Cricket Board to launch talent hunt drive

From KHALID BUTT, Lahore
Aug 15 - 21, 2005


Sheharyar Khan, Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), who is keen to bring home the glittering World Cup 2007, wants business community to play an effective role in the grooming of the team purely on professional lines.

The PCB Chairman has urged the businessmen to come forward and work for the promotion of Pakistan's cricket team, which has brought laurels for the country a number of times in the past.

Sheharyar Khan was speaking at a LCCI meeting recently, which was also addressed by the LCCI Acting President Sohail Lashari. Executive Committee members Mian Shafqat Ali, Yousaf Shah, Faisal Iqbal Sheikh and Mian Mehmood were also present on the occasion.

The PCB Chairman said that it is high time that the business community should join hands with the cricket board in its effort to put up a strong team for the 2007 World Cup.

He said that Pakistan Cricket Board is trying its level best to bring in more talent but without the help from business community it would be near to impossible.

The Chairman said that the PCB is going to set up a Talent Hunt Camp by the end of this month, which is a dire need of the hour, as Pakistan does not have a good test team. Pakistan needs to develop good cricket grounds, as at the moment there are only three grounds of international level while India has 27 grounds.

The PCB was endeavouring to bring professionalism in the team at all levels, which is a prerequisite for a team of international level.

The PCB Chairman paid rich tributes to skipper Inzamamul Haq, ranking him "a world class cricketer" having a decision power especially during crucial moments.

He defended the appointment of Bob Woolmer as coach of Pakistani team, saying that after his induction the national team saw a big change as the team is now more disciplined.

LCCI Acting President Sohail Lashari observed that cricket diplomacy has done miracles in this part of the world and the business community would be extending all help for the promotion of cricket in Pakistan.

He said that Lahore's businessmen would not stay behind in PCB's pursuit to improve cricket in Pakistan.

He said healthy business ties cannot be developed and improved to the best until and unless an environment conducive for fraternity and brotherhood is developed with our overseas and cross-border business partners. It is the exchange of literary, cultural and sporting activities that create an environment of mutual understanding and goodwill, which is the essential pre-requisite of growth of international business. "We as Pakistanis are proud of being the member of elite club of test-playing nations. It is the glamour, charm and charisma of our cricket heroes, which has enchanted cricket-loving crowds domestically as well as across the globe," he observed.

He said that cricket assumes a significant place in Pakistan's sports history as this was the first sport in which the newly born independent state made its debut at the international level. Way back in 1948, through the efforts of late Mr. Justice A. R. Cornelius, rightly dubbed as the Father of Pakistan's cricket, the West Indies Team touring India was invited for detour of Pakistan. Under the leadership of late Mian Muhammad Saeed, Pakistan put up an impressive show in the first-ever-unofficial test played on the picturesque Bagh-e-Jinnah ground in Lahore. Skipper Muhammad Saeed scored a century in that match which concluded as a draw. In the winter of 1951-52, Pakistan staked a claim for full-fledged membership of International Cricket Conference when under the captaincy of late Abdul Hafeez Kardar Pakistan defeated the touring MCC Team by 4 wickets.

Sohail Lashari said that in the first official series played in India, Pakistan defeated India in the second test at Lucknow by an inning, which justified Pakistan's hard-won official test status. Pakistan has come a long way since attaining official status in 50's. Today, it is rated among the top cricket playing countries of the world. This rating was won by some of the greatest players born in this part of the sub-continent such as Fazal Mehmood, Imtiaz, Hanif Muhammed, Kardar, Saeed, Burki, Mushtaq, Asif, Zaheer, Majid, Imran Khan, Sarfraz, Qadir, Waseem Bari, Waseem Raja, Miandad, Mudassar, Waseem Akram and a host of other luminaries who played for Pakistan at the highest level and won honours for their motherland. The graph of Pakistan's cricket started showing an appreciable height when Imran Khan, one of the greatest all rounders born in this part of the world, took over the reins of captaincy. His charismatic personality and shrewd leadership gave a new vision to the Pakistani team to play and win under pressure as Pakistan's cricket reached a climax when it won the World Cup in Australia in 1992, which made every Pakistani's head high.

He said Pakistan's cricket got a saviour in the form of Mr. Sheharyar Khan who strived hard to win back the glory and pride of Pakistan. His inspirational leadership has transformed a relatively younger but highly talented bunch of individuals into a fighting outfit.