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Lack of home cricket affecting our players, says Zaheer

Lack of home cricket affecting our players, says Zaheer

KARACHI: Former Test captain Zaheer Abbas who is Pakistan’s nominee for ICC President’s post believes that the main reason for the country’s downslide in international cricket is the refusal of teams to tour the region because of security concerns.

“It has hurt our cricket enormously. Teams have not been coming to Pakistan since 2009 and in all these years our younger set of players have not had the right exposure or opportunities to develop themselves,” Zaheer said.

Well-known for his penchant for big scores and one of a select band of cricketers to have scored 100 first-class hundreds, Zaheer said the absence of international cricket in Pakistan had stunted the growth of young players. “The rest of the cricket nations have moved ahead since their players are getting opportunities to improve in the IPL and at home, but our players sadly are not getting those chances,” he pointed out.

“It is a good sign that Zimbabwe came last month but there is still a lot of work to be done before we can have regular international matches in Pakistan,” he added.

The former Test batsman said he was honoured to be nominated for the ICC post and would try his best to assist the PCB in convincing the ICC and member boards to offer more support to Pakistan to revive international matches. “I have many ideas which I would like to share in the ICC and I realise I am going there as an ambassador of Pakistan cricket,” he said.

Zaheer also felt that it was not a bad idea if the PCB worked on the lines of having an advisory panel of former players on the lines of BCCI. “Why not, it is a good step forward for India and I think the PCB should also give more responsibilities to players outside the board,” he said.

Zaheer also felt that cricket had changed a lot but the art of batting remained ingrained in timing. “Cricket is not a sport for wrestlers, it is still all about timing. There be more money and professionalism in the sport today compared to when we played, but the basics remain the same,” he observed.

Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2015

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