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psl, zaka ashraf, shaharyar khan, pcb, bcb, icc, pakistan cricket, pakistan south africa, pakistan super league
The former PCB chief lauds the work done by Zaka Ashraf (pictured) in improving ties with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh which had been at an all-time low during Ijaz Butt’s regime at the PCB helm. – AFP File Photo

LAHORE: Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan reckons that the proposed Pakistan Super League (PSL) will not serve its purpose of bringing international cricket back to the country.

And he has his reasons for holding those reservations.

“The security situation in Pakistan has deteriorated further in the last couple of years and in my personal opinion, no country will send its team here at this moment in time,” Shaharyar told Dawn in an exclusive interview.

“I wish I’m wrong in claiming that the PSL will not be able to attract top-ranked cricketers but as the PCB is investing heavily, second or third-grade players might be attracted to it.

“However, that will not fulfil its purpose of convincing teams to come and play in Pakistan.”

Regarding that, he counts out the possibility of India, England or Australia touring Pakistan in the coming years.

“The BCCI follows its government’s instructions in any ties with Pakistan while the UK and Australia are part of the Nato forces so they won’t be sending their teams either,” he said.

Shaharyar, who has also held the post of Pakistan’s secretary of foreign affairs in his illustrious career, is of the view that even though Pakistan toured India recently, the current situation at the Line of Control (LoC) reduces the possibility of a bilateral series to a bare minimal.

“In the past, cross-firing at the LoC was a routine matter but this time around the Indian reaction has been so strong that our hockey players had to return home [from participating in the Indian Hockey League],” he said.

However, he suggests the PCB to involve the Pakistan and UAE governments in order to get a special concession in organising ‘home series’ there and also mentions South Africa as an option.

“We have to play our home series at neutral venues in the next few years and if the government plays a role, the cost of holding the series in the UAE can be reduced remarkably,” he said.

“However, India will not play against Pakistan in the UAE as they have a lot of reservations over match-fixing in the Gulf state so South Africa could be an ideal option as both countries have a good fan base there.

“The ICC should come forward in chalking out a series plan between the two arch-rivals in South Africa as it would be beneficial for the game.”

Shaharyar suggested that PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf should make all out efforts to convince cricketing nations into sending their ‘A’ teams or Under-19 teams or even their national school teams to Pakistan.

“A national level team at any level can serve our purpose better instead of the PSL,” he said.

He also informed that Ireland is ready to send its national team.

“During my visit to Dublin a few years ago, I met the officials of the Ireland cricket authorities and they were ready to visit Pakistan,” he said.

“Recently, in an exchange of messages, they were a bit reluctant but they haven’t refused entirely and the PCB should negotiate with them.”

Shaharyar further added that England Cricket Board chief Giles Clarke supported revival of international cricket in Pakistan in his recommendations to the ICC Task Force but “the ICC did not implement” them.

He also lamented the Lahore attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009.

Shaharyar, however, doesn’t completely agree with the PCB adopting a tit-for-tat policy with Bangladesh after they did not send their team for a tour despite committing to do so twice.

“I admit the BCB did not fulfil their commitment but it would’ve been better if the PCB had lodged their protest to the BCB directly instead of stopping players from featuring in the Bangladesh Premier League,” he asserted.

“Their public loves our cricketers and these actions will ultimately damage the unity of the Asian bloc and we can hope that they realise the steps we’ve taken to help them.”

But the former PCB chief lauds the work done by Zaka in improving ties with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh which had been at an all-time low during Ijaz Butt’s regime at the PCB helm.

“They [relationships] had fallen to their lowest ebb but Zaka has done well to revive them,” he said.

“Personal level contacts between the heads of the cricket boards are very important as it helps in solving issues in a better way.”

