HYDERABAD: Discarded Pakistani duo of Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal observed here on Thursday that neighbouring India displays more consistency in providing opportunities to their cricketers compared to Pakistan where the players get hastily picked and dropped the similar way.
They further emphasised that only performance of the players in domestic circuit should be the base and criterion for selection and if the coaches and the selectors focus on that “our team would never fare badly.”
“India shows more consistency in allowing their players to play top level cricket,” said former Pakistani skipper Salman while sharing his views at a reception hosted in his honour and Kamran’s by the Hyderabad Press Club here (HPC) on Thursday. “Rohit Sharma’s batting average was hardly 25 or 30 but the Indians persisted with him to make Sharma a world class player.”
Salman reckoned that domestic circuit need to have high scoring pitches to help batsmen play longer innings. “This will groom them to stay on the crease for a longer period,” he said.
He added this could be achieved by making sporting pitches favouring both batsmen and bowlers while presently the matches weren’t going beyond two days. “The ratio of drawn matches is nil whereas domestic matches in India often last the full distance or are decided on first innings lead basis,” said the left-hander. “If one side scores 700 other in Indian domestic matches, the other responds with a score of 550 to 600. It helps their batsmen develop the technique and maintain their form,” he said.
“Unless our batsmen post 200 or 300 runs individually in our local matches, they won’t be able to groom themselves for Test cricket,” argued Salman. “After you identify a player’s potential you have to stick with him, but in Pakistan we often induct players in haste and drop them abruptly too,” he lamented.
Wicket-keeper batsman Kamran pointed out that the introduction of the ‘Duke’ ball in domestic matches is not giving good results and won’t help the batsmen to build their innings. “Our batting line-ups stand exposed to the Duke ball and barring a few players, everyone seems to be struggling. Batsmen will have to learn how to stay on the pitch for longer periods but that is not happening,” he noted.
When asked why he was being ignored for national team selection despite scoring heavily in domestic cricket for the past few years, Kamran said the selectors and coach could answer this question better.
“In the last three to four years, the Pakistan team has undergone various experiments in batting which at one time had put us under threat of playing pre-qualifiers for the World Cup,” he said. “Why India has remained a top tanking side is because they don’t go for frequent changes. They avoid chop and change even if they lose a few matches. India kept faith with Sachin [Tendulkar], [Virender] Sehwag or [Rahul] Dravid till the last and managed to groom [Virat] Kohli, Rohit [Sharma] and [Shikhar] Dhawan,” he argued.
“A team never performs with six to seven players. Players should quit when time is up for them or the way Younis Khan and Misbahul Haq left. Seniors should be given selected matches and this is how a player is produced and team is built. We have expelled players en-block to make team suffer,” said Kamran.
He said the criteria for selection should be domestic cricket. “Everyone knows who is fit and performing in domestic circuit and if coach and selectors focus on this, our team won’t suffer that much”, he remarked.
Salman pointed out that he has also gone through the rehab phase and, since Amir is playing, the PCB or selectors could be asked why he is being ignored.
He also sounded critical of Ramiz Raja’s comments about him. “I don’t want to comment on it. It is, however, disappointing to see him [Ramiz] discuss things that are not his domain,” he said. “If someone is in a habit of bringing up issues, then he should talk about everyone, regardless of the person[s]. But it should not be like that you discuss someone because you know the person won’t hit back but you remain silent where you feel it will have a backlash,” said Salman.
He also called for raising playing/ living standards of players in domestic circuit in order to narrow the gap between standards of international and domestic cricket. “The less is the difference, the easier a player will be groomed,” he observed.
The former captain termed Pakistan Super League as cricket’s showcase as it gives a chance for Pakistan players to share dressing room with international players and watch their routine and practice techniques and that is going to benefit the youngsters.
Kamran, who recently scored a double ton at the Niaz Stadium, said the upcoming New Zealand series would indeed be tough and the matches will be exciting. “Pakistan has won two series against them in recent years and if the team spirit remains and we play to our potential, we will beat the Kiwis,” he said.
Kamran added that the selectors have chosen the best side considering New Zealand conditions and hoped they would perform well. “When tour will end everyone will know how good was the selection [of players].”
Both the players praised the PCB, army and security agencies for the arrangements to bring international cricket to Pakistan. “But it is still difficult to see teams playing entire series here,” they said.
For the Niaz Stadium, they said floodlights should be installed there immediately.
On Sharjeel Khan’s case, both Salman and Kamran said that it was very unfortunate for Pakistan’s cricket to lose a player of his ability. “But the players should take care of their off field behaviour to and must not indulge in corruption of any sort.”