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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses a reception hosted in honour of England and Pakistan Cricket Teams at the PM House in Islamabad on December 5, 2022. — Twitter/@pmln_org

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Monday praised Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja for his services in advancing the state of cricket in Pakistan since assuming office.

“Ramiz Raja has done a great job as PCB chairman,” PM Shehbaz said while addressing a dinner hosted for the Pakistan and England teams at the PM House in Islamabad.

“I was young in a government college and his [Raja] father was then additional commissioner Lahore and he was a great fan of cricket. We used to get free cricket passes from his father. That’s how we know each other,” the premier recalled.

This was the first time that PM Shehbaz and Raja met since the former assumed office in April this year.

Guests of the evening included players of both the teams, PCB chairman, England, Wales Cricket Board (ECB)’s Managing Director Rob Key, British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner, and Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal.

During his address, PM Shehbaz congratulated the England team for their victory and thanked them to tour Pakistan once again. The two teams are currently playing a three-match Test series.

“Congratulations! England played very well in this Test match and they deserve this victory,” the premier said.

“I believe in this Pakistan team. I am confident that my team will bounce back in Multan,” he said hoping for Pakistan’s win in the next Test.

The prime minister also thanked English skipper Ben Stokes, who was not present on the occasion, for his donation to Pakistan’s flood-affected population.

“Ben Stokes is not here but I would like to thank him for his contribution towards helping flood-hit people in Pakistan. England and its people have always helped Pakistan. His donation will be really helpful for the people here,” he said.

Soon after his arrival in Pakistan, Stokes announced that he will donate his match fees for all three Tests for flood-hit families in the country.

Later, on Twitter, the prime minister wrote that it was great to host England and Pakistan cricket teams at the PM House this evening.

“Cricket is a shared passion that binds our two countries in a close relationship,” he mentioned in his tweet congratulating England for their win earlier in the day.

England’s team returned to Pakistan this year for Test cricket and have won the first match by 74 runs, leading the series 1-0

Earlier, they played seven T20Is in Karachi and Lahore. The English team won that series 4-3.

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