One on one with Raja

Now Reading:

One on one with Raja


PCB boss talks about drop-in pitches, women’s PSL and taking the game forward in the country

Former captain and opening batter Ramiz Raja was elected unanimously and unopposed as the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) new chairman on September 13, 2021.

As soon as he got into power, he made some tall and bold promises, which were welcomed by a few and were criticised by some.

He talked about fixing the domestic structure, rectifying how pitches behave in Pakistan, promoting cricket at the junior level, taking international cricket to different parts of the country, working to improve women’s cricket in Pakistan and many others.

As Raja completed almost his six months in the office, we sat down with him at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore during the third Test between Pakistan and Australia to talk about the fulfilment of his promises, future plans and strategy as the PCB boss.



Q: Everybody is sort of curious about exactly from where you got that figure of 71 per cent profits for Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchises even before a ball was bowled of PSL 7? Would you like to explain it like how did it work, whether it is because of the pool of income that you increased?

A: The numbers I got are straightforward. All the properties have increased from 300 per cent to 20 per cent. Till last season, they had a share of $3 million from the pool of income, which has been increased to over $5 million. So even before a ball was even bowled, they had earned about Rs900 million. It is a record because these franchises did not earn that much before.

Moreover, I got to know that one franchise sell the logo of their shirt for $3.5 million, so it becomes $8.5 million that has gone in the kitty. If you subtract $2 million out of that amount in the name of different expenses, still franchise earned more than $6 million, which is over Rs900 million.


Q: Taking this forward, you said that you want to take PSL to different cities from the next year onwards. Do you think that the law and order situation is good enough to achieve that target? Also, where do you want to take it to?

A: Yes, it is. First I want to take it to the franchises’ headquarters and after that, we will see what neutral venues are there that can be explored.


Q: Some people thought during the PSL that Karachi has hosted enough cricket, which is why fans are not attracted to it as much as cricket enthusiasts in smaller cities. Do you have any plans that if Pakistan hosts another Test series, we play it somewhere else, like Multan or somewhere?

A: We have some security concerns and venues for Tests are firmed up by the teams beforehand. So, shifting these games is a bit difficult. Also, I think we need to improve the infrastructure in smaller cities a lot. Then we have to consider how good hotels are there. Also, we are about to redo pitches all over the country. So this process is quite a lengthy one.

However, in an ideal world, we would want to spread the game around in smaller towns and cities all over the country clearly.


Q: You talked about pitches, so let’s talk about it a bit. There is a lot of discussions about the pitches used in this ongoing series between Pakistan and Australia. Do you feel that we have used our home advantage in the right manner against a team like Australia in a historic series?

A: See, when I first came in the PCB chairman’s office, I said that these pitches are going to improve significantly. So we are able to curate these pitches by working at the best of our capacity, as long as I have been informed. So, obviously, this is not an ideal situation. Having said that, we will see improvement in the wickets as we move forward.



Q: You had also talked about drop-in pitches, let us know when that plan can be implemented?

A: Drop-in pitches take a bit of time but in the meanwhile, we are calling the man who makes drop-in pitches to Pakistan in March or April. We have already placed the order for the soil in Australia, I think from Adelaide or Brisbane, I am not really sure about it; however, we have done it already.

The plan is that before leaving for the [T20] World Cup [which is scheduled to take place in Australia in October later this year], we can make three or four such pitches for our players, which can have bounce and replicate the conditions that we will find there in Australia.


Q: You just talked about the upcoming T20 World Cup, what do you think should be our realistic objectives going into that mega event because we have just played semi-final [in the T20 World Cup 2021 that Pakistan lost to Australia after a thrilling contest]. So do you think that this team has the potential to become the world champions in Australia?


A: I think they certainly have. They have limitless potential. The sooner we will get acclimatised with the conditions in Australia and keep our self-belief, then we can surely advance in the World Cup. We surely have a world-class side.


Q: A few questions about the women’s PSL. You talked about starting a franchise-based league for women, so what is the progress in this regard? Would you like to share something regarding it?

A: We are working on it. Hopefully, we will be able to launch the women’s league by February next year.


Q: Recently a women’s domestic tournament [Women’s Pakistan Cup] took place in Karachi where I was working with the broadcast. I have a fair bit of idea that the pool of players is too small in our women’s cricket. If I am not wrong, the tournament had four teams and everybody agreed that those four teams did not have the quality and were substandard. So, how will you make up for that lack of quality players?


A: See, we will have to induct a women’s team alongside each of the provincial men’s teams that we have at the moment. So we have to make six First-Class teams, only then we can improve the quality. Moreover, we have to mirror the same system as of men in our women’s cricket, like Under 19s, Under 17s and a pool of 100 best young female cricketers, who can be groomed further.

It is a long haul. It cannot be done overnight. The concept of women’s PSL has a lot of traction and if you are able to organise such a tournament, it will make a massive difference.


Q: You also talked about U-19s PSL. Kindly, tell us something about that as well.

A: We have written to the International Cricket Council (ICC), I guess ICC should not have any problem with that. It is almost like a formality. We are all guns blazing. Hopefully, if everything goes well, we will launch it in October.



Q: Last thing now, what can be the implications in Pakistan cricket of this successful tour of Australia? Also, moving forward, we talk about stadiums. The number of stadiums in the country is too low. I guess you had said that you have got the land in Islamabad for a stadium. Please tell us something about what are you thinking regarding increasing the number of venues.

A: The up-gradation or construction of new stadiums take up to four or five years. We have plans in place, we are trying to construct about 70 rooms near stadiums so that there are no traffic issues for the public during the bilateral series at least. A lot of work is going to be done in infrastructure. A lot of work!


Catch all the Breaking News Event and Latest News Updates on The BOL News

Download The BOL News App to get the Daily News Update & Live News.

End of Article
More Newspaper Articles
A lost world around PSL
Lahore Qalandars on new mission
The man who fixed the fixers
Sultans’ supremacy
Woods welcomed amid cheers
Criminal negligence

Next Story

How Would You Like to Open this News?

How Would You Like to Open this News?

Would you like me to read the next story for you. Master?