LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) -Pakistan have been “used and binned” by the “Western Bloc”, cricket board chairman Ramiz Raja said on Tuesday, adding that he thinks Australia will join New Zealand and England in cancelling their tour of the South Asian country.
England on Monday called off their men’s and women’s teams tour of Pakistan next month citing the “mental and physical well-being” of the players.
It followed New Zealand’s abrupt abandonment of their tour minutes before the opening fixture in Rawalpindi on Friday following a security alert from their government.
“How I wish today that I was still a YouTuber, rather than the chairman of the cricket board, because I would have absolutely taken on New Zealand and England unabashedly,” Raja told a virtual news conference.
“It’s the feeling of being used and then binned — that is the feeling that I have right now,” the former Pakistan captain said. “I certainly feel that we are up against a western mindset, a Western bloc.”
Raja pointed out Pakistan’s trips to New Zealand and England last year defying the COVID-19 situation and felt the withdrawals by them would have a domino effect.
“West Indies could be a little jittery and we know that the Australians will probably do what the New Zealanders and England have done. So there goes our domestic international calendar.”
Cricket Australia has said it would “talk with the relevant authorities once more information becomes known” ahead of its scheduled tour early next year.
Shunned by all after the deadly 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore, Pakistan have been trying to woo back top international teams.
Raja felt particularly let down by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
“A little bit of hand holding, a little bit of caring was needed, especially after New Zealand pulled out, and we didn’t get that from ECB,” he said.
England, who last visited Pakistan in 2005, are scheduled to tour the country in the 2022-23 season but Raja, who had a chat with ECB Chairman Ian Whatmore, is taking nothing for granted.
“I said what is the guarantee of England coming back and playing here?…because a month before that tour you can easily quote tiredness, players being spooked again, sick of living in a bubble.”
According to media reports, the PCB is facing losses of $15-25 million due to the tour cancellations.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Sam Holmes and Ed Osmond)