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The Wasim Akram vs Ramiz Raja fight goes back 35 years and is not ending any time soon

Mohammad Bilal
Mohammad BilalJan 25, 2023 | 15:39

The Wasim Akram vs Ramiz Raja fight goes back 35 years and is not ending any time soon

Wasim Akram minces no words when it comes to speaking about cricket in Pakistan. The former Pakistani speedster has accused the outgoing Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ramiz Raja of poor management and taking bad decisions. Akram referred to Raja as "a kid who came to operate cricket, but was forced to go back to his place." 

Interestingly, Akram's attack against Raja comes days after the former PCB chief had spoken against him and Waqar Younis.

What Akram said: Speaking to Cricket Pakistan, Akram said: "He came for six days, now he is back to his original place. Najam Sethi has experience. I think it is a wrong concept, that cricketers should be the chairman of the PCB. It is an administrative job, so you need to have proper communication with the boards. Najam Sethi is the right man for the job. I don't care if people get angry."

The 56-year-old also cited the instance few days back when Ramiz Raja had refused to send the Pakistan cricket team to India if the Indian cricket board BCCI refuses to send the Indian team to play Pakistan in the Asia Cup.

Akram said that Najam Sethi gave a very sensible answer on this. He said: "It all depends on approval from both the governments. You have to talk properly (with boards). This is not gully cricket, that if you don't come, we will also not go to your country. I don't understand who are these kids, who come and run cricket in Pakistan."

Wasim Akram. Photo: Getty

Why the two dislike each other? The sudden outburst of Wasim Akram on Ramiz Raja hasn't just come out in the heat of the moment. The two have been cold towards each other since their cricketing days.

  • Prior this statement, Akram had also targetted Ramiz while recallng his stint in the Pakistan cricket team. In his biography Sultan, he said that Ramiz Raja was given the slip fielding position in spite of him being a weak fielder. Akram mentioned that Raja's father was a police commissioner who had powerful sources in the PCB. He specifically mentioned a Test match against New Zealand where Raja dropped more catches than he caught.
  • Akram didn't stop with Ramiz and claimed that nepotism is a vice which has plagued the Pakistan cricket for quite some time now and is even happening today. He said that certain players like Babar Azam, Imam ul Haq and Usman Qadir have made it to the team and continue to maintain spots just because they are related to former cricketers.
  • He went on to say that these players have been given undue favors, at the behest of violating rules and regulations.

Raja's attack against Akram: Ramiz Raja's comment on Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis might have been the trigger for all of this. In December 2022, while speaking to Samaa TV, Ramiz Raja had said that had he been in power, he would have thrown both Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis out from the Pakistan team after their names were found in Justice Qayyum's report on match fixing in 2000.

  • He said that he would have banned the duo permanently from the team, but back then he had no choice but to cooperate with them when they were being reinducted into the team.
  • "I think none of them should have had the chance of coming back to Pakistan cricket. If Wasim Akram's name is there, and he was censored, right? It was a borderline case. If I was the decision maker at the time, I would've banned them forever," Ramiz said.
  • "You brought them back to the system. I wasn't in power at the time. We were told to play with them and work with them, and that was it. No one knew how to tackle that. So many people were involved in that. I don't know what was the compulsion.."
  • "Whoever is tainted, I've zero tolerance for them," he said.
  • Akram and Raja's differences have been been there since the two started playing for Pakistan. The duo have played for Pakistan together from 1985-1997. They featured in 188 international games altogether and were also part of the 1992 World Cup winning squad in England.

Why former Pakistan cricketers speak against each other? The cricketing affairs of the PCB is the main reason why cricketers speak against each other. Ramiz Raja was elevated as PCB chief under the government of Imran Khan, while under Shehbaz Sharif, Najam Sethi is made the PCB chief and Raja was shown the door.

Last updated: January 25, 2023 | 15:39
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