Legendary fast-bowler Wasim Akram on Monday said Pakistan cricket team's exile is having a devastating effect on the next generation of players coming through the ranks.

The former Pakistan captain gave his example of making it to the most competitive level after he was spotted by one of the country's greatest batsman Javed Miandad during a net session in 1984.

"My fourth first-class game was a Test match [against New Zealand at Auckland], and that won't happen now. Miandad saw me, then Imran [Khan] met me when I went to play for Pakistan and took me under his wing, then Waqar [Younis] came along and we ruled the world for ten years. But that opportunity isn't there for youngsters anymore," Wasim told ESPNcricinfo.

The 50-year-old, who bagged 916 international wickets during his 19-year-long international career, said that he was inspired to take up the game by watching legends from around the world play at iconic Qaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

"If you are not watching the heroes and the top stars in the world in the grounds and you are not meeting them… without that, it's really difficult for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and it can really hurt them financially also," he said.

"There's been no cricket in Pakistan for seven or eight years, and cricket is struggling in Pakistan in general," he said.

"Imagine when I was young, I used to go to Lahore's Gadaffi stadium. I watched England playing there … Bob Willis, Graham Gooch, Mike Gatting ... I watched India there in 1978 and 1982, when I was in class ten, with [Sunil] Gavaskar and Kapil Dev … Australia with Allan Border.

"They motivated me, but for Pakistan's budding cricketers, there's no cricket there. Everything is played in the UAE on bland, placid wickets and nobody is watching cricket there. One-day cricket gets a bit of support, and T20s over three hours, but for Test cricket it is mostly empty stadiums, so it has affected Pakistan cricket big-time."

Zimbabwe were the first Test team to visit Pakistan in 2015 since the gruesome 2009 Sri Lankan team attack in Lahore.

PCB has tried to talk a few Test nations into touring Pakistan, however, they are yet to receive any positive feedback.

The board now seeks to use Pakistan Super League as a gateway for the cricket's return by hosting the next edition's final in Lahore.

"The idea is to gradually bring the PSL to Pakistan — maybe the final, or the semi-final — and see what happens. But if the PSL happens in Pakistan, every game you will get 50,000, 80,000 watching from the ground.

"Things are better in Pakistan security-wise," Akram added. "I live there, and things are better. If teams decide to tour there, then cricket in Pakistan will evolve to a different level.

"But the sooner this happens, the better. Not just for Pakistan cricket, but for world cricket, because if Pakistan cricket evolves, it will improve world cricket. The PCB and the Pakistan government are trying, things are getting better, and hopefully soon someone will put their hands up and say 'let's tour Pakistan' and see what happens," he concluded.



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