Shoaib urges India to follow England’s example

December 16th, 2008 - 8:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Shoaib AkhtarKarachi, Dec 16 (IANS) Pakistan’s star pacer Shoaib Akhtar Tuesday complimented England for their decision to tour India in spite of security concerns and urged Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men to show a similar spirit by visiting Pakistan next month for a much-awaited cricket series.In a chat with reporters here at the National Stadium, Shoaib also advised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to launch a lucrative Twenty20 league next year to lure foreign cricketers to tour the terror-hit country.

“We have played no Test matches this year and teams always have issues with the security coming to Pakistan,” he said.

“The Indians and other teams need to show the same respect (shown by England) for our cricket and play in our country if our government is giving them security assurances,” Shoaib stressed.

India were scheduled to tour Pakistan from Jan 4 to play three Tests, five One-day Internationals and a Twenty20 International. But the tour is in doubt because of strained relations between the two countries in the wake of last month’s Mumbai terror attacks.

The Indian government says the perpetrators of the attacks operate from Pakistan but Islamabad denies this.

Pakistan cricket has been hit hard because of the security situation in the country.

Earlier this year, Australia refused to play a series here while the International Cricket Council (ICC) was forced to postpone the eight-nation Champions Trophy that was to be held here in September because of security worries.

Shoaib said that by holding a cash-rich league on the lines of the Indian Premier league (IPL), the PCB can bring back foreign cricketers to Pakistan.

“We need to find our own solution or else cricket will die in Pakistan,” he said.

“We should have our own Twenty20 professional league. The money is there and that is one way to get foreign players to play in our country.”

Former PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf had planned to launch the inaugural Pakistan Premier League in October 2009 but the current board regime has shelved those plans because of financial constraints.

But Shoaib said that the proposed league will generate its own funds.

“I know personally there are wealthy individuals and companies in Pakistan and abroad willing to put money into such a project because cricket has big commercial pull in Pakistan.”

Shoaib, 33, said that he has suffered a lot because of injury and suspension in recent years but is now looking forward to continuing hi career till the 2011 World Cup to be co-hosted by Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

“I am working hard on my fitness and I am going to nurse myself through matches. If I can do that properly I see myself completing 400 wickets in one-dayers and playing until the next World Cup.”

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