What to expect from Ramiz Raja as PCB chairman?
Former captain Ramiz Raja is likely to become the new chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
The post was left vacant after the departure of Ehsan Mani who recently decided to not continue in the role after three years in charge.
With Raja almost ready to take up the highest position in the PCB after the elections that are scheduled to take place on September 13, many are speculating about how his tenure will be and what to expect from him.
Here are a few statements of the 59-year-old that hint at his potential steps as the future PCB boss.
More opportunities for youngsters
Raja has been quite vocal about selecting young blood and giving them ample opportunity to exhibit their talent. He has criticised the selectors in the past for calling up young cricketers but not giving them a place in the playing XI, instead preferring those ‘recycled’ players over the new ones.
“You select a team with a lot of uncapped players and it is appreciated because there is an eye on the future and then you don’t play them,” he had said on his YouTube channel on June 4, 2021. “It’s just like sending an all-decked-up bride back without getting her married. Then you suddenly look back to the recycled players. Not only are they recalled to the team but they are also given a chance in playing XI. They are preferred over the uncapped players.”
Encourage Babar to have positive mindset
Raja has been critical of the Pakistan team’s mindset as he believes that the think tank and the skipper Babar Azam is afraid of defeats, therefore, they do not experiment.
“Babar Azam is a young captain and he will have to change the environment of the team because I don’t think the think tank is even trying to change it,” he said while analysing Pakistan’s miserable performance in the recently concluded ODI series against England. “Babar has to realise that he will get the attention when Pakistan win, but they cannot win in this environment, where they are afraid of losing games, experimenting and only trying to play safe cricket,” he added.
“How will you improve the skill level with this mantra? When you do not take any chances, how will you become a good team? When your skill is not challenged, how will you become a great player?” he questioned.
Hafeez and Malik’s likely exit
The upcoming T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place in the UAE where the experienced all-rounders Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez can play a key role as the conditions suit their style of play.
However, the future of the duo does not seem bright as Raja has called for their retirement various times. In response, the two experienced campaigners have not stayed quiet and replied to him with some harsh words as well.
Earlier, the cricketer-turned-commentator had asked the 40-year-old Hafeez to retire from international cricket, to which he responded by saying: “I acknowledge Ramiz’s [Raja] services for Pakistan cricket as a player. I respect his opinion, but I have reservations over his cricketing sense and game awareness. If you talk to my 12-year-old son, even his game awareness is better than Ramiz Bhai.”
On another occasion, the former skipper, during an interview, had advised the senior duo to retire gracefully from international cricket on which Malik had taken a dig at him.
“Yes Ramiz Raja bhai agreed. Since all three of us are [at] the end of our careers let’s retire gracefully together – I’ll call and let’s plan this for 2022?” wrote Malik.
The former opening batsman did not take this sarcasm well and replied.
“1- Retire gracefully .. from what?.. speaking my mind on Pak cricket? Sticking my neck out for Pak cricket? Wanting Pak cricket back at [the] top? No chance.. won’t be gracefully retiring from that ever Malik Sahib! As for your post-retirement plans..,” he wrote. “2- Would be tough to start commentating in 2022 as that would make you my age almost and talking of careers, don’t need a tutorial from you of all the people as history, which is a great teacher, would tell you that I retired while I was [the] captain of Pak team,” he continued.
The aforementioned banter between the potential new PCB chairman and the seasoned pair depict that they don’t share a friendly relationship when it comes to their future in the team.
The 59-year-old has also expressed the idea of hiring specialist coaches for each tour or series.
“I think there is no need to have permanent coaches with the team for all tours and we should only be appointing specialist coaches as required on tour to tour [and] series to series basis,” he had suggested. “Appointment of coaches should be tour-based and opposition based. Use their expertise for a series and move on rather than carry on with them for a long period.”
He had also critiqued the current head coach Misbah Ul Haq, calling him the ‘poor man’s Dhoni’.
“Misbah’s training and upbringing is different. Let me put it this way, he is the poor man’s Dhoni. The former Indian skipper was also restrained, no expressions and no emotions. Misbah is also like this, but I think he should adopt modern thinking now,” he had said in an interview.
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