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KARACHI: Former chief selector and Test cricketer Salahuddin Ahmed Sallu on Thursday called for continuity in Pakistan cricket in order to maintain its new found stability and the ongoing success of the team under the able leadership of PCB chairman Najam Sethi.

Speaking to the media here, Sallu welcomed the change of government in Islamabad and expressed hope that Imran Khan and his party will strengthen the institutions and will adopt a policy of continuity at the Pakistan Cricket Board which has taken the game to new heights.

“I welcome the new PTI govt and sincerely hope that Imran, being a former cricket captain and a world-renowned all-rounder, will support the current PCB set-up which has done wonders for the return of international cricket to the country and in uplifting the national team’s performance,” said Sallu.

He also lauded Imran’s victory speech in which he pledged to rise above all differences and animosities of the past and will look ahead towards consolidating the country’s institutions.

Sallu highlighted that since taking over as chairman PCB, Sethi has been tirelessly working for the betterment and development of Pakistan cricket and the results are for everyone to see.

“It is a fact is that the PCB and the national team are enjoying an unprecedented period of revival and growth. Not only have the team been performing superbly in world cricket under Sarfraz Ahmed, the advent of Pakistan Super League has given tremendous financial stability to the game in the country,” he said.

“It is for everyone to see how PSL has helped in unearthing brilliant talent for Pakistan team which include match-winners like Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Imam-ul-Haq, Usman Shinwari, Hasan Ali, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat and many others.

“Besides, the league has taken off in a big way as a true global brand which Pakistanis can be proud of,” he added.

Sallu pointed out that just two years back, the return of international cricket looked a very remote possibility but Sethi’s efforts and good offices made it happen. “International cricket returned to Karachi and Lahore last year as well as early this year which saw tours by a star-studded World XI, by Sri Lanka for a T20 game, the three-match tour by the West Indies and the PSL semi-finals and final in packed-to-capacity games. And Sethi deserves huge credit for all this.”

Sallu appealed to the new govt not to derail many fine initiatives taken by the current PCB regime which could harm the progress of Pakistan cricket besides drawing the ire of the ICC.

“The uplift and renovation of the National Stadium is also a testament to PCB regime’s sincerity and its efforts to serve the game to the best of its abilities. It is important that it is allowed to continue.”

In the end, Sallu praised Pakistan team’s fantastic show on the recently concluded Zimbabwe tour.

“The brilliant tri-series win, especially against the Aussies in the final, and the 5-0 annihilation of Zimbabwe by Sarfraz and his boys was a marvelous performance by all standards,” said Sallu.

“It is so heartening to see so many young players excelling on the field and backing each other up. The camaraderie and the performance shows that our team will be among the favourites for next year’s World Cup.”

Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2018