KARACHI: ICC President Zaheer Abbas has lamented the gradual slide of the Pakistan team and lack of proper replacements for senior players. The stylish batsman, who earned the sobriquet of ‘Asian Bradman’ for his run-scoring feats, said he was concerned that Pakistan cricket has stopped producing legends.
“For a country which has a rich cricketing history and legacy, it saddens me to see the state of affairs today. It is sad that a country which has produced so many legends now has to even think about playing in qualifying rounds of an ICC event,” Abbas said at a reception hosted in his honour.
“It pains me to see that the national team is now not producing the quality performances of the past. Our players are just not producing the sort of performances we expect and saw in the past. In the past our youngsters had lot of idols and legends to look up to and emulate and today we look towards the Indian players,” he noted.
The ICC President, who will step down on July 27 after a one-year tenure, said there was no doubt that because no international teams are coming to Pakistan since 2009 cricket in the country has suffered a lot. “Our players are not getting the right opportunities and exposure. They are also not in the IPL. I feel sorry for the young players who can’t play international cricket or against touring sides at home,” Abbas said.
He said the Pakistan cricket board was now doing its best to set things right but he didn’t see international teams returning to Pakistan for another year or two. “It will take time for international cricket to return to Pakistan and lot depends on what the situation is in the country in future. But I am optimistic that in this context the scenario is improving,” he said.
He said he had enjoyed his tenure as ICC President and learnt a lot. “I have done all I can to help the PCB convince other boards they need to support Pakistan cricket by sending their teams and things are looking up a bit.”
Abbas, who scored a plethora of runs in England in his heydays said, mental strength and attitude would matter a lot when Pakistan toured England this summer.