Imran asks President Zardari to clean cricket in Pakistan

January 29th, 2009 - 8:22 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 29 (IANS) Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan has asked President Asif Ali Zardari to reform cricket in the country as it is in a mess.Former captain Javed Miandad quit his post as Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) director general after disagreements within the crisis-hit governing body.

“If Zardari really wants to help Pakistan cricket then he must allow it to be an institution. It should be constitution-based and have an elected chairman with elected representatives,” Imran was quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph.

Pakistan’s cricketing woes saw Shoaib Malik replaced as captain by Younus Khan following the team’s humiliating 234-run loss - their worst one-day defeat - against Sri Lanka, who won the series 2-1.

It was the third major reshuffle in as many months. In October, Zardari appointed Ijaz Butt chairman of the cricket board, after Nasim Ashraf resigned. Butt then sacked Australian coach Geoff Lawson for poor team performance.

“Our cricket is as much in a mess as the country,” said Khan.

“Our domestic cricket is incapable of polishing a talented youngster, so it needs an overhaul and we should do it quickly otherwise time will run out.”

Khan, who led Pakistan to their only World Cup triumph, in Australia in 1992, said the country’s head of state appointing the cricket board chairman was the bane of Pakistan cricket.

“No way should the president of the country appoint the cricket chief. The president of Pakistan is patron of the cricket board and appoints its chairman, unlike in most countries where the chairman is elected.”

Khan said in a country obsessed with the game, cricket needed to be organised properly.

“Why can’t Pakistan cricket be based on successful models like Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, where the talent is concentrated in six regional teams set up by nurseries below?” said Khan, who played 88 Tests for Pakistan.

“Ever since the 1992 World Cup win and the 1999 runner-up finish, the performance graph is having a downhill trajectory. In 2003 and 2007, we were ousted in the first rounds,” he said.

Khan, who retired from cricket in 1992, now heads his own political party (Tehrik-e-Insaaf) — and has never held a post on the cricket board.

Khan ridiculed a proposal from Zardari, who suggested holding a round-table conference to resolve cricketing matters.

“Cricket is run on an ad hoc basis in the country, so the president is now suggesting a round-table conference without knowing that the previous regime of Nasim Ashraf wasted millions on such conferences to no avail.”

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