We want to encourage our team, not malign it: Shaharyar

LAHORE: Pakistan’s successive defeats against New Zealand and England in the T20 contests have set the alarm bells ringing in the cricketing quarters here with the all-important World T20 now just weeks away. However, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is reluctant in taking any drastic steps at this juncture.

PCB chairman Shaharyar M Khan, talking to media after inaugurating the Benazir Bhutto Women Cricket Tournament at the Bagh-i-Jinnah ground here on Monday, said: “I have no serious concerns over the team’s performance against New Zealand but some little changes may be made. In fact, we want to encourage our team instead of bringing them down.

“Whenever we play outside the country it is a difficult proposition for us. In England and New Zealand we face a lot of problems due to the seaming conditions,” Shaharyar said. “India, too, have lost matches to Australia in Australia.

“Wins and losses are part of the game. In today’s ODI against New Zealand, we got their six wickets for just 99 but their lower order batsmen did a very good job, so it is all part of the game,” the chairman said.

He also defended T20 captain Shahid Afridi. “We have made him captain till the World T20 and we will stand with him.” However, the Pakistan think-tank must be quite worried over the World T20 preparations after the successive T20 series defeats to England and New Zealand.

When asked that tainted medium fast bowler Mohammad Amir had raised doubts by bowling his first deliveries as wides in the T20 and ODI against the Kiwis, the chairman said: “Every bowler bowls wide deliveries, you should also see that he has taken three wickets in today’s match.”

When asked if constant failure of Pakistan’s opening pair could make way for another tainted player, Salman Butt, the chairman said Aamir had settled well in the team and now both Salman and Muhammad Asif could also make a return if they performed well in domestic cricket.

He said the ‘big three’ formula of the ICC had been criticised world over and Pakistan also considered it as non-democratic. “It is better if they change that,” he said. haharyar, however, refused to comment on the fate of leg-spinner Yasir Shah who is provisionally suspended by the ICC for testing positive in the doping test.

 “The ICC has heard PCB’s appeal on Yasir and it has instructed us not to give any comment in the case,” he said. To a question, he said Pakistan would always insist upon India to accept the PCB as the host whenever their government allows the Indian cricket team to resume the bilateral series with Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the chairman said the standard of Pakistan women’s cricket has improved and is of international level now. “We started to patronise women’s cricket some seven to eight years ago and now it has made good development as our girls are matching the world standards,” he observed.

“I am happy over inaugurating this tournament as performance of the players in this event will be the criteria to pick Pakistan team to represent the country in the upcoming World T20,” he said. DNA

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