Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Pakistan head coach Waqar Younis has admitted that he is afraid the sport will die out in the country unless international teams start touring again.
Pakistan have not hosted an international series ever since the Sri Lankan national team were ambushed by armed militants in Lahore in March 2009, which left eight people dead and seven players injured.
“The biggest hurt is that we are not able to stage international matches,” Younis 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.”
Younis also conceded that Pakistan have a lot of work to do, especially since they were beaten so convincingly by Australia in the World Cup quarter-finals.
“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,” he said. “We can’t delay it, we need power-hitters like there are in other teams and players who can score 300-plus runs.
“Cricket is changing fast and we have to keep pace with that, if not we will be left far behind.”
The legendary pace bowler added that Pakistan are in desperate need of quality batsmen.
“Bowling has never been our problem,” he said. “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.”
However, Younis also believes that Pakistan were affected by the loss of spinner Saeed Ajmal, who only recently got his bowling action cleared, and all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, who sustained an injury prior to the start of the tournament.
“Just before the World Cup, the International Cricket Council launched a crackdown and because of that we lost Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez,” he said. “But now is the time we should lift ourselves because cricket has been our pride.”