Waqar Younis warned Tuesday that cricket could die out in Pakistan if rival teams continue to boycott the country where international tours have not taken place since 2009.
There has been no international cricket in Pakistan since the militant attacks on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March 2009 which killed eight people and injured seven visiting players.
“The biggest hurt is that we are not able to stage international matches,” Pakistan head coach Waqar told AFP.
“I fear the game might die out as we lack talent at junior level and it’s tough to indulge kids in cricket. It’s a very important aspect, we have to bring international cricket back and the government has to help in this regard.”
The Pakistan Cricket Board managed to bring minnows Kenya for a short one-day series last year and are negotiating with Zimbabwe for a visit in May this year.
Waqar believes Pakistan’s quarter-final exit from the World Cup at the hands of Australia showed there is a lot of hard work to be done on the country’s cricket set-up and infrastructure.
“If we want to save Pakistan cricket we have to lift our domestic game because there was a big difference in standards at the World Cup. We were well behind other teams.
“We can’t delay it, we need power-hitters like there are in other teams and players who can score 300-plus runs,” said Waqar, whose team only crossed the 300-mark just once in seven games at the World Cup – against the amateurs of the United Arab Emirates.
“Cricket is changing fast and we have to keep pace with that, if not we will be left far behind.”
Waqar stressed Pakistan needed good batsmen.
“Bowling has never been our problem,” said Waqar, himself a great fast bowler.
Great to see live Pakistan A – Kenya in landmark match in Gaddafi stadium Lahore. Congrats Pakistan on winning match pic.twitter.com/CVtALVBqW6
— Marcel de Vink (@MarceldeVink) December 20, 2014
“I think we should feel proud of our bowling at the World Cup. But it’s the batting where we have been struggling for a long time now and after Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan – whenever he quits – we will have a big vacuum.
“It is a matter of putting things in order. It’s not only about winning the World Cup but also improving our ranking by lifting our standards.” Waqar said strict rules on bowling actions badly affected Pakistan’s build-up for the World Cup.
“Just before the World Cup, the International Cricket Council launched a crackdown and because of that we lost Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez,” said Waqar of his two key spinners who were suspended due to illegal actions.
“But now is the time we should lift ourselves because cricket has been our pride.”
Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz and Australian all-rounder Shane Watson called a truce on Tuesday after their compelling World Cup quarter-final tussle.
Wahab won widespread plaudits for a fierce spell of fast bowling which forced Watson to duck into and under a series of short-pitched deliveries in the game at the Adelaide Oval.
Wahab even applauded the Australian and blew him a kiss as Watson survived on his way to helping the co-hosts to a six-wicket victory.
— Wahab Riaz (@WahabViki) March 22, 2015
— Shane Watson (@ShaneRWatson33) March 22, 2015
Watson ended Friday’s game on an unbeaten 64 off 66 balls but he was dropped on four by Rahat Ali at fine leg off a 145kmh Riaz bouncer.
New Zealand fast bowler Adam Milne has been ruled out of the World Cup, with coach Mike Hesson calling up Matt Henry to join the squad.
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Hesson said yesterday that a left heel injury had forced Milne out of the remainder of the tournament and the International Cricket Council cleared Henry to join the New Zealand line up “for the knockout stage.”.
Milne was an automatic choice as the third quick behind Tim Southee and Trent Boult, with Mitchell McClenaghan preferred ahead of Kyle Mills when a shoulder injury kept Milne out of the Bangladesh match.
Captain Brendon McCullum said the loss of Milne could force a rethink of New Zealand’s bowling strategy. “The way we have operated with Adam in that third seamer role has worked quite well for us coming in after our two opening bowlers swinging the ball.
“That doesn’t mean we have to roll out the same game plan or same strategy, but it has served us well over the last little while.”
Milne felt discomfort following New Zealand’s comprehensive quarter-final win against the West Indies on Saturday and a scan showed significant swelling around the heel.
“It’s certainly serious enough to rule him out of the tournament from a playing perspective. We’ve certainly got more tests to do in terms of the extent of it but we’re thinking more in weeks than longer than that,” added the captain.
Milne, who bowled Chris Gayle for 61 in New Zealand’s 143-run quarter-final victory, has taken five wickets for 199 in the tournament.
Henry, who has only played eight ODIs, has impressive career figures of 21 wickets at an average of 15.42.
Meanwhile, New Zealand great Martin Crowe yesterday praised Martin Guptill’s record-breaking World Cup feats after helping the batsman reinvent himself late in his career.
Guptill, who hit a World Cuprecord 237 not out against the West Indies, revealed that tips from Crowe had helped improve his batting, particularly his footwork and stance.
But Crowe said Guptill deserved the credit for being prepared to ask for help, then going back to the basics to alter his technique. “It’s a courageous move to rebuild at 28,” Crowe told Fairfax New Zealand.