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Expressing disappointment over New Zealand and England’s decision to pull out of their respective tours of Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said money has become a big player now, and that “India being the richest board, controls world cricket.”

In an interview with Middle East Eye, Khan said England would not have dared to do the same to India “because they know that, (with) the sums involved, India can sort of produce much more money. Money is a big player now for the players as well as the cricket board. (The) Indian cricket board is the richest, so India basically controls world cricket,” he said.

Khan, former Pakistan cricket captain, said the decision was “disappointing” and pointed out that Pakistan toured England in July 2021 during the Covid-19 lockdown. “They should ask themselves the question, what would they have thought if some country did that to them,” he said.

The Pakistan PM also criticised New Zealand for cancelling its tour on September 17 after a bomb threat. Calling the threat “fake news”, he added: “The biggest worry for the protection of foreign teams is for us. Imagine if something happens in Pakistan. We are responsible and we have one of the best intelligence agencies in the world.”

Earlier, Pakistan-born Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja said “money talks” and teams would never say no to touring India but it is “easy for players and organisations” to turn down assignments in Pakistan or Bangladesh.

As per the schedule, New Zealand was slated to play three ODIs and five T20Is in Pakistan from September 17 to October 3. England was scheduled to play two T20Is against the Men in Green on October 13 and 14.

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