“Wait For Right Time…”: Anurag Thakur On Ramiz Raja’s 2023 World Cup Warning

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Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur has said India is a major power in the world of sports and no country can overlook the country. He was responding to a query about the remarks of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja that if India does not come for Asia Cup, Pakistan won’t go for 2023 World Cup to be hosted by India. “Wait for the right time. India is a major power in the world of sports and no country can overlook India,” Thakur said.

Raja recently insisted that if the Indian cricket team doesn’t take part in the Asia Cup, which is scheduled to be held in Pakistan next year, their team will also not play in the ICC ODI World Cup in India.

“Our position is blunt that if they (Indian team) come then we will go to the World Cup, if they don’t come then let them do it. Let them play without Pakistan. If Pakistan does not participate in the World Cup scheduled in India next year, who will see it? We will adopt an aggressive approach, our team is showing performance, we have defeated the biggest business-making cricket team in the world, we have played the final of the T20 World Cup. I have always said that we have to improve the economy of Pakistan cricket and that will only happen when our team performs well, we have done it in the 2021 T20 World Cup. Beat India, we beat India in the Asia Cup, Pakistan cricket team has beaten the board of billion dollar economy twice in one year,” Ramiz Raja was quoted as saying by Urdu News.

Earlier in October, BCCI secretary Jay Shah had indicated that the 2023 Asia Cup, schduled to be held in Pakistan, could be held at a neutral venue. After Shah’s remarks about holding Asia Cup at a neutral venue, the PCB issued a statement that it can impact Pakistan’s visit to India for the ICC ODI World Cup 2023.

“The overall impact of such statements has the potential to split the Asian and international cricketing communities and can impact Pakistan’s visit to India for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 and future ICC Events in India in the 2024-2031 cycle,” PCB had said then.

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Following PCB’s statement, Thakur had said that India will host the 2023 WC with all teams. “It is an internal matter of BCCI and it will handle the issue smartly. We have not done anything wrong yet while hosting international tournaments before. We have hosted World Cup successfully before and all teams participated happily. We will host the tournament next year and all teams will play in it,” Thakur had said in October.

BCCI President Roger Binny also said that touring Pakistan for Asia Cup 2023 is not the board’s call, but they will rely on the government’s decision.

“That is not our call. We cannot say where our team has to go. We need to take clearance from the government if we leave the country, or other countries come here. We cannot take that decision on our own, we have to rely on the government,” Binny had said.

2023 will mark the first time ever that India will host the marquee cricketing event by itself. It co-hosted the 1987 World Cup with Pakistan and the 1996 World Cup with Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The tournament made its return to India in 2011 when it co-hosted it along with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. India also emerged victorious in the 2011 edition of the tournament.

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