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Sports

March 24, 2016

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Pakistan cricket needs a complete revamp, says Wasim Akram

Pakistan cricket needs a complete revamp, says Wasim Akram

MOHALI, India: Sporting a jeans and T-shirt and carrying his backpack, Wasim Akram walked in the dining area of Taj Chandigarh and instantly became the centre of attention.

In a blink, he took away the limelight from the likes of New Zealand stars Ross Taylor, Grant Elliot, Trent Boult and Corey Anderson who were all breakfasting in a restaurant packed with guests.

It’s been 13 years since Wasim played the last game of his illustrious international career but the legendary pacer remains a big crowd-puller even in India. Especially in India.

Fans made a beeline for take selfies but Wasim, who was in a hurry to catch a flight to Delhi, excused himself.

But he forgot all about his travel plans once I asked him about what’s wrong with this Pakistan team?

“What’s not wrong with it,” he replied as the waiter placed a dossa platter in front of him.

“I mean we have not been doing anything right. In yesterday’s game Sharjeel’s knock was the only silver lining and to some extent Sami’s bowling. Otherwise we were really bad in all areas,” he said.

But Wasim doesn’t think that the problem lies in Pakistan’s brittle batting line-up or the selectors who picked it.

“What we have here is the best lot that was available in Pakistan. They are the cream. The problem is that most of them aren’t world class and for that I blame our system, which is extremely faulty,” said Wasim, who recently helped Islamabad United win the inaugural Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Wasim blames Pakistan’s cricket chiefs for repeating the same things again and again, expecting different results.

“Our cricket is ten years behind the modern game. We are lagging behind teams like New Zealand because we haven’t updated or upgraded our system. You can’t keep repeating your mistakes and then expect different results.”

Wasim believes that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has committed too many mistakes in the past few years.

“We are now paying the price for mistakes committed several years ago. Such is our situation that if we change our game plan now and start doing things right even then it will take around five years to get any positive results.

“If we are lucky we might get some respite by the time the next World Cup (in 2019 in England) takes place.”

Wasim wants Pakistan to focus more on youngsters.

“We should invest in our younger lot,” he said. “We should think long-term and work on players who have their careers in front of them and not on the seniors who are in their twilight years.”

There are speculations Pakistan have made up their mind about hiring a foreign coach to replace Waqar Younis after the World Twenty20 but Wasim doesn’t think that it will make much of a difference.

“Even the best foreign coaches can’t do anything with this kind of flawed talent,” he said.

Wasim wants PCB to bring in more professionals to help it revamp Pakistan cricket.

“There are so many wrongs in our system. There are people in the Board and in the academies who have been there for years and maybe decades without much to show.

“You can’t continue with them and then expect any positive change.

“I’m clear in my mind that Pakistan cricket needs a complete revamp. I also believe that the current people (in the Board) can’t do it.

“Unless we bring in professionals and invest heavily in our domestic cricket nothing would really change and we will keep on experiencing disappointments and heartbreaks,” said Wasim, who took the last sip of his tea before saying goodbye.

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