Pakistan's 3-0 loss to Bangladesh ‘unimaginable’: Imran KhanSport
Former captain and legendary allrounder Imran Khan expressed shock over Pakistan's defeat to Bangladesh, terming the 3-0 whitewash 'unimaginable.'
Bangladesh thrashed a woeful Pakistan by eight wickets in Dhaka on Wednesday to sweep the one-day series and leave many fans in disbelief.
Khan blamed “nepotism” in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and a mismanaged domestic structure for Pakistan's slump, termed by many former player as the “lowest point” in the country's cricket history.
Pakistan slipped to eight position in the International Cricket Council rankings after their loss on Wednesday, and stand just above Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
The 62-year-old Khan, who led Pakistan to its only World Cup triumph in 1992, said the rot needed to be addressed at the management level first and foremost before an overhaul came.
“Pakistan’s cricket will not improve as long as there are people in the cricket board who have come through nepotism and without any merit. Sadly the people in our cricket board don’t have any knowledge of cricket,” Khan, who keeps an eye on cricket despite leading the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party, said in an interview on the sidelines of the by-elections in Karachi.
“I never thought Pakistan would lose to Bangladesh 3-0 and drop to number eight in the ODI Rankings.”
Khan revealed that even the great Vivian Richards of the West Indies had identified Pakistan as the “most talented” cricketing nation but a poor system meant the team never realised its true potential.
“Based on my 21-year experience of playing cricket I know that no country in the world has cricketing talent as good as Pakistan.”
“I am not saying it because I belong to this country. Even players like Sir Viv Richards used to say same thing about Pakistan. The best batsman of Pakistan at the moment is Misbah-ul-Haq and he was given chance at the age of 34. Mohammad Irfan was selected at the age of 30. At these ages players are normally thinking about retirements.
“It illustrates how poor the system of cricket has become in Pakistan.”
Khan, who had successful stints in the English and Australian domestic circuit, said it was time Pakistan adopted the blueprint being followed Down Under.
“We need to learn from countries like Australia who have ideal cricket structure,” he said.
“I played in Australia for a season for New South Wales in the Shield and I can safely say that they have the best cricket system due to which their team is always on top and this is the reason they have won so many World Cups.
“Australia only have six teams in its domestic cricket. All players of the country feature among those six teams and due to stiff competition at domestic level they produce so many good cricketers.
“Pakistan on the other hand have 20 teams. It’s due to substandard teams in the domestic cricket that the talent in Pakistan does not get polished.”
The PCB, after its annual Governing Board Meeting on Wednesday, announced a plan to revamp the domestic structure, not along the same lines as Khan's suggestions but perhaps in the right direction.
According the new plan, regional teams associated with the PCB would be sold off to sponsors in a bid to improve quality and offer financial incentives to players.
“One thing is obvious that with no international cricket team in Pakistan we need to boost our domestic players with better pay packages and to improve standards we need to attract sponsorship for regional teams which are the backbone of our domestic structure,” PCB chairman Shahryar Khan said after the meeting.
“If we can sell these regions to sponsors it will also improve status of the game in Pakistan. We will soon advertise to attract sponsors for the regional and district teams.”