Conceding that it was Indian money that was, in a way, keeping the Pakistan Cricket Board afloat and PCB chairman Ramiz Raja said India’s financial clout in the world game was the reason no other ICC member country could go against them.
In that context, Raja told a Senate Standing Committee that the Indian government can trigger a collapse of the PCB if it were so inclined.
“The PCB gets 50 percent of its funding from the ICC. The ICC conducts tournaments and the income generated from them is distributed among its member boards,” Raja told the panel.
“Now, 90 percent of the ICC funding is generated from the Indian market. In other words, Indian business houses are running Pakistan cricket. If tomorrow, the Indian Prime Minister decides that they will not fund Pakistan cricket, there’s a possibility that the PCB can collapse.”
The PCB has been left high and dry in recent times with New Zealand and England pulling out of tours to the country. The Kiwis, in fact, had arrived in Pakistan but decided to fly home literally minutes before the first One-Day International citing unspecified “security threats.”
Pakistan’s Interior minister Sheikh Rashid had alleged a conspiracy in this regard, claiming that the emails threatening the New Zealand team originated from accounts based in India.
This after virtually no international cricket taking place in Pakistan for more than a decade after a terrorist attack against the visiting Sri Lankan team in Lahore. Also, there has been no bilateral series for a decade and a half against India, the biggest draw card for any host country – and more so for Pakistan – due to frosty relations between the two countries.
PCB has been lamenting for a long time about being isolated at the ICC, that no other country has supported it despite the country undertaking several tours over the last year and a half during the global pandemic. In fact, England’s tour of Pakistan was considered a return goodwill gesture for last year’s tour of the United Kingdom, during which players had to remain in a strict bio-bubble when the coronavirus was raging in that country.
India, England, and Australia are informally dubbed the ‘Big Three’ in the ICC as no major decision – financial or cricketing – can be implemented without their nod. Many in Pakistan see the country’s isolation in the world body as a result of India flexing its muscles.
“Australia will not stand up to them (India). No country will stand up to them. You saw what happened – they (New Zealand) packed up and left in two minutes. That’s because they don’t have their own interest in playing in Pakistan, as our cricketing economy is not that strong,” Raja told the Senate Standing Committee.