Ramiz presents four-point plan to regain cricket greatness
ISLAMABAD: Former captain Ramiz Raja has lauded the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for its recent moves to improve the standard of cricket but believed his four-point plan could help achieve the target.
“It is very good [to take steps for that] because unless the vision is clear the objectives will not be achieved. But I feel only four things are required to be done to regain the greatness: Number one [good] pitches; number two [focus on] domestic cricket, number three administration and number four talent hunt,” Ramiz said in a video on his YouTube channel ‘RamizSpeaks’.
The cricketer-turned commentator said that the condition of pitches in Pakistan, both at the club level and the domestic level was very bad and consequently cricket lovers remained unable to enjoy the top quality competitions.
“At the club level you can’t even wear spikes as the pitches are so brittle that they get break. [The result is that] now at this level you mostly see tennis ball matches taking place on weekends because you need money to sustain clubs.
There seems no balance between the bat and ball. Sometime the bowlers try to bounce and batsmen seem to drive them on front foot. The [end] result is that our batting suffers at the top tier level [international level].”
The 57-year-old, who has been a strong advocate of drop-in pitches in Pakistan for quite some time, reiterated his stance saying: “If your curatorship is not of a top quality level, then you’ll have to pay attention to drop-in pitches.”
Giving the example of New Zealand, he said that previously they used to prepare seasonal pitches on rugby outfields but their cricket improved tremendously after they introduced drop-in pitches. “Now you see they’ve top quality bowling as well as good shot-making. This shows that a lot can be achieved through such pitches.
“But I’ve not seen any mention of drop-in pitches in the PCB’s short-term or long-term planning. It does not matter how big a first-class system you initiates, the goal will never be achieved unless you focus on the pitches.”
About the country’s first-class cricket structure, he said there was still a confusion as whether Pakistan would opt for regional cricket or it would once again encourage professional organizations.
“First of all we’ll have to make it clear as to which side we’ll be taking the affair. Then, afterwards we’ll have to invest money; invite international stars and space out matches.
“There should be a booklet wherein schedule of all fixtures is published prior to the start of a season so that fan following is increased and everyone can also plan accordingly.”
Highlighting his concept of administration in cricket, Ramiz said by that he did not mean managing things in the board. “Here I’m talking about the administrators of club level, school level and those of first-class level, who have the keys of talent.
“Unless you’ve the passion; unless you’ve honesty of purpose and unless you consider it your duty to serve Pakistan cricket you’ll not be able to deliver.”
According to Ramiz, the PCB would have to bring in good administrators at all the cricketing tiers. “You’ll have to scout for administrators. May be you’ll have to attend some courses to learn as how to produce good administrators. But [it is clear] you need such administrators who have a nationalistic approach; who don’t get involved in politics and do selection purely on merit. You need such administrators who know that discouraging young talent means causing damage to Pakistan cricket.”
Ramiz noted that Pakistan had unorthodox talent in abundance but feared that too much coaching might kill that asset. “In Asia, cricket flourishes through unorthodoxy. Pakistan have produced several unorthodox superstars, who instead of relying on coaching utilized their natural ability to become world beaters. So we’ll have to keep in mind that too.
“You’ll find several such [unorthodox] stars in interior Sindh, interior Punjab, interior Balochistan and interior parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who remain unable to make a way to the system or become part of the mainstream cricket.
“Therefore; it is very important to announce talent scouts, who have the ability; who visit far-off areas of the country with the intent to nominate talent and then put that into mainstream cricket,” Ramiz concluded. - APP