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Tuesday, 4 March, 2003, 17:36 GMT

Pakistan cricket needs rethink

By Imran Khan
The former Pakistan captain speaks to BBC Urdu

Pakistan cricket has hit troubled times.

Fans back home, including myself, are disillusioned - not because Pakistan missed out on the Super Six stage at the World Cup but because some of our top players simply did not play to their potential.

It seems such a shame superstar players with such talent will no longer be taking any more part in the tournament.

It's now time for deep introspection - everybody involved with Pakistan cricket will need to decide what direction they want the national sport to go.

Up to this point, most of Pakistan's successful players over the last 30 years have mainly come from English county cricket.

People like Zaheer Abbas, Asif Iqbal, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and myself all benefited from playing in England.

Star batsmen Shahid Afridi, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Yousuf Youhana have grown up playing in Pakistan. They are all very good but lack the polish players like myself got.

A prime example of a player who has suffered is Imran Nazir.

At an early age he received high-praise from legends Clive Lloyd and Ian Chappell, but his form suffered.

Nazir was dropped from the World Cup squad after poor international performances, which I believe, playing in the Pakistan domestic league was at fault for

Basically, cricket in Pakistan is poorly managed.

The biggest concern surrounds the structure of the domestic game.

We have institutions such as PIA and Habib Bank play each other, where instead two cities like Lahore and Karachi in battle, would appeal far more to fans.

As a result of this league of institutions, the games are watched by very small crowds.

I've been calling for a change to the domestic game for 20 years, but the people in authority are employed by these institutions, so little has been done.

If the Pakistan Cricket Board approached me and asked whether I would help them with the national game then I would give it serious consideration.

However, with all my political responsibilities I have at the moment, finding free time may be difficult.

But I do think you don't need to be a rocket scientist to work out what the problem is with Pakistan cricket. I just hope it can be sorted out.

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