After a thrilling Group Stage that saw double hat tricks, huge upsets and two debutants battling valiantly, we’re into the real meat of the T20 World Cup tournament and there are some great games to keep your eyes on.
Ramiz Raja, the voice of cricket in Pakistan, says New Zealand’s tour withdrawal has put unfair question marks over his country’s ability to stage matches.
The Pakistan Cricket Board chairman says that New Zealand’s abrupt withdrawal from its tour on security grounds has put an unwanted question mark over Pakistan’s ability to host international matches.
A 33-member Black Caps squad was flying back home on Saturday after New Zealand abandoned its tour to Pakistan minutes before the start of the first one-day international at Rawalpindi on Friday.
“There’s a lot of pressure created on Pakistan cricket and (especially) Pakistan cricket at home,” PCB chairman Ramiz Raja told cricket fans in a video message released on Saturday.
“The fight to survive is the base on which we challenge the whole world. If such a situation is developed (again) when international cricket comes under pressure in Pakistan, we will challenge them once again.”
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) declined to reveal the nature of the security alert from its own government that prompted the sudden decision to cancel the tour during which the Kiwis were scheduled to play three ODIs in Rawalpindi and five Twenty20s at Lahore.
However, a government minister in Pakistan said New Zealand was wary of attack outside the stadium in Rawalpindi which prompted the Kiwis to call off the tour.
Raja, who was elected PCB chairman last Monday, was frustrated after New Zealand took a unilateral decision to pull out despite spending five days in the federal capital and having two training sessions at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.
Raja also said he was disappointed New Zealand did not share the security threat with either the PCB or the Pakistan government. He plans to raise the issue with the International Cricket Council.
Raja, a renowned cricket commentator known in the cricketing fraternity as the “Voice of Pakistan”, appealed for the country’s fans to help the team come out of this crisis.
“Your pain and my pain are the same, it’s a shared pain,” he said. “Whatever happened is not good for Pakistan cricket…The point is that we have experienced this before but we have to move forward.”
The New Zealand move has also put in doubt England’s short tour to Pakistan in October for a two-match Twenty20 series before the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
The England Cricket Board has said it will take the decision on the tour to Pakistan this weekend. Both England men’s and women’s teams are scheduled to tour Pakistan next month.
Pakistan are due to play New Zealand in a World Cup group game on October 26, two days after they take on rivals India in their opener.
“I want to say to my cricket team: vent your frustration and anger by performing well (at the World Cup),” Raja said. “When you become the best team, everybody will want to play against you.
“We should learn from this and move forward, we don’t need to get disappointed.”