Pakistan Should Learn From India How They Invested in U19 Squad: Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib Akhtar (© IANS)

Former Pakistan international Shoaib Akhtar has asked his country’s cricket board to learn from the example of their Indian counterparts and start investing in junior cricket. Akhtar was commenting on how BCCI created a long-term plan by bringing in batting legend Rahul Dravid to coach their U-19 team who then led them to world cup glory in 2018.

In fact, India U-19 team has made it to the final of World cup on three straight occasions including the ongoing edition in South Africa. They beat Pakistan in the semi-finals to enter the summit clash.

“They (BCCI) got India’s best middle-order batsman Rahul Dravid for the coaching role in U-19 team,” Akhtar said on his YouTube channel. “When you get a big player, you should pay him well. Here, Younis Khan went to take the job, the PCB offered him a job, and then they are bargaining with him. He said ‘take it back’. Is that how you treat your stars?”

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should approach former players for assistance, Akhtar suggested. “There is Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, I am here, just ask us. We will help the team. You think if we were a part of U-19 coaching staff, the team would have performed like this?” Akhtar asked.

Observing how Indian cricket board has structurally made changes for their current success, Akhtar took a dig at the officials PCB has at their helm of affairs. “BCCI has invested in the U19 team. They made a 15-year plan. They brought Jagmohan Dalmiya, N Srinivasan – who brought investment in cricket and IPL. Then, cherry on the top, they bring Sourav Ganguly at the helm. Who did we get? Pata nahi kaun Mani sahab,” he said.

However, they had words of encouragement for Pakistan U19 cricket team saying they did well to have reached the last-four stage of U19 world cup. “Don’t lose heart. You need to learn from failures. These are not setbacks, these are opportunities. Well done on reaching the semi-final but the better team won,” he said.