ADELAIDE: Underlining that changes at the grassroots will bring consistency in the country’s cricket, Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan says his role is to overhaul domestic structure, eradicate inconsistency in performance, enhance revenues and improve infrastructure.
In an interview with APP during the fourth day of the day-night Test between Australia and Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval on Monday, Wasim talked about his goals as cricket administrator and how the PCB is trying to do things over the longer term.
On Pakistan’s domestic structure, Wasim said the domestic system was being overhauled in the country . “The introduction of six regional cricket associations instead of the 16 teams in domestic cricket was a right step which will promote cricket and minimise the gap between domestic and international cricket,” he remarked.
To a query, Wasim reckoned in other countries it took almost two years to overhaul a domestic structure but we had done it only in seven months.
Old domestic system, he elaborated, did nothing to overcome inconsistency in the players’ performance, stressing “inconsistency is the reason behind the lack of competitiveness among our players at international level”.
“A domestic structure must develop game of a player and close the gap between domestic cricket and international cricket, and it is the main focus of making six regional teams,” the PCB chief executive remarked.
“I don’t mean that our players are not good enough but they don’t get the right environment to develop their game and this is the area where we need to work,” he said. “If we get the infrastructure right at all levels be it domestic system, coaching or the facilities to the players it will help the PCB overcome inconsistency.”
About the pitches in Pakistan domestic circuit, he said pitches have to improve considerably.
“One of my other priorities is to improve the quality of pitches in Pakistan. The pitches are massively different in Australia, England, South Africa and New Zealand and the PCB will work to prepare better wickets in order to give fair chances to our players on away tours like Australia,” he claimed.
On the infrastructure like that of Australia, Wasim said the infrastructures in two countries (Australia and Pakistan) could not be compared, noting Australia had invested in the right areas over the years.
“We are looking to develop six high performance centres to work under the six associations. We are devising ways where these associations can generate their own funds through sponsors.”
Wasim termed the Pakistan Super League (PSL) an important platform for producing tough cricketers. “This League provides you the opportunity to provide players who have delivered under pressure.”
He further said, “Bringing the [entire] PSL to the country was a huge achievement. PSL will be played at four venues in Pakistan including Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Multan in February 2020. Some 250 international cricketers from 15 countries have registered for the draft.”
On the achievements during his stay in Australia, Wasim said he had met former Australian cricketers and the members of the Australian Cricketers Association — since the decision to tour a country is taken by the players — during his stay and tried to make possible tour of Australia ‘A’ team to Pakistan by the end of 2020.
“I have done a lot of media work here and spoke to many Australian cricketers to make visits by foreign teams possible,” he explained.
“Slowly but surely we are moving in the right direction. The PCB has invited South Africa, Afghanistan and Ireland to come and play T20 cricket against us in March next year.”
On financial sustainability, the PCB chief executive admitted that there was a lot of work to be done on the commercial front to become more sustainable as a cricket board, adding since Pakistan did not play against India it causes a big burden on the revenue.
“The PCB is too reliant on the ICC, PSL, domestic and international broadcasting rights for revenues. [Therefore] there is a need to generate revenues from other sources and a commercial director has been appointed to discover more vistas for revenue generation.”
On the 2020 T20 World Cup to be staged in Australia, Wasim urged Pakistan’s fans to back Misbah-ul-Haq and the team so that a squad could be built for the T20 World Cup and beyond.
On the hiring of former Pakistan Test leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed as spin bowling coach, Wasim said,”Mushtaq is one of the many applicants and enjoys great respect among our players for being a former staff. Only the best man will get the job [of spin bowling coach].”
Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2019