An interview with Javed Miandad

SADAF AURANGZAIB, Senior Correspondent
Mar 05 - 11, 2007

The recent hype about the Cricket World Cup-2007 is on its peak as the countdown of the tournament has begun. Pakistani team is in the plethora of various decisions targeting few key players who could turn the tables but the situation could be different too as no one knows who is going to perform well. Our wishes with our team are always there but the marginality of the performing attitude of the team is evident through the recent South Africa series. Keeping our fingers crossed we reached one of the best batsmen of the cricket history of Pakistan, Javed Miandad, who humbly narrated the bleak situation our team and cricket infrastructure is facing at the moment.


New Zealand
South Africa
Sri Lanka
West Indies

On a query as to how is he previewing this World Cup in view of his vast experiences, Javed Miandad said that much has been changed and commercialism has moved inside everything. He said World Cup is a mega event in which every country tries to make the most of but we have to wait and see who is going to win as nothing is predictable at the moment. He mentioned that the difference today than that of his times was money. Today cricket draws huge sponsorships. Today the prize money for World Cup winner is three to four million dollars, while in their times it was hardly ten to fifteen thousand dollars. Today each participating country will be having something in the monetary terms. ICC is going to disburse the amount that it will earn through the tournament to the associate members as well as to the participating countries. The World Cup event exclusively belongs to the ICC.

While defining the role of ICC Miandad said that this event was exclusively planned by ICC and ICC goes to big sponsors in order to facilitate this event. All other countries also have the sponsors on their back but they do not count that much. ICC has the exclusive rights to earn from the event but then that money is used for the development of cricket all over the world where it is played. It is a covering body which has its spreads around the world. The cricket playing countries need to follow the ICC rules and regulations in order to represent the home ground sponsors and then the players can show them like having the tag on their T-shirts.

On a question about his satisfaction on the team selection, he pointed that two things that needed to be observed in making any judgments is the merit and performance. The players who were selected in the team are the ones who are in current form and can perform well. Here the cricket board has selected players who are out of touch for many days. Except the few ones, we don't have players in our team on merit basis. The cricket board is just hoping with the similar players who haven't performed well lately. Our preparation, homework, setup, criteria and system are all in doldrums. We are nowhere in this competition with the world. If we would be following a systematic approach then we might not be lagging behind in this race. We might have 10 extra players who can play as well like any other player. For the last three to four years, everyone is talking about the World Cup, and now when we are reaching nearby, we even don't have a complete team. Today the position is that half of our team is unfit. Many countries have the same problem but they have the replacements like Australia, India etc. If you evaluate the situation on performance basis, then we can't see anything in our team on which basis we can make any prediction. Comparatively, other countries have already performed quite well prior to the Cup in other cricket series, and with that help they found out as to where to replace and adjust.

About his choice of preferences for the players and whom he would have selected if he would be a part of the selection team, Miandad said whether I would be there or not, the selection board can still use my services as I have spent a long time in this field. Here they feel ashamed of taking any guidance. Our selection committee as such does not have any power. It is almost powerless and the captain is all powerful. All around the world selection committee watches the performance and selects the players on this basis, while the captain has a little say in that selection. Here the game is totally different; here the selection is made with the due permission of the captain. Captain has so many other responsibilities and he is needed to be an allrounder. Captain is an example and his responsibilities are manifold. What I feel is that all is wrong with our team is because of not having a proper system to follow.

While defining the kind of system he is talking about, Miandad said that academies could not produce few good individuals. In Pakistan, he said the only system that could be beneficial is the same system that flourished after late seventies and early eighties when the institutions and departments came forward to patronize cricket. That system was almost like a state cricket as institutions can afford to spend. The authorities should understand that we should evolve such ways through which players can earn as well as play. Today only 11 players are earning. There are millions who are playing cricket through many associations, we need to reckon as to what is their future. It's getting difficult for families to bring their children in this field, as there is no such incentive involved in it. If we would have had the institutionalized cricket, I can assure that cricket would be in a much better situation than it is today. Much concentration has been given to the regional cricket, which has not remained fruitful in giving good players and today we even don't have replacements! From 1982 to 1996, the cricket standards shot up as we were following the institutionalized cricket format. If a guy gets a job to play cricket, then he will play a sound cricket as he knows that financially his position is stable. Even today our Test cricketers are working for WAPDA in order to get monthly income. Cricket career is very short and one can't earn so much to spend through his whole life. With the backing of the banks we remained able to find the talents like Waqar Younus, Inzamam-ul-Haq, etc. who all belong to different areas of Pakistan. If today, top 25 institutions like ABN AMRO, UBL and National Bank form their teams, then competition will rise manifold and we would be able to get players through this competition and the involvement will become higher too. However, the cricket board still thinks that provincial and regional cricket will bring out the passionate players, whereas the regional jealousies is always lurking in. When we play for Habib Bank we play like Habibians and not like Punjabi, Pathan or Muhajir, that's the biggest advantage of playing from a positive platform.

