‘Ganguly invited me to IPL but I thought if I went there, fans won’t spare me’ | Cricket

Bilateral cricket between India and Pakistan is currently on hold due to tense diplomatic relations between the two countries. The last time the two sides met in a bilateral series was in the 2012-13 season, when Pakistan had visited India in December/January for two T20Is and three ODIs. Since then, cricket matches between the two teams have been limited to continental (Asia Cup) and global (ICC) tournaments.

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The last time India and Pakistan met on a cricket ground was during the 2021 T20 World Cup, where the Babar Azam-led squad took a 10-wicket victory over the Men in Blue. Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja had further attempted to introduce a four-country 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, Raja revealed that he had also been invited to the Indian Premier League by Sourav Ganguly on two separate occasions; however, he didn’t go due to possible fan anger.

“Look, I’ve had conversations with Sourav Ganguly on the sidelines. I keep telling him there are 2-3 cricketers who are currently the board chairman or chairman. If we can’t make a difference, then what’s the point?

“He also has his own concerns, unfortunately. On two separate occasions he invited me to IPL; once in Dubai and once this year. I wasn’t sure whether or not I should go with it. I thought if I went there, fans wouldn’t spare me. It may have a feel for cricket (attending the IPL), yes, but at the moment there are some cracks that need to be filled as it is a political game,” Raja said.

However, the PCB chairman was positive about the future as he referred to Pakistan sealing the hosting rights for the 2025 Champions Trophy.

“If it was a cricket match, it would have been resolved in two minutes. Look, we’ve secured the hosting rights for 2025 Champions Trophy, which means we’ve tried to break that influence and people are starting to recognize that the Pakistani team and the fans deserve such world-class events,” said Raja.

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