LAHORE: PCB chairman Ramiz Raja said Friday that he wants to maintain good relations with Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif after former Prime Minister Imran Khan “cut off contact with him”.
Raja revealed during a press conference on Friday that Khan cut off contact with him soon after he was removed from premiership.
“Imran bhai cut off contact with me, and I haven’t spoken to him in a long time,” Raja said in response to a question about his relationship with his former captain.
Despite speculations about his removal from the PCB, Raja showed respect for the current PCB patron-in-chief and emphasised building relationships with him.
“We can’t live in the midst of rumours; I believe there is a need for continuity apart from political differences,” he said.
“See, our prime minister is our patron-in-chief. We have requested his time, and if he meets with us, we will tell him about our work. I don’t think there is any need for ego here because, in the end, we all want to uplift cricket,” the ex-cricketer explained.
“If there is anything in the constitution about removing the PCB chairman every time, go ahead with it. Otherwise, satisfying individual desires will not benefit the game.”
“The ball is in his [PM Shehbaz’s] court,” the PCB chief concluded.
PM Shehbaz met with former PCB chairman Khalid Mahmood a few days ago. The PCB chairmanship was reportedly on the top of the agenda during their meeting.
BoG approves Rs15 billion budget for PCB
Ramiz Raja also revealed that the Board of Governors (BoG) has approved a Rs15 billion budget for the PCB for the upcoming fiscal year.
According to the chairman, 78% of the budget will be spent on cricket-related activities, including the inaugural of Pakistan Junior League (PJL), the PCB chairman’s dream project.
The chairman also revealed information about central contracts after the BoG approved the budget.
In addition to the operational budget, and in anticipation of the ACC 50-over Asia Cup 2023 and the ICC Champions Trophy 2025, which will be held in Pakistan, the Board of Governors approved funding for infrastructure and stadium upgrades, which include floodlights, replay screens, player dressing rooms, and new spectator chairs.
As part of its duty of care to its employees, the Board of Governors approved the management’s recommendation to implement a training allowance for lower-level employees to help with their children’s education.
Raja indicated that BCCI president Saurav Ganguly invited him to watch the IPL final twice.
“Saurav Ganguly invited me to watch two consecutive IPL finals,” Raja explained. “But I decided not to go because of the emotional connection between our fans and the political situation. Cricket-wise, it made sense to go, but things will take time to change,” he persisted.
Last year, the second half of the IPL was held in the UAE due to rising COVID-19 in India, whereas the entire IPL was held in India this year. According to Raja, he was invited to both editions’ finals.
Pakistani players have not been included in the IPL since its second edition. The national players were only a part of the league’s inaugural season.