Today, our sports have no patronage, no infrastructure. There is a huge difference between what government speaks and what the ground reality is. They should understand that how important is the earning factor and whether a player plays for an association or a bank, he will remain the same person but in the later case he could earn his living as well.

While narrating the injuries problem in the team, he said that players should understand that they have to take care of themselves and if they don't, no one else is going to take care of them. Recalling his times, he said that he used to get up early every day and go for practice session. Today, there should be a criterion of physical viability before taking any player into the team. When the cricket board has hired trainers from abroad then why the players are unfit, these trainers should be made answerable for this episode. Their fitness judgments are quite wrong but you are paying them so highly!

On a query about the World Cup hot favorites, Miandad said that if you closely analyze then you might know that no favorite team has yet won the World Cup. It's always the unexpected that wins it. From performance we can say that Australia, South Africa and New Zealand are quite capable as they have given good performance throughout the season. However, what counts the most in one day cricket is the performance of the team on that very day. One quick run-out or a catch could turn the match. It all depends on the performance of the team on that particular day. Pakistan, India, South Africa, West Indies and Sri Lanka all are equally balanced and they all have the potential. There is still a chance for Pakistan. Look at the example as to how we won 1992 World Cup. All unexpectedly the event turned into our victory so the one day cricket is totally an unpredictable game and anything can happen. As the World Cup is about to start in Caribbean hence Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka have a good chance there as these wickets are more like Sub Continental wickets. Those are newly laid wickets that you don't know how will they going to behave so the chances exist for everyone. The Pakistan's position is crippled due to the absence of Shoaib Akhtar and Asif and now Abdul Razzak is also out because of injury.

Miandad said though there is a void, we should learn from the last World Cup when we got finest bowling attack but we remained unable to qualify for the Super-6. We should not get depressed on the decision and we shouldn't believe on the superstar enigma. We should be prepared to play with anyone. In cricket one can't rely on a single man but one has to rely on the one who performs. We need not to see the names but performance, which we could get from any of the guys in our team. In 1996 World Cup, we had Waseem Akram, Waqar Younus, Shoaib Akhtar, Razzak, Saqlain but what happened! We repeat our history but we don't to take any lessons from our past.

On the prospects of the Pakistani team, he said that we are going without these bowlers but still we have a stable batting order. The skipper should have an eye and strategy like he can go for spinners to fight and win the match. About Inzamam's capability, he said he should be responsible to take the burden of the captaincy; he should devise such strategy that prove fruitful for the team.

His message: The team should sit together; with whatever they have, and then design a strategy. Forget about the ones who are not there and follow the strategy in principle. We have few good spinners whom we can use in thirty overs and we can even bowl the opposite team out with that.


Full name: Mohammad Javed Miandad Khan
Born: 12th June, 1957 in Karachi.
Batting: Right-handed batsman
Bowling: Leg-break and googly
Occasional wicket-keeper

RELATIONS: Brother: Anwar Miandad; Brother: Sohail Miandad; Brother: Bashir Miandad; Nephew: Faisal Iqbal

TEAMS: Pakistan (Test: 1976/77-1993/94); Pakistan (ODI: 1975-1995/96); Karachi Whites (Main FC: 1973/74-1975/76); Sindh (Main FC: 1973/74-1975/76); Karachi Blues (Main FC: 1973/74); Sindh A (Main FC: 1974/75-1975/76); Sussex (Main FC: 1976-1979); Glamorgan (Main FC: 1980-1985); Habib Bank Limited (Main FC: 1975/76-1990/91); Sindh (Main ListA: 1974/75); Sussex (Main ListA: 1976-1979); Glamorgan (Main ListA: 1980-1985); Habib Bank Limited (Main ListA: 1975/76-1995/96); Karachi Blues (Main ListA: 1997/98); All teams

Indian Cricket Cricketer of the Year: 1980
Glamorgan CCC Player of the Year 1980, 1981
Glamorgan Cap: 1980
Wisden Cricketer of the Year: 1982
Glamorgan Club captain: 1982
copyright (c) Glamorgan CCC