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Ramiz presents four-point plan for betterment of cricket

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ISLAMABAD-Former captain Ramiz Raja has lauded the PCB for its recent moves but believes his four-point plan can help the board achieve the target.

“It is very good to take such steps for betterment of cricket because unless the vision is clear, the objectives will not be achieved. But I feel only four things are needed to be done to improve the declining standard of Pakistan cricket. 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’.

He said the condition of pitches in Pakistan, both at the club level and the domestic level, is very bad and consequently cricket lovers remain 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 matches taking place on weekends because you need money to sustain clubs.

“The condition of these pitches is so deteriorated that there is neither bounce nor the technique of the batsmen is challenged. 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. If your curatorship is not of a top quality level, then you’ll have to pay attention to drop-in pitches.”

Giving example of New Zealand, he said 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 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 pitches.”

About country’s first-class cricket structure, he said there is still a confusion as whether Pakistan would opt for regional cricket or it would once again encourage professional organisations. “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.”

About administration in cricket, Ramiz said: “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, honesty of purpose and 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 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 has unorthodox talent in abundance but feared that too much coaching might kill that asset. “In Asia, cricket flourishes through unorthodoxy. Pakistan has 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, Punjab, Balochistan and KP, who remain unable to make a way to the system or become part of 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.

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