April issue 2010

By | Sports | Published 14 years ago

These days television talk shows on sports are full of discussions and debates on what’s wrong with Pakistan cricket and Abdul Qadir is one of the former Test cricketers who regularly features in them. But the ex-chief selector says he is getting sick and tired of such programmes.

“In recent years, I’ve seen pressure groups mushrooming on our TV channels. They are the so-called former greats, critics, anchors and journalists who claim that they want to fight the cause of Pakistan cricket. I believe that they are the root cause of all the evil. The only thing they do is mislead the nation, spread doom and gloom and create confusion,” Qadir tells Newsline in an interview.

“If they just involved themselves in positive and constructive criticism and start giving honest suggestions without any hidden agendas, I’m sure half of our cricket problems will be solved,” he says.

Qadir sounded optimistic about the state of Pakistan cricket in spite of the mood of current chaos and hopelessness, saying that the absence of a proper system is more or less compensated for by an abundance of talent.

“I believe what we need is honesty in our cricket structure. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should make honest policies. It should bring transparency in the way it runs cricket. The board should stop keeping things secret. Its top management should stop indulging in nepotism and should appoint the right people for the right job. PCB’s think tank should be open to good advice and suggestions from all quarters. They should listen to criticism instead of acting as if they don’t care.”

Qadir stepped down as Pakistan’s chief selector last summer after falling out with board chairman Ejaz Butt. “My only problem was that I don’t like dishonesty and cannot be part of a system that promotes nepotism and ignores merit.”

The legendary leg-spinner, who took 236 wickets from 67 Tests, says that by just promoting the right work ethic, our cricket chiefs can lift the sport from the current, neck-deep crisis.

“Lifting Pakistan cricket doesn’t need gigantic efforts,” he says. “We have a cricketing culture and have thousands of talented youngsters. What you need is an efficient system that can groom them into world class cricketers.”

Qadir, 54, says that Pakistan also needs to change its approach when preparing for major events like the upcoming ICC World Twenty20 championship starting in the West Indies from April 30.

“The PCB is holding a long camp for the tournament. I believe it would have been better to stage 10 to 12 practice matches in various cities of the country. It would have helped new coach Waqar Younis to identify and work on our players’ weaknesses. You learn a lot more from matches as compared to routine training sessions.”

Qadir says that the PCB should begin investing heavily in second and third string players instead of making the country’s leading cricketers ‘richer’ by awarding them lucrative central contracts.

“You are only making players who are already rich even richer by giving them big salaries and bonuses through central contracts. It’s a bad approach. It would be much better for Pakistan cricket if the same funds are invested in our reserve pool of players belonging to the Pakistan ‘A’ team, the under-19 squad and leading performers of our first-class competitions. They are the ones who need central contracts to survive and stay focused on cricket. Our leading players are already millionaires and billionaires. They earn enough through match fees and endorsements. Why make them richer?”

This article is part of a larger report of the health of sports in Pakistan: Game Over

The writer is ranked among the battle-hardened journalists covering sports. As sports editor for The News, he covers sporting action extensively in Pakistan and abroad.