The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday threatened to take legal action against Ramiz Raja after a war of words broke out between the Board’s new management committee and the former chairman following his unceremonious exit.
Last Thursday, Raja was removed as PCB chairman by the country’s government, which appointed a 14-member committee, headed by Najam Sethi, to run the affairs of the game for the next four months.
Following his sacking, Raja alleged that he was not allowed to even take his belongings from the board office after the government suspended the constitution.
“Najam Sethi tweets at 2 in the night that Ramiz Raja is out. Is this respect for a former captain? I was not even allowed to go to the office and collect my belongings,” Raja said on Monday on his YouTube channel.
“The morning after the announcement was made to remove me they were around 17 people running all over the PCB offices as if they owned it. It was as if I had committed some crime and I would take some incriminating evidence from my office. What tamasha is this? These people have just come to enjoy themselves and get the publicity... they know nothing about cricket.”
The former batter said that one shouldn’t expect anything good for Pakistan cricket with the new committee in power.
“What happened to me is just political victimisation and vendetta just because I was appointed by the opposition party although I have no political links with anyone. I was appointed based on my cricket and administrative credentials.”
Raja said the committee was taking decisions which will eventually destroy the environment in the Pakistan dressing room.
He also spoke about the difference in expenses he incurred on the board as chairman and the amount Sethi had spent as chairman in the past.
“These people know nothing about cricket, they have just come in for the glory and limelight. I am bitter and frustrated because I was not allowed to complete my three-year tenure and all my plans for the betterment of Pakistan cricket have been demolished just to accommodate one person.”
Sethi and the committee were clearly stung by Raja’s remarks and have issued a statement, insisting that they reserved the right to take legal action against the former captain for his allegations.
The statement said that Raja’s comparison of his and the current chairman’s expenses during his previous term is misleading and inaccurate as the circumstances are incomparable.
As per the PCB, Sethi’s expenses were higher since he had to travel a lot abroad as the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and international matches were held in UAE.
“Pakistan Super League 2016 to 2018 were held offshore, implying many visits to the UAE to organise the marquee tournament. However, no PSL allowances have ever been paid to current chairman Sethi and this information has been merely presented as a potential payable. In contrast, PSL 2022 was held under former chairman Mr. Raja and was staged only in Karachi and Lahore. Foreign tour expenses are high for current chairman Mr. Sethi as, during his previous tenure, PSL and Pakistan’s home international matches were played outside Pakistan.
“Therefore, the current chairman was required to make frequent visits to the UAE for PSL and bilateral series and for related meetings. All travel expenses were approved by the appropriate authorities and were duly audited (internally and externally).”
The statement also claimed that “car allowance was paid to the current chairman Mr. Sethi as per the Board of Governors’ approval as he had used his personal armoured vehicle due to security threats.
“On the contrary, the PCB provided former chairman Mr. Raja with a brand new armoured vehicle costing Rs 16.5 million.
“Security expense of current chairman Mr. Sethi was high owing to additional security that needed to be provided to him as he was a former chief minister of the Punjab province and the Intelligence Bureau and Special Branch Punjab had issued advisory of threats to him.”
The PCB also said it had never stopped Raja from entering the stadium and his belongings would be returned to him on Wednesday and he was always welcome to come to the stadium.
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