Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board Ramiz Raja has informed that the New Zealand cricket team has offered to tour Pakistan again and this time with a guarantee that they will not back off. According to the chairman, this comes as good news as Pakistan needs to revive international cricket in the country and if teams are willing to come and play, they should be welcomed even if they did not prove to be reliable the first time around. Skepticism, however, runs in our side of the world after the Kiwis opted to leave the country abruptly citing the unnamed security reasons, and giving a reason to the English Board to follow suit. In its backdrop, Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee Raza Rabbani suggested that Pakistan should not accept the Kiwis’ offer to come and play in Pakistan as their decision to back off at the last moment brought about quite a lot of damage to Pakistan’s soft image. It also led to the English Cricket Board’s withdrawal from playing ODIs in Pakistan. He says that refusal of the offer will be a sign of protest. Between Raza Rabbani, a respected parliamentarian with unblemished credentials, and seasoned and experienced Ramiz Raja, it seems Ramiz Raja’s stand should be followed. Ramiz differed from him and said that instead of refusing the offer, the Pakistan Cricket Board can allow them to play at a time of our choosing. This seems to be a better bargain than outrightly refusing their offer as Pakistan needs to revive its international cricket scene for the development of its soft image and for economic gains as well.
Now, more than ever, Pakistan does need to revive international cricket. It must be known that the PCB gets 50% of its funding from the ICC which gets 90% of its funding from India. This means that if there is a major rift between India and Pakistan, which is always imminent, especially with their growing hatred towards their neighbour under the Modi government, it is possible that the ICC withdraw its funding and this will lead to PCB collapsing. Pakistan itself cannot sustain the organization and so it is imperative that international cricket resumes in the country. For this to happen, there should be consensus between the government, security forces and the PCB so that no other team can withdraw like the Kiwis did without repercussions. It is time for the world to start taking Pakistan seriously as all efforts were made to make the guest teams feel completely safe and it was wrong of the two cricket teams to withdraw.