might not travel to Pakistan, then I can give you this in writing that India won’t. The Asia Cup will also be held at a neutral venue. And Pakistan will also definitely come to play in the World Cup (in India)… Take all this from me in writing. All these things are guaranteed,” Aakash Chopra added.
Aakash Chopra’s sentiments were shared by Indian sports minister Anurag Thakur as well who was also critical of Pakistan’s intention to do a tit-for-tat if India failed to tour the neighboring country for the Asia Cup.
“Wait for the right time. India is a major power in the world of sports & no country can overlook India,” Anurag Thakur told ANI.
The ODI World Cup is set to take place in India in October and November next year.