THE NATION, 03rd OCTOBER 2013:-
Before Pakistan goes for yet another ‘home series’ scheduled to be played in UAE, the PCB and the Government of Pakistan must come to an unambiguous conclusion as to where they want the Pakistan cricket be destined to; Pakistan or abroad?
It’s been more than four-and-a-half years now that Pakistan played their home series within Pakistan for the last time. The terrorist attack on Sri Lankan team in Lahore, and the spot fixing scandal surfaced in London worsened everything related to Pakistan cricket.
When we ponder over the apparent reasons of the utter failure of the young batsmen playing abroad, we come to the conclusion that unfortunately none of them has played even one match at the Pakistani soil. None of them did debut their career at home.
How would they gain confidence if they are never provided with a chance to play on their soil, among their people? Playing on the home-ground among the home-crowd is the key. Playing at home generally helps kick-start the careers of the legends-to-be. Pakistani batsmen are not performing well because they are not exposed to the world’s best bowlers at their own soil. It is interesting to note that the world class players are seen to be struggling when they are on a tour, whereas the home teams’ players get confidence while playing at their home grounds. They improve their record, their technique and their confidence. Cricket boards prefer to start their young players’ careers from the home series.
During the IPL, entire world comes to play cricket in India and their average players get an exposure of playing against world’s best cricketers in an environment which is conducive enough for them to learn. This is how they improve their skills. Even their seniors get confidence from this league.
Let’s have a look at the miraculous outcomes of playing at the home ground:
England won Ashes at their home. Zimbabwe beat Pakistan in their home series. India won 4-0 against Australia in India. Australia is hoping to get Ashes trophy back in 2015 when they will be playing in Australia. South Africa bowled three teams out below 50 at their home.
This is for the first time in the history of Pakistan, and is a pleasant coincidence, that the Prime Minister and the leader of the 3rd largest political party have been playing professional cricket when they were young. The PM has played first class cricket and the PTI chief has been a Test cricketer. Both of them know the importance of the question as to why cricket should be brought back to Pakistan without any further delay. In the writer’s opinion, acting upon these points as soon as possible might save the Pakistan cricket from any further deterioration:
The Prime Minister himself should talk to the Kaptaan in order to seek for his help to bring cricket back; for Imran Khan is one of the most influential and charismatic cricketers of the history of the game. And if, the PM does not bother to call in him, the Kaptaan should take an initiative and offer his services, for the sake of Pakistan.
Imran Khan should be given a task to visit all Test playing countries on a war-footing and talk to the boards to send their teams to Pakistan and give personal guarantee for the fool-proof security. He can even quote that the chief minister of Punjab has already done a marvelous job by brining international players to Pakistan and ensuring that they play here without worrying about their security.
Imran Khan must negotiate with the ICC as Pakistan needs a person who can advocate her cause in the best possible manner. Imran has a rich record of earning respect by winning the ball-tempering case against Ian Botham, and bringing the final of World Cup 1996 to Lahore which was supposed to be played in India. It was Imran who convinced the officials to select Lahore as the venue for the final.
The Kaptaan has developed a great team from the corporate sector which can guide him as to how he should fight for Pakistan at the international level.
The Kaptaan must negotiate with the ICC to visit Pakistan and check security measures. The state should also help Imran in talking to ICC with the evidences of those events when international teams (hockey, kabaddi etc) visited Pakistan and were taken care of properly by the Punjab government.
The bone of contention remains the players’ security. The Kaptaan can also convince the government to bring the culprits of 2009 attacks to justice, so that cricketing world may trust Pakistan. Spectators can expect a positive response from a cricketer-turned-Prime Minister who ensured Faisalabad team’s presence in the Champions’ League.
The PM visited Turkey recently and invited the investors to invest in Pakistan. He is a businessman who can have his own cricket franchise and invite world’s best businessmen to invest and develop their own franchises for Pakistan Super League. He can use his team to ensure the best ROI (Return On Investment) to the investors. Business can be attracted from the non-cricket-playing nations even.
A cricket fan knows that asking for bringing the sport back to the soil is not equal to asking for the moon, especially when the whole nation has witnessed her politicians uniting for the cause of Pakistan on the floor of the APC.