"basically, India controls world cricket now."
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that India controls world cricket.
It comes after the England Cricket Board (ECB) cancelled their tour in Pakistan.
Both England’s male and female teams were due to play in the country in October 2021.
However, the tours were cancelled following concerns of a potential attack outside Rawalpindi Stadium.
On England’s decision, the Prime Minister told Middle East Eye:
“England let themselves down because I expected a bit more from England. I did not expect them to act unilaterally without consulting anyone.
“I think that there is still this feeling in England that they do a great favour to play with countries like Pakistan.
“One of the reasons is that, obviously, the money. Money is a big player now. For the players, as well as for the cricket boards.
“The money lies in India, so basically, India controls world cricket now. I mean, they do, whatever they say goes.
“No one would dare do that to India because they know that with the sums involved, India can produce much more money.”
Ramiz Raja, chair of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and former international batsman previously said:
“The ICC [Indian Cricket Board] is a politicised body divided between the Asian and Western blocs and 90% of its revenues is generated from India. It is frightening.
“In a way, India’s business houses are running Pakistan cricket and if tomorrow the Indian PM decides he will not allow any funding to Pakistan, this cricket board can collapse.”
The comments come after New Zealand pulled out at the last minute, with the ECB releasing a lengthy statement confirming their cancellation shortly after.
Many Pakistanis were disappointed with the news, including several celebrities.
Cricketer Shoaib Malik tweeted: “Sad news for Pakistan cricket, just stay strong…
“We will be back stronger, inshallah!”
Actor Adnan Siddiqui said:
“Highly unprofessional behaviour by NZ and UK cricket teams.”
“We don’t have to be subservient to them. Shun #colonialhangover.”
Actress Saba Qamar added: “100% behind @TheRealPCB Inshallah we will rise again.”
Jamaican cricketer Chris Gayle also supported Pakistan and tweeted:
“I’m going to Pakistan tomorrow, who coming with me?”
I’m going to Pakistan tomorrow, who coming with me? ???
— Chris Gayle (@henrygayle) September 18, 2021
His tweet attracted a lot of attention among other celebrities.
This included Pakistani singer Asim Azhar who replied:
“Welcome @henrygayle!!! Let us treat you with some good biryani, amazing music and safety like no other.”
The Pakistani men’s cricket team were due to play England in two T20 international matches on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, and Thursday, October 14, 2021.
Meanwhile, the women’s teams were set to play each other for further internationals between Sunday, October 17, 2021, and Thursday, October 21, 2021.
Before becoming involved in politics, Prime Minister Imran Khan was an international cricketer and captain of the men’s national cricket team, which he led to victory in the 1992 Cricket World Cup.