Since the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary, Jay Shah confirmed that Team India has no intention of travelling to Pakistan for the Asia Cup 2023, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and some of its former cricketers have been expressing their disappointment. Ahead of the India vs Pakistan match in the T20 World Cup 2022, even Harbhajan Singh saw himself being dragged into a debate on the topic on a Pakistani news channel. In a fiery mood, Harbhajan accepted a ‘challenge’ that was thrown at him by former Pakistani cricketer Tanveer Ahmed.
“Ramiz Raza had given a statement last year that Pakistan Cricket does not have the kind of money and that they need to look towards the BCCI. Either that or if the BCCI offers PCB money, Pakistan cricket is surviving. If you feel, you don’t want to come to India, please don’t. Who is asking you? If you don’t want to play the ICC event, it’s your call. If our players are not safe there, we won’t send. Don’t play if that’s what you want,” Harbhajan said in a special show, organised by Aaj Tak and Pakistan’s ARY News.
Former Pakistan cricketer, Tanveer Ahmed, who was one of the guests at the show, asked a question to Harbhajan if the Indian team would refuse to come to Pakistan if an ICC event was scheduled there. He challenged Bhajji and the Indian team to refuse a visit to Pakistan in such a case. The retired Indian off-spinner ended up accepting the challenge.
“Harbhajan sahab abhi keh rahe hain, ‘Hum nahi aayenge’. Mera inko challenge hai… agar ICC ka tournament, woh bhi World Cup Pakistan mein hua, ye na aayein toh mujhe batayein,” said the anchor. (Harbhajan is saying right now that India won’t come to Pakistan. I challenge him… that if a World Cup is held in Pakistan, and the Indian team doesn’t come, we shall see), Tanveer said.
“Toh le liya bhai tera challenge (I accept your challenge). Indian cricket knows how to run their cricket. We don’t need PCB. We have an issue and we have said it. If the government gives the approval, sure,” a fired-up Harbhajan responded.
The debate continued, with Harbhajan asserting that Indian cricket doesn’t need Pakistan. The Pakistani anchor also responded saying Pakistan doesn’t need Indian cricket either.
However, as far as the facts go, it is very well known that the BCCI is the biggest contributor to the ICC’s overall revenues.
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