'TEAM SHOULD NOT LOSE HOPES DESPITE INJURIES'

An exclusive conversation with former Pakistan cricket skipper Moin Khan

KHALIL AHMED, Senior Correspondent
Mar 05 - 11, 2007

PAGE: Which team or teams do you think will make a difference in the World Cup 2007? Who do you think will win this World Cup?

MOIN KHAN: Australia, South Africa, England and New Zealand are being considered favourites, however, I think the conditions in the Caribbean suit the Asians. Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka can make the difference provided they don't face any problems such as Pakistan is facing the injury problems of its star cricketers. Pakistan team is without Muhammad Asif and Shoaib Akhtar, its two strike bowlers, and the all-rounder Abdul Razzaq is also not with the team. Though recently India has not performed excellently, yet India has lots of chances to grab the much-coveted Cup. Sri Lanka knows how to play in various conditions and it has a good leadership as well.

PAGE: Injuries of the players are a big problem for the Pakistan cricket team. How do you see it?

MOIN KHAN: You might have heard Inzamam-ul-Haq saying recently that 'Better fitness and improved fielding will give Pakistan a real chance of victory in the 2007 World Cup. Pakistan can win the Cup in case there are no problems of fitness in the squad. Pakistan team is capable of winning the Cup as it won in 1992. It is unfortunate to see that Pakistan team will be playing without Muhammad Asif, Shoaib Akhtar and Abdul Razzaq. Muhammad Asif is suffering from an elbow injury while Shoaib has a problematic knee. Abdul Razzaq sustained a knee injury during a practice session at the Gaddafi Stadium and thus has been ruled out of the World Cup. Umar Gul has recovered from the shin problem, which resulted from a previous ankle injury. His availability is a big boost for the team and the selection of Azhar Mehmood, a senior allrounder, will definitely help our team. Injury concerns are there, however, let's hope for the best.

PAGE: Playing cricket has become a very lucrative profession. Our nation can be called a cricket-crazy nation. Lots of young boys dream to be in the national team and those who are able to make it, become affluent in very short period of time. Could you tell us a bit about the amount an individual Pakistani cricketer gets for ODIs and particularly for World Cup matches?

MOIN KHAN: I agree with you that playing cricket is one of the easiest ways to become rich in a very short period of time, however, it is not an easy job to be a cricketer. One needs to work extremely hard and be technically sound to get a position at the national or international level. With this comes luck also. One needs to be lucky as well besides being technically sound. There may be thousands of talented boys but it is not possible for them to make it since they cannot perform when it is needed or it could be said that luck does not favour them at times.

As far as Pakistani cricketers are concerned, everyone knows that there are three major categories and the cricketers get paid according to the category they fall in. Every individual is paid on per match basis also. For Test matches, the amount paid is low as compared to the ODIs. Let me give you an example. I remember that I and Inzamam-ul-Haq used to get around Rs 300,000 per ODI, however, at present as far as I know he is getting around Rs 400,000 to Rs 500,000 per ODI. Inzamam-ul-Haq is in the top category and even the cricketers who are in C category are getting handsome amount. Apart from per match fee, Pakistani cricketers get other incentives also. Some of the incentives comprise getting Rs 100,000 for four catches in any match and an individual player is awarded Rs 100,000 for getting five wickets in a match.

As far the world cup 2007 is concerned, I have heard that each Pakistani cricketer will get around Rs 1,250,000 in case the team reaches the semi final and in case Pakistan reaches the final of the World Cup, each player will get Rs 2,500,000. These are very good incentives for the motivation of the players. Let me tell you something about the amount which a cricketer gets as the man of the match. During ODIs, the man of the match get $500, however, during a World Cup match, the man of the match gets around $3,000.

PAGE: How much a cricketer makes for endorsement of the products during a World Cup tournament?

MOIN KHAN: It varies. There are cricketers who are hardly asked to endorse any product, however, there are cricketers who are in high demand. Among the Pakistani cricketers, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Akhtar are in high demand and they must be making handsome amount for endorsing the products. Particularly when the World Cup is near, the cricketers make very lucrative deals for endorsement of products. I must tell you that Pakistani cricketers do not have managers so at times they do not strike deals worth their value, however, at the international level the cricketers have managers who are professional deal makers and know the art. At the world level, cricketers make hefty deals and this is one of the methods to make money. Lots of cricketers such Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar, etc clinch lucrative deals. Sachin Tendulkar is world's youngest billionaire.

PAGE: Keeping your experience in view, which players do you think will make headlines during this World Cup?

