ISLAMABAD: Legendary fast bowler Wasim Akram believes Pakistan’s exit from the ICC World T20 is a reflection of an outdated first-class system.
Wasim, who is in India commentating with Star Sports, said he was not surprised by Pakistan’s poor performance which he believed had been on the radar for a number of years.
“Whatever happened in this T20 World Cup for Pakistan it was writing on the wall,” Akram was quoted as saying by cricket www.com.au.
“They didn’t see it four years ago (when Pakistan made the semi-finals in Sri Lanka) but it was meant to happen. Our first- class structure is down the drain, nobody puts money in there, nobody’s bothering. And they want to win World Cups – you can’t win World Cups like this, I’m sorry.”
“It’s a tournament. A team prepares itself for three to four years; they plan, they prepare, they pick the right combination. But we just go by our instinct and go ‘OK, there’s a World Cup next month, hopefully we’ll win’. That’s what we do in Pakistan,” he added.
Wasim, a proud and passionate Pakistani who played 104 Tests and captained the national side 134 times in five-day and 50-over cricket, said it “hurts” watching his side fail on the global stage. You go to a World Cup and I’m a commentator and I’m a Pakistani and want Pakistan team to do well,” he said.
“Winning (the World T20) would be the icing on the cake, but at least qualify for the semis. Of course it hurts. Not just to me but every Pakistani. It doesn’t matter if you’re living in Pakistan or living abroad, it hurts.”
When asked what he would do if he could implement change to Pakistan cricket, Wasim said: “First of all I would put people who have passion, who want to do well for the country and who can keep a secret a secret.”
While the introduction of the Pakistan Super League was met with an incredible television audience and was considered a success by the PCB, Wasim said the triumph would not translate into performances on the field in the short term.
“The PSL will give you players after three, four years,” he said.
“People were expecting that after PSL shake-up everybody will be fine. No it won’t. Our coaching is also 10 years behind. Our fielding levels are 10 years behind world cricket. That is why we are where we are.”
Wasim also talked with a heavy heart about the loss of international cricket in Pakistan. “When I played, I could see my heroes playing in front of me. Now these boys, youngsters, can only see them on television,” he said.
“That’s a big, big tragedy for Pakistan cricket and to Pakistan. My hope is it comes to Pakistan at some stage, but let’s see.”