OneIndia24News: BCCI president Sourav Ganguly invited PCB chairman Ramiz Raja for IPL, here’s WHY Pakistan counterpart didn’t attend

The bilateral cricketing ties between neighbours India and Pakistan have been halted for many years now. The two sides only face off against each other these days in ICC events, the last encounter being at the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 in Dubai. The last time both sides met in a bilateral series was in the 2012/13 season when Pakistan had toured India for two T20Is and three ODIs in December/January.

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja had made an attempt to introduce a four-nation series involving India (the other two being England and Australia), but the idea was rejected by the ICC board. During a press conference on Friday (June 25), Raja revealed that he was also invited by Sourav Ganguly to the Indian Premier League on two separate occasions; however, he didn’t go due to potential anger from Pakistani fans.

“See, I’ve had conversations with Sourav Ganguly on the sidelines. I keep telling him, there are 2-3 cricketers who are currently the board presidents or chairman. If we can’t bring a difference, what’s the point? He also has his own concerns, unfortunately. On two different occasions, he invited me to IPL; once in Dubai and once this year. I was confused about whether or not to attend. I thought if I went there, fans will not spare me. There might be a cricketing sense to it (attending the IPL), yes, but right now, there are some cracks that need to be filled because it’s a political game,” said Raja.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), who are feeling ‘short-changed’ by the Indian Premier League (IPL) potentially getting a two-and-a-half-month window in the next ICC Future Tours Programme (FTP), will raise the issue and challenge the development at the ICC AGM in July. In the bid document for the IPL’s recent media-rights auction, the BCCI had also said the number of matches in the IPL could go up to 84 in 2025 and 2026, and up to 94 in 2027.

But, PCB’s comments came after BCCI secretary Jay Shah’s recent remark that the Indian board will be getting an extended window for the IPL in the ICC’s next FTP cycle, which will make sure ‘all the top international cricketers can participate’.

However, there has been no announcement from the ICC about the window and the FTP for the next eight-year cycle has not yet been finalised. Notably, the Indian Premier League (IPL) doesn’t allow Pakistan players to take part except in the first season of the league in 2008 due to poor political relations between the two countries. As a result, the IPL window arguably impacts Pakistan’s international season more than other members.

“There hasn’t been any announcement on increasing the IPL window. I have views on it which we’ll raise at the ICC platform in the July meeting,” said Ramiz Raja, the PCB chairman, during a press conference on Friday.

(with IANS inputs)

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