MOIN KHAN: Nothing could be said at this particular juncture. However, there are players who are capable of drawing crowds and such players will of course make headlines. Let me tell you the players team-wise. From Pakistan squad it could well be said that Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi and Muhammad Yousuf could be in limelight during the tournament. From the England squad, Andrew Flintoff, Andrew Strauss, Michael Vaughan, etc. may give superb performance. Australia's Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Damien Martyn, etc. are capable of entertaining the crowd. Stephen Fleming, Jacob Oram, Scott Styris, etc. of New Zealand could make a big difference. Sri Lanka's Marvan Atapattu, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene, Upul Tharanga, Chaminda Vaas, etc. have proved how big players are they and they would be among the top players of the tournament. India has got match-winning players such as Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Anil Kumble etc. Recently I have read, 'India's squad for the World Cup has been termed 'Dad's army' and Greg Chappell, the coach, recently admitted that fielding was the biggest concern ahead of the tournament.' Of course every team has got some problems and some advantages. Let's wait for the tournament to commence. I see this tournament as one of the most exciting events.

PAGE: We have heard that Sourav Ganguly is one of your best friends. Brief us please.

MOIN KHAN: I have got friendship with everyone. I am a very friendly person. During my stay in the team and even now, I try to have good relationship with everyone. As regards Ganguly, I call him one of the best players in the world. He is a player of high stature. He is among just a few players who have got more than 10,000 runs in the ODIs. He made his ODI debut against West Indies at Brisbane in 1992 ever since he has given match-winning performances though there have been lots of bad times for him. He made his Test debut against England at Lord's in 1996 with a scintillating hundred. He has got over 5000 runs in Test matches. I think that Ganguly should be the captain of India for this World Cup.

PAGE: Do you think Bob Woolmer's coaching has benefited our team?

MOIN KHAN: Pakistan Cricket Board pays huge amount to the foreigners for coaching, however, the former Pakistani players are not given due regards, to be precise. Jonty Rhodes was paid huge amount as fielding coach of the Pakistan team last year when he came to coach our national and junior players during his two-week stay in Pakistan. As far Bob Woolmer is concerned, let me tell you that he was brought to eliminate favoritism in the team. The basic purpose was that there should be no politics in the team. When you talk about performance, I must be honest by telling you that under the coaching of Bob Woolmer, our team has not done an amazing job as was expected. And the most important thing is that there is no need for coach at this level. Coaching is required at the low level. At this level the boys come with their own techniques and style and they don't need any coach as such. At this level there should be the say of the captain of the team. At the national level, a team needs a strategist not a coach and I think Bob Woolmer has not delivered as a good strategist. You must have read that two former Pakistan skippers also lashed out at Bob Woolmer for his utter failure in devising a winning strategy for the Pakistan team during his tenure as coach. I must finish with the view that our team has not delivered good under the coaching of Bob Woolmer.

TEST - RESULTS FOR EACH COUNTRY IN 2006

ALL TESTS

TEAM

TESTS

WON

LOST

DRAWN

TIED

WIN %

Australia

10

10

0

0

0

100.00

Sri Lanka

11

6

3

2

0

66.66

Pakistan

12

4

3

5

0

57.14

New Zealand

8

3

3

2

0

50.00

India

12

3

3

6

0

50.00

England

14

5

6

3

0

45.45

South Africa

11

3

7

1

0

30.00

Bangladesh

4

0

4

0

0

0.00

West Indies

10

0

5

5

0

0.00

TOTAL

46

34

34

12

0

 

 


ODIS - RESULTS FOR EACH COUNTRY IN 2006

ALL ODIS

TEAM

ODIS

WON

LOST

TIED

NR

WIN %

Australia

29

20

8

0

1

71.42

New Zealand

14

9

5

0

0

64.28

Bangladesh

28

18

10

0

0

64.28

South Africa

24

15

9

0

0

62.50

West Indies

33

18

14

0

1

56.25

Sri Lanka

36

19

15

0

2

55.88

Pakistan

23

11

10

0

2

52.38

Ireland

3

1

1

0

1

50.00

India

30

13

15

0

2

46.42

Kenya

16

7

9

0

0

43.75

Netherlands

8

3

4

0

1

42.85

Bermuda

12

4

8

0

0

33.33

Zimbabwe

29

8

20

0

1

28.57

England

20

5

14

0

1

26.31

Canada

10

2

8

0

0

20.00

Scotland

5

1

4

0

0

20.00

TOTAL

160

154

154

0

6