PCB chairman Ramiz Raja dismisses idea of playing bilateral series against India at neutral venue

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja insists he wants India to resume tours with his country but dismissed the idea of a neutral venue.

England returned to tour Pakistan for the first time since 2005 earlier this year, beginning with seven T20Is in September and October before starting their three-Test series on Thursday.

South Africa were the first country to head back to Pakistan to play Tests in 2021 following a hiatus due to security issues, with Australia also returning to the country earlier this year.

However, India and Pakistan have not played each other outside of major international tournaments since 2008, when Pakistan played three matches in their neighbouring country.

When the sides do meet at ICC events, the TV viewership far exceeds all other cricket matches, with hundreds of millions tuning in, and Raja believes tours should resume.

"That question should be put to India because I'm quite happy playing India anywhere. Not anywhere, but in Pakistan or in India," Raja said.

"It's just that, why should fans suffer? Why should the cricket fraternity suffer? Because it makes a great contest."

England started their first Test in Pakistan in Rawalpindi, where they amassed 657 in their first innings.

Raja believes England's style could be a new avenue for Test cricket, but admitted he is not pleased with the pitch at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.

"Obviously England absolutely nailed the blandness of the pitch and how they performed is just incredible," he said.

"I mean, this is a new template. Hopefully we're seeing a new template in Test-match cricket, which is exciting cricket, which is taking the game to the opposition, where you're selecting T20 players basically to play Test cricket."

On the pitch, he added: "(I'm) not happy at all. I've just mentioned I think our way out is for drop-in pitches here. Because all the surfaces are more or less the same.

"So if you want to nail England, for example, on a spinning track then we've got to prepare a drop-in pitch that turns from ball number one, rather than having this hodgepodge where you get a half-baked pitch which is neither quick nor spins a lot.

"But having said that, the ball is gripping, the ball may just keep low. We may just get a result. It's just not a great advert."

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