Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Newly appointed managing director of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Wasim Khan has said that bringing back international cricket to the country is his top priority.
“With Pakistan having lots of ups and downs over the last 20 years, it is critical that we get a level of international cricket back in the country,” Wasim said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.
“It may well be small steps getting county teams touring and visiting the fantastic national academy. Could we get an MCC team to tour? Or could we have a small number of international matches to start with rather than a whole series? Could teams play one or two one-day internationals on their way through to the United Arab Emirates?”
The 44-year old, who serves as the chief executive of Leicestershire County Cricket Club, continued, “I appreciate countries have a lot of security issues but, with military-style security on offer, I am keen to understand where the gaps are so we can address them. It is interesting for me to get to the bottom of those things and see what I can influence and the conversations I need to have with other countries so we can understand what we need to do to ensure they can come back to Pakistan.”
Speaking about the love Pakistan holds for cricket, Wasim said the international community should not underestimate how important the sport is to the nation.
“There is an embarrassment factor that cricket is being played in another country,” he added.
The PCB managing director further said that he is hopeful teams like England will visit Pakistan in the future to play cricket.
“It would be incredible if England played in Pakistan... Players and administrators need to be won over, but if there was a chance of playing a couple of games in Pakistan, that would be huge. A few years ago people were talking about how important it is to have a strong West Indies. To have a vibrant Pakistan side is vital, too,” he added.
Commenting on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s efforts towards restoring international cricket in the country, Wasim said there has been a lack of investment in facilities and infrastructure because people are not willing to spend because of a lack of international cricket.
“There has been a lack of investment in facilities and infrastructure because people have asked, what is the point? Why spend money when we don’t have international cricket? So, it is about bringing hope back. Imran Khan is trying to professionalise institutions and bring hope back to the country and making decisions based on merit,” Wasim said.
“My appointment hopefully proves that. The easier decision would have been to appoint someone in Pakistan but there is a real appetite for change. That will be a big part of my role and Imran Khan has led that from the front. I would not have considered this role if someone like him was not at the helm.”