Thursday Jul 29, 2021
BIRMINGHAM: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Executive Officer Wasim Khan on Thursday shared an interesting anecdote from his younger days, saying that back in 1982, he had climbed the fence of Edgbaston cricket stadium to see his favourite cricketers Imran Khan and Mohsin Khan in action.
In an exclusive interview with Geo News in his home town Birmingham, Wasim Khan added: “I climbed the fence of Edgbaston because I didn’t have the ticket for that match.”
“Kids do that sort of thing and I was no exception either. I was a 12 year old from inner-city Birmingham so I, and a couple of other friends, climbed the fence and went inside the stadium to watch the match and support Pakistan,” he added.
Responding to a question, he said: “I played for England under 19 and was part of the 1995 Warwickshire squad that won the championship double, sharing dressing room with players like Donald and Pollock, and nobody can take those achievements away from me.”
“I used to open with Nick Knight and averaged 49 in that season with a highest score of 181 not out in my first season,” added Wasim.
Sharing other memories, Wasim said once he was playing in Wellington, New Zealand, and had a break of three weeks from cricket so he went to Sydney, Australia.
Pakistan was playing against Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground and was having some injury issues with several players so Mushtaq Mohammed requested him to stand as substitute for Mohammad Zahid.
“Some people don’t agree to that but I always say to them go and ask Mushtaq Mohammad if you don’t trust me. I stood in place of Zahid for 9 overs or so.”
He said that passion for cricket and Pakistan runs in his blood but it is sad to see that despite welcoming people who come from Pakistan with open arms in the UK, British Pakistanis don’t get the same treatment; there’s some prejudice against them.
“When Micky Arthur was in Pakistan, everyone was respecting him but when a British Pakistani went to serve in Pakistan, the attitude towards him was slightly different. In my opinion a change of mindset is required.”
Wasim told Geo News that he is working to develop a programme to promote school cricket in Pakistan. “We have set up six cricket associations and under the clubs there will be school cricket and a framework will also be setup to deliver school cricket. Hopefully it will be setup within 2-3 years,” Wasim added.
Responding to a question about differences between running a county club and cricket board of a country of 22 million people, Wasim said that the difference is huge.
“I’m an administrator; the job is the same but at a much bigger scale. My job is not to select teams but to make the Pakistan cricket board financially viable, develop systems, and develop stronger structures for long term sustainability,” said Wasim.
Talking about the Pakistan cricket team’s performance against England in the recently concluded series, Wasim said he was a bit disappointed with the results.
Answering a question about team selection, Wasim said it’s not his job to select the team, as it’s the job of selectors.
Wasim said that the team’s performance is assessed after every series. The cricket committee will meet at the end of August to assess the performances in the series against England and West Indies.
“Cricket now is different from what it was 20-30 years before, where every player has to play all the various formats of cricket and then they will get a chance to play white ball cricket,” he said.
About the reduction of first class cricket in Pakistan down to six teams, Wasim said that this is according to the vision of PM Imran Khan, who is also the patron of PCB. "He wished to have a first class system like Australia and our job is to implement his vision," Wasim said.
He said that a 5 year strategy is also been devised to restructure the high performance system. “Our job is to strengthen first class cricket in Pakistan. When I joined the PCB, Pakistan was placed at number 6 and 7 in ODIs and Test cricket and people said our domestic system is running fine. I asked them how they could say that when we are at number 6 and 7."
“For the last two and half years we have made it clear that neither will we pay any team to tour Pakistan, nor will we play bilateral cricket in the UAE.”
Replying to another question, he said: “We have been seeing a gradual change. Earlier this year the South African team toured Pakistan and now New Zealand and England are scheduled to visit Pakistan later this year and we will be hosting Australia and West Indies too.”