India forgot entire Asia Cup after Virat Kohli century, will we ever do that, questions Ramiz Raja

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Ramiz Raja has hit back at Pakistani critics for their constant beratement of the cricket team


India forgot entire Asia Cup after Virat Kohli century, will we ever do that, questions Ramiz Raja

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SportsCafe Desk


Ramiz Raja has backed the Pakistan cricket team and its skipper, Babar Azam, among fierce criticism, echoing the captain's sentiments of the fans being too harsh. He cited the example of how criticism for India's disastrous Asia Cup campaign was subdued once Virat Kohli ended his century drought.

Pakistan are going through a rough patch at the moment with concerns around their middle order growing rapidly even as the World T20 in Australia beckons. The team recently lost a seven-match T20I series at home against England, less than a month after failing to clinch the Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates following a loss to Sri Lanka in the final. Even though skipper Babar Azam and opening partner Mohammad Rizwan have been raking in the runs at the top of the order, the rest of the team has failed to back them up sufficiently. Moreover, the duo's success has had to endure a layer of doubt as well as people have questioned their intent by bringing the strike rate under the scanner.

Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ramiz Raja has admitted his side did not play up to their potential in the final of the continental tournament but not before raising questions of the fans. He revealed a conversation he had with the team's skipper and went on to slam the critics for their constant bickering.

"Babar Azam often tells me that we face too much criticism. Many times I give him assurance and tell him that, thankfully, cricket is not ignored like other sports. Fans are engaged and they will always have an opinion," Raja said in a discussion on Samaa TV, as quoted by India Today.

"Previously we used to falter at the very first hurdle. Yes, we reached the final and yes, we did not play well. But it's okay to have a bad day," he added.

Despite their failure, Pakistan did manage a crucial victory over India in the Super Four stage of the tournament to reach the title clash, ensuring their arch-rivals crash out in the penultimate stage. However, the Men in Blue's sole victory in the second stage was enough to keep the fans happy since it featured Virat Kohli's first international century in nearly three years. The landmark knock meant a lot of the criticism for the subcontinent side was lost amongst the praises for the former Indian skipper, a culmination of events Raja doubts will ever occur in his own country.

"There were other teams as well in the Asia Cup. I mean then India should then have been severely criticized for not reaching the final. But that is not what their fans and media do," Raja pointed out.

"I'll tell you when Virat Kohli scored a century against Afghanistan, they forgot their entire Asia Cup. Will we ever do that? What we say is that Babar Azam scored a ton, but his strike rate was 135 while David Warner's was 147.3. So this is useless," the PCB Chairman concluded.

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