The 2025 Champions Trophy hosting rights being awarded to Pakistan came as a result of pressure on the International Cricket Council (ICC), Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja has claimed.
New Zealand’s unilateral decision to abruptly abort their Pakistan tour and England’s last minute pull-out from their scheduled visit in September last year triggered criticism from the then newly-appointed Ramiz.
By the end of the year, the ICC announced Pakistan as the hosts for the 2025 Champions Trophy and New Zealand and England agreed for tours late in 2022 and 2023 following talks between their boards and PCB.
“The ICC was under pressure when New Zealand and England cancelled their tours,” Ramiz said during a press conference at the National Stadium here on Wednesday.
“And when the pressure was created then we got the Champions Trophy, which means the ICC recognised that Pakistan was treated wrongly.”
Last month, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) reportedly agreed to pay the PCB an undisclosed amount as compensation for abandoning the series and the Black Caps are scheduled to visit Pakistan for two Tests in December this year and five One-day Internationals and as many T20s in April 2023.
England will visit for seven T20s in September while Pakistan have also been invited by the NZC for a tri-nation T20 tournament involving Bangladesh in October.
Ramiz said the high number of matches for the team’s scheduled tours were also a part of the compensation. The PCB chief, though, said the board enjoyed good relationships with the England and Wales Cricket Board and NZC, as well as the ICC.
“Our relations with the ICC are good but from a commercial point of view, we feel we deserve more and I’m going raise this issue in [the meeting] in July and I’ll ask them to increase our return,” he said.
Ramiz also named former captains Javed Miandad, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik and former West Indies skipper Darren Sammy as ‘league mentors’ for the inaugural Pakistan Junior League.
The franchise-based tournament, which is going to feature local and international under-19 players, is set to be held in October.
Miandad, who featured for Pakistan in 124 Tests, will assume the role of “an overall mentor, assisting the mentors of the six sides and the players during the tournament”, according to a PCB statement.
“In addition to the team mentor roles, ethe four household names will also serve as event ambassadors and will use their knowledge, influence and attraction to promote and publicise the first of its kind event,” it added.
As part of grassroots development, Ramiz also signed an agreement with local conglomerate Engro Corporation. Under the agreement, the corporation will bear the cost of high performance coaches hired by the PCB to coach teenagers enrolled in the PCB Pathway Cricket Programme.
According to the PCB, The coaches will provide Pakistan’s young cricket talent with world-class and specialised training in various cricket disciplines like fast bowling, spin bowling, fielding/wicketkeeping, batting, and power hitting.
A total of 100 contracts for junior cricketers between 13 and 19 years of age were already announced in February as part of the programme.