Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ramiz Raja recently made a strong statement about the cricketing equation between India and Pakistan. Ramiz stressed how the Indian team has started to ‘respect’ Pakistan as an opponent now while also terming Rohit Sharma’s men as a “billion-dollar side”. When India stalwart Ravichandran Ashwin was informed about Ramiz’s comments, he gave an apt response. Ashwin, in a press conference from Australia on Monday, said that he wasn’t aware of the comments from Ramiz until he was just informed.
“Until you said that, I didn’t know he made a statement like that. That’s one way of dealing with it,” Ashwin said while speaking to reporters at Perth.
“But look, it’s a game of cricket. Whatever political tensions and whatever stays between the teams, the rivalry is big, it means a lot to the people from both countries. But at the end of the day, whatever you may say as a cricketer and as someone who is playing the sport, you do understand that wins and losses are part of the game, especially in this format, the margins are going to be so close,” he added.
Earlier, Ramiz Raja, in a chat with, Pakistani news outlet Dawn, had explained how far the men’s national team has come over the last couple of years or so, so much so that even the mighty Indians have started to give them respect.
“Pakistan humesha se underdogs rahein hain jab bhi India se muqabla huye hain, but of late, unhone hume respect dena shuru kardiya hain kyunki unke khayal me yeh hain ki Pakistan hume kabhi hara hi nehi sakte. So yehi main kehta hu ki Pakistan ko credit dijiye kyunki ek billion-dollar team cricket industry ko hum harate he (Pakistan have always been underdogs whenever they have played against India. But, of late, they have started to give them respect, knowing that they can be beaten in this contest. This is where Pakistan should get credit as the India is a ‘billion-dollar’ team),” Raja had said.
In the T20 World Cup last year, Pakistan defeated India in a World Cup match for the first time ever. Never before in a World Cup match, be it in the 50-over format or T20, had the neighbouring country secured a win over India before that instance in UAE.
The two teams will square off again in their T20 World Cup 2022 opener on October 23.