Saqib urges PCB to strengthen domestic cricket

LAHORE-Former first class cricketer Saqib Naqeeb has urged the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to focus fully on domestic cricket after conducting the league round of Pakistan Super League (PSL-5) successfully in different cities.

The former cricketer has credit of introducing fast bowler Mohammad Amir when he was just 11 years old, as he brought him to Rawalpindi from Gujjar Khan and helped in transforming this genuine talent into international star with the able assistance of coach Asif Bajwa at his academy. In an interview with The Nation on Saturday, Saqib lauded the role of the PCB in conducting the league round of PSL-5 professionally in different cities of the country, where it motivated the youth towards this game of gentlemen.

“Here in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, which used to be the production house of international cricketers, cricketing activities at club level have now suffered a lot due to non-availability of cricket grounds especially in Rawalpindi for the commoners, who are usually more talented and gifted than the kids of rich and elite class. There is a dire need to promote and facilitate such talented cricketers as well as club cricket and also to improve the infrastructure, so that the genuine talent may get the due rights to deliver and excel at higher level. The more they chances they get at higher level, the better cricket stars the country will produce, which will serve it at international level,” he added.

Recalling his golden era, the former cricketer said that there was a time when schools and colleges used to be the nurseries of highly talented players, from where the country used to get the greats like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Javed Miandad, Ramiz Raja, Muhammad Waseem, Azhar Mahmood, etc. “Pakistan can’t become international champion in all the formats unless we focus fully on school, college and university cricket and properly organise club level tournaments regularly and provide them with proper facilities and chances to showcase their talent to further excel.

“There is also dire need to strengthen domestic cricket, making it more challenging and result-oriented while the infrastructure should also be improved as these the only ways to bring our cricket to top level and produce fighters, who may compete for the country bravely, utilizing all their energies and keep on winning glories for it on regular basis,” he asserted.

When asked whether he is ready to payback in any given role to the country, which gave him name and fame, Saqib replied: “I have already serving the country by assisting many clubs and cricketers financially to support the talent to excel in their field. I have so many plans in my mind to bring cricket of twin cities to the highest level and if provided with any role in the new PCB’s setup, I will do my best to make this region once again a production house of international cricket stars.”

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