By our correspondent
KARACHI: England’s tour to Pakistan for seven T20I latter this summer will be the start of preparations of the Green-shirts for the ICC T20 World Cup which will be held in Australia latter this year.
Keeping in view the hard and bouncy tracks in Australia it is highly expected that bouncy tracks will be prepared for the home series against England to test the boys and prepare well for the global event. And the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja also is seen interested in managing such tracks for the series which could have ‘true bounce’.
“In T20 cricket mostly batting-friendly tracks are prepared but like you I am also interested as they will play for the first time on these squares. I hope there will be true bounce so that it could mirror Australian conditions somehow,” Ramiz told a news conference here on Wednesday while answering to the question of this correspondent.
“Our strength is fast bowling and if you have not that quality of spin so you will somehow focus on that. There is a need of a lot of work on spinners also. There are two to three very good spinners in the pipeline. My interest is also the same how this square will behave as we have worked a lot on it,” Ramiz said. “We have prepared two pitches at the National High-Performance Centre, Lahore, by mixing the soil. If that is done then our domestic cricket will get a life. We needed to do work on pitches and we have relayed them during the recent gap,” Ramiz said.
Ramiz also highlighted different areas on which he has focused.
“There are many things in pipeline, some have been achieved and there are more to be achieved. It’s just a starter,” he said. “We need to do a lot of work on infrastructure. There is a need of improvement in fan-engagement and seats need to be installed at the National Stadium. We also need to install seats at the Pindi Stadium. Infrastructure and pitches are on our priority list. There are great issues and we have worked on them. You cannot play with spikes in club cricket so we are trying to assist the club cricket through artificial grass netting. My main focus has been on pitches and team’s performance,” the PCB chairman said.
Ramiz said that by empowering the skipper the team has started producing good results.
“If you empower the skipper, it produces positive results as he owns the team and such is happening and so fans own the team which is highly encouraging,” he said.
“As far as projects are concerned, so today we signed an MoU with Engro relating to 100-best and we are also going to announce Rs30,000 each stipend for these kids. From July 15 to 16 this process will begin and Beaconhouse will help in the provision of free education to these kids. We are trying not only to produce cricket stars but to also change the lives of the youth,” he said.
“On pension’s matters I got overwhelming response through our ex-cricketers. I am really happy with that step,” he said.
“When I go to office, I try to do one good deed and I want that when my tenure will end so people will say that at least I tried,” the chairman said.
“You have to create back-up cricket facilities which is the main purpose of announcing the Pakistan Junior League (PJL). The PSL achieved more success this season and as per our audited accounts each franchise generated Rs 81 crore and it means that this market has thrown Rs5 billion (500 crore) for this product. After we beat India in the World Cup such an interest from investors created in the market,” he said.
“We have given 250 jobs to ex-cricketers, increased their pension and no journalist talked about the PCB cricket foundation. There is no top level of development than that. In three months, this cricket foundation will stand and through this cricket stakeholders will be benefited. Companies want to put their share and we will form a separate Board of Governors for it. It’s a step towards well-being of our stakeholders,” Ramiza said.
He said that next season PSL will be spread across the country. “I will mention Multan here as in such a hot weather such a huge crowd witnessed the matches recently and on the final day around 15,000 fans were outside the stadium. The cricket team has again created warmth in the fans’ excitement. The big issue is of lease. We have no lease of Faisalabad venue as well as of Multan. If you have lease you can act promptly to develop anything,” the chairman said.