LAHORE: Former Pakistan captain and legendary batsman Javed Miandad on Thursday lashed out at the government for ruining sports in the country and hinted at establishing an All Pakistan Sports Club to rescue sports and sportspersons.
He also threatened the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) with a country-wide campaign if it executes its plan to abolish departmental cricket and make hundreds of cricketers unemployed.
Talking to Dawn, Miandad said: “I am in talks with sports personalities like Jansher Khan, Islahuddin, Samiullah besides other prominent cricketers and to set up the All Pakistan Sports Club for the welfare of the needy sports-persons of the country that includes former and current players of all the sports and not just cricketers.
“I am very disappointed with the move of the PCB of disaffiliating the decades old departmental cricket teams which in fact are assets to the board and not financial burden. In fact the departments are a big source of income for PCB and bread and butter for hundreds of cricketers,” argued Miandad.
“And if the PCB does not stop its move against departmental cricket, I will start a brisk country-wide campaign to save the future of hundreds cricketers,” warned Miandad, who played 124 Tests and 233 One-day Internationals for Pakistan.
“I would also like to appeal to Prime Minister Imran Khan not to abolish departmental cricket as it is a financial resource for many cricketers to feed their families,” he said.
“I played for Habib Bank Limited which elevated me to Senior Vice President position and it also enabled me to provide top education to my children,” he recalled.
“So these departments by providing the jobs to sportspersons are taking care of their necessities.”
Miandad, who shared the national team dressing room with Imran almost throughout his career, also criticised the premier for trying to fit in the cricketing systems used in Australia and other top cricket nations into Pakistan’s domestic cricket scene. “Don’t compare Pakistan’s social system with England or Australia, because their governments starts taking care of their nationals from birth but that’s not how it works in Pakistan,” he said.
“The cricket associations are not strong enough to stop the involvement of influential people who favour their blue-eyed association teams but in departments it is not possible for those people to dictate their terms,” he said.
“Instead of demolishing departments I will suggest the prime minister to involve more multinational and sound companies to come and provide more jobs to sports persons. It is the best way to give new hope to the youth and to make them useful citizens.
“The departmental teams also deposit substantial tournament fees while bearing all other expenditures of their respective teams to play first-class cricket, so they are helping hands of the PCB. How can you cut them out?” he asked.
Miandad also vehemently opposed the policy of hiring people from abroad to improve Pakistan cricket.
“Sorry to say, our leaders get votes from Pakistanis but they prefer to hire the services of foreigners to come and enjoy big perks and do nothing. Then where should the Pakistani talent go?
“If you people believe that Pakistanis are not talented, then go and hire the services of foreigner Prime Ministers and ministers to come and run our country too,” he said. “I have been receiving many offers from abroad but I am not ready to work for others. Just go and ask Inzamam-ul-Haq, Saeed Anwar and many other batsmen of Pakistan how as a coach
I polished their talent by introducing my own coaching methods which were also transferred by Mushtaq Ahmad to England when he was their coach,” argued Miandad.
“Graham Gooch himself told me they are using my method of using marble slab to give practice to the batsmen in order to play pace and swing bowling better,” he said.
Meanwhile, Miandad said he had shared the initial plans of forming the Sports Club with many prominent sportspersons in the country.
“All the well-off sportspersons will contribute to this club as members and they will also raise funds for the sportspersons in distress and I believe it will be a major contribution from our side,” he said.
“Imran Khan should remember how much I helped him in raising the funds for his Shaukat Khanum Hospital and I believe I am still in a position to raise funds for the deserving sportspersons but I have no hope from the government. Our hockey has been ruined but the government’s sports department has not done anything about it. Cricket will go the same way if not rescued,” concluded Miandad.
Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2019