LAHORE: Legendary leg-spinner Abdul Qadir has become the latest critic of Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) plan to abolish departments from the sport’s domestic structure.
Qadir, who featured in 67 Test matches, said departmental teams have contributed a lot for the betterment of the country’s cricket, majorly in the form of players.
“Departmental cricket has produced iconic cricketers such as Hanif Mohammad, Fazal Mahmood, Mushtaq Mohammad, Zaheer Abbas and Javed Miandad,” Qadir told Dawn.
Another player Qadir mentioned was Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is the man behind PCB’s vision for a new domestic cricket structure.
Imran has always been vocal about his liking for the Australian cricket structure, in which only seven state sides compete in all top-level competitions. However, the cricket fraternity in Pakistan has opposed the idea and is of the belief that it is unrealistic to impose such a system locally.
Qadir revealed the issue was discussed after Imran’s oath taking ceremony and that he requested the prime minister not to try and implement a new cricketing system.
“When the PM invited former cricketers to his inauguration he told us that he’s planning to abolish departments from first-class cricket and in reply I requested him not to go ahead with such plan,” Qadir said.
“I conveyed to him that departments produce great talent. If you somehow impose your plan then club cricket will suffer the most. Parents will not encourage their sons to play cricket because not everyone is lucky enough to play for the Pakistan team.
“We don’t need to copy the Australian model,” he added.
Qadir also criticised PCB’s policies regarding the national team’s selection and argued that the Pakistan Super League should not be considered as a platform to judge a player’s performance.
“They select players on the basis of performances in the PSL only. The World Cup probables were announced during the Pakistan Cup. So what purpose did that tournament serve? The board should abolish Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and Pakistan Cup if player’s performance in these tournaments don’t matter,” Qadir said.
Qadir also bashed the PCB for appointing Wasim Khan as their managing director. The 63-year-old said the board should consider local heroes before appointing foreigners on top positions.
“They have ‘imported’ someone to run the board affairs. Is that person more capable than Majid Khan, Zaheer Abbas and Asif Iqbal? Even if education is the criterion then Majid Khan has a degree from Cambridge. Salim Altaf is another person who is best suitable to run the PCB. The board has funds for foreigners, but not for local greats. The government is promoting austerity, but the cricket board is spending millions to pay the ‘foreign’ staff.”
Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2019