Comments (21) Closed

ahmed2030 Jan 29, 2013 11:27am
Viredra, Pakistani society is much more democractic than what it may seem to others. We have critics, in fact, we are our own worst critict. What this man is saying is NOT in official capacity. Its his views, and anyone can have their own views which are different from official PCB's views. Whats the big deal ? I also would like to add that what he is saying makes a lot of sense. Barring players from BPL is not the solution. Yes international cricket is not coming, but thats okay, we should concentrate on good domestic tournaments and have strong cricket team playing hard and competitive cricket in international arenas. We will inshallah rise again. After all our record as sporting nation is FAR better than our neighbors. Yes number one in squash for good 25 years, better in hockey than any other Asian team (look at our cups and record in general), and a cricket team that over last 50 years has been more competitive than any other South Asian team.
NH Jan 29, 2013 04:38am
Mr. Khan's comment sounds sensible to me. However, I think some WI stars might play or may be I am wrong. One thing PCB should avoid is to rush in making things happen.
Usman Bashir (@gripusa) Jan 29, 2013 09:24am
I dont think so MR Shaharyar is right here, The sole purpose of PSL is not bringing international cricket in Pakistan, It will provide three fold advantages infect, 1. It will allow local pakistani players to cash-in considering how they are moving here and there and also benefit the local players to play more competitive. Although IPL has effected the test performance of India but there is no doubt it has increased their mental level and ODI/T20 strength. 2. It will still a better showing then a "School" team or a "Third level" team touring pakistan. At least , it will prove one thing, if money matters, players are willing to challenge themselves. It will be much better if PSL can attract few current players as well. 3. It will add into PCB cash reserves and give them better position to deal with other sports bodies especially likes of WICB, BCB, Kiwis which do not have the strength of top four but still make more fuss against pakistan.
ahmed2030 Jan 29, 2013 06:17am
Shehriyar Khan was a top diplomat and excellent PCB boss. His critics were too tough on him, we have seen that level of leadership sharply declined after him. Dr. Nasim might was okay but Ijaz Butt was "Disaster" personified. Ijaz Butt is the worst thing that has happened to Pakistan cricket. Zaka Ashraf is more like Dr. Nasim.
Viredra Jan 29, 2013 06:28am
This is hilarious. One day PCB is shouting about PSL and all the foreign talent rushing towards it and how it would be better than (what else) IPL etc. And next day, quietly they confess, OK, international cricket still not coming in.
Capt C M Khan Jan 29, 2013 07:13am
Mr Sheharyar is correct in all aspects. Mr Zaka must stop being so arrogant and listen to his suggestions. Thanks Mr Shehyar for highlighting a road map.
Ehsan Raja Jan 29, 2013 08:11am
Shaharayar Khan has always been a pompous, dim-witted fool and continues to remain one. He has no understanding of anything real or sensible. The PSL is key to making Pakistan a competitive force in the cricket world. Every country, including Sri Lanka and Bangladesh has a T20 league. Only our Pakistan does not have one.
Shahid Jan 29, 2013 10:25am
It is in itself a unwanted practice to try convincing them to send their national teams to Pakistan. We should not take this risk and the risk of being excluded for decades to come. Why making it a issue in bringing other teams to Pakistan when we ourselves know that it is not safe. We should expect the reality and stop this point scoring by trying to be heroes who brought the teams here. When a minister, a military installment, an airport, offices of intelligent services etc. can't be saved from the terrorists then why take any risk?
EmMoosa Jan 29, 2013 02:51pm
Atleast Zaka is trying his best but he should be realistic to the actual sitation in the country.
Zishi Jan 29, 2013 03:38pm
This is just not the right time to publish this. Even if the PSL was going to make any impact, these comments will have negative impact and will ruin it. Media should support PSL and create a positive environment to make it happen rather than hammering it by these kind of articles. PCB is spending a lot of money on it and we should all work together to get a return on our investment. I would have supported this article if it was going to save Pakistan some money but they money is going to be spent by PCB anyway. Whether the project achieves its targets or not can always be judged after it has finished.
Karachi Wala Jan 29, 2013 04:44pm
I 90% agree with Mr. Shaharyar's analysis and suggestions. Besides being once PCB chief, Mr. Shaharyar has spent many years as a diplomat. When it comes to cricketing matters, it would be wise to heed his advice.
Nas Jan 29, 2013 05:14pm
he is not wrong when he says we have security problems.....
Qasim Jan 29, 2013 09:53am
Without disagreeing with his pragmatic assessment on foreign players proclaimed interest, SOMETHING WOULD BE BETTER THAN NOTHING.
Zain Jan 30, 2013 01:57pm
Well, Mr Khan might be right in some of his views, but I personally believe that this wasn't a right time for him to comment such negatively on PSL. He has been an ex-chairman of PCB and he should know how seriously his negative comments could damage the PSL. Be a Pakistani and support PSL. And all those Indians commenting here against Pakistan, Let me tell you that you are the most narrow minded and conservative nation on this planet. You guys have no courage to keep sports and politics separate. So stay quite and mind your own business. We are capable of handling our own issues.
Hanif Jan 30, 2013 02:49pm
Let's face it. You can't blame international cricketers for not coming to Pakistan, Pakistan govt can't protect it's own people, how can they protect people from other nations, who will trust its promise when Pakistani Govt. didn't keep it promise for Sri Lanka Cricketers. Things are worsen day-by-day, I wouldn't expect international cricket in Pakistan by Aus or Eng for a verrrry long time.
The Hindu Jan 30, 2013 08:26am
ok you have better squase players and hockey team(marginaly) but what about chess(uno no. 1 visvanathan anand),billiards (former no.1 player),boxing,tennis,badminton(world no. 2 saina nehwal)wrestling(2 olympic medalist)shooting(many olympic medalist)formula one( 2 players on the circuit) and many more. so please first check out the real power of your neighbour then comment.
Zafar Jan 30, 2013 11:27am
keep in crying indians...
Mj Jan 30, 2013 04:40am
Give some soccer,tennis,south asian games figures..
Indian Jan 30, 2013 02:26am
Caz Jan 29, 2013 09:19pm
Pakistan has an insurgency whose tentacles extend deep into the country. It also has a serious law and order problem such that the state machinery cannot cope with it. That is the reality here on planet earth. Shaharyar Khan is correct in his assessment notwithstanding your denial of reality.
Caz Jan 29, 2013 09:22pm
Not surprising as pakistanis live in a fools paradise ! .