Home > Features >

Pakistan needs to clean system or risk talent-drain

Pakistan have moved their base to the UAE since 2009 © Getty Images
Pakistan have moved their base to the UAE since 2009 © Getty Images

By Amar Ali Khan

I remember how Raziq Khan was the best cricketer in our village 10 years ago. Whenever he came to the pitch, everyone in the crowd would stand up in excitement and wait for him to play his mind-blowing shots. His fans would chant “One more six, one more six”, egging Raziq on to play with all his might and surely, whenever the time came for him to perform, he never disappointed his fans.

He was famous for his phenomenal batting and would hammer the bowlers by hitting balls to all corners of the ground mercilessly. There was a famous story about Raziq in our village that was often narrated to every youngster who planned to enter the sport. It had the perfect blend of motivation and miracle to encourage and bewilder youngsters who idolised him.

Once, , he managed to hit four sixes off five balls in a single over; his stroke-making  abilities were in full swing. The umpire, unknowingly, declared it as the end of the over and Raziq laughingly corrected him and said,

“No, it’s not over. One ball is still remaining and thereby, there is still one six left!”

He had said this with such confidence that it made many think that perhaps he was being too arrogant. However, the next ball he played also turned out to be a magnificent six and the crowd went wild. After this, his story became the talk of the town. Even today, our villagers revel while telling his story to the younger generations.

Raziq was passionate about his game and soon he made his way into the Pakistan Under-19  team. During his time spent in the Under-19 camp, he stumbled upon cases of politics and undue favouritism in the management and he realised that this was not the cricket he was passionate about. The cricket there was adulterated by greed and corruption, where merit wasn’t given its due appreciation and people ignored good players who didn’t have connections with influential people.

Hence, he decided to leave the team and go to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to try his luck.

He went there on a visit visa, started working there and soon found a few cricket clubs where he could practise his game without any nepotism involved. Cricket meant everything to him and he was happy to be able to play his heart out without any issues. He continued representing several clubs and is still one of the best club players in the UAE. However, a few very important questions arise here.

Firstly, why wasn’t he given the opportunity to represent Pakistan in the international arena even though he was so gifted with his abilities? And secondly, how long will corruption and favouritism decide the fate of cricket and bring forward talentless players as replacements for genuinely good cricketers?

A few days back, I saw a video over the internet that showed that 36 Pakistanis were playing in the recent T20 World Cup and out of that group; only 15 represented Pakistan while the rest were representing other countries. Talented Pakistani players are leaving their country and playing for other nations; this is truly alarming and needs to be seriously focused upon by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and other cricket clubs in Pakistan.

Clearly, we are doing something wrong. When cricketers aren’t given a chance to shine and prove their worth, something like this is bound to happen. Many of these 20 plus cricketers must have tried playing for one of the cricket clubs in the country but just like Raziq, they were forced to leave because of the lack of opportunity they faced.

This is not the story of just one guy who made his name in another country – it’s the story of every Pakistani who has ever tried to show his/her talent but was never appreciated due to corruption and personal likes and dislikes.

I have seen a lot of talented cricketers, footballers and even hockey players while growing up and I have always idolised them and wished that I could play like them. But now, when I visit my village and look for those gifted players, I don’t see them anywhere. Instead, I hear about how many of them have left the country and are now working as carpenters, masons or security guards in the Gulf countries, hoping to find a way in to the sports clubs present there I can’t help but ask why no one provided these amazing players a platform where they could showcase their talent as well as earn a respectable income to support their families? We do not realise the loss we have incurred in the shape of such great talent leaving us and working and playing elsewhere. Had these people been in the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America (USA) or in any other developed nation, they would have excelled in their respective sports and would have been treated like stars.

The club and league systems over there provide youngsters with enough financial backing and also give them an opportunity to get into their national teams. The process is very straightforward; if you have the skill and talent, you will go a long way. The British boxer, Amir Khan, had the talent and the system provided him a platform. Just imagine, had Amir Khan been born in Pakistan, what would have been the odds of him making it to a professional boxing career? None, whatsoever.It’s time for us to change the system. We need a way so that our youth can earn while following their passion. We can start the league system here. I mean, if they can do it in the UK, then why can’t we do it here? The leagues in UK are arranged by sponsorships and players get their funds from sponsors, gate money, television rights and other such sources. We have a lot of local and multinational companies who will be willing to invest if such a venture was initiated.

This is the time for our government to step forward for the youth and give them a platform to perform. Our players just need a a nudge in the right direction. This is the best way to utilise the capabilities of the youth. Giving them laptops and loans are not the only solutions to their problems.

In this way, we can stop many Raziq Khans from leaving Pakistan and playing for other countries. Our youth’s misplaced energy needs to be cashed upon. With such opportunities, we can channel their strengths and abilities for the betterment of their towns in particular and for the country at large.

The idea isn’t an impossible one; we just need sincere efforts from the stakeholders, because ‘when there is a will there is a way’.

(Amar Ali Khan is an electrical engineer from Nowshera and currently doing his MS at NUST, Islamabad. He is a die-hard cricket fan and loves to play, watch and write about cricket. He tweets as @amarshaidu. This article first appeared on blogs.tribune.com)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Colombo

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

Photos

Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra

Videos

SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014, 2nd ODI at Chittagong: Highlights

Australia vs South Africa 2014, 5th ODI at Sydney: Highlights

Quinton de Kock’s century in vain as Australia register two wicket win over South Africa

Saeed Ajmal: 99 per cent bowlers will fail 15 degree test

Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque register second-highest opening partnership for Bangladesh in ODIs

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 India New Zealand Pakistan South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Live Cricket Score: Indians vs Cricket Australia XI, 1st Practice Match at Adelaide

Live Scorecard: Indians vs Cricket Australia XI, 1st Practice Match at Adelaide

Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Ryan Harris, Josh Hazlewood named in Australia’s squad for 1st Test against India

Sri Lanka vs England 2014: Moeen Ali, Alastair Cook’s form bodes well, says Mark Ramprakash

Mithali Raj: India women confident ahead of ODI series against South Africa

Single-wicket cricket match between John Grange and James Sadler lasts three days

Bill Ashdown and Bert Wensley beat a team of 11 all by themselves

Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina in interesting tussle ahead of India’s Test series against Australia

Vijay Hazare Trophy 2014-15: Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Manish Pandey will get another chance to impress in final

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014, 2nd ODI at Chittagong: Highlights

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

Watch Free Live Streaming & Telecast of Indian Super League (ISL) 2014 Football 37th Match between Kerala Blasters FC vs Atletico de Kolkata

PK Tharki Chokro making: Rancho aka Aamir Khan and Munna Bhai aka Sanjay Dutt shake legs to this folk number

Simbu-Hansika’s Vaalu slated for Christmas release!

Yeh Hai Mohabbatein: Will Raman and Ishita help Mihika with her plans?

Alibaba to launch its Taobao marketplace in international markets: Reuters

8 reasons to add rosemary to your diet

eBay India ‘Black Friday’ sale kicks off today

How many calories do bananas have?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here