New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) Swashbuckling batsman Shahid Afridi believes that playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) will help young Pakistani players improve themselves and help their national team regain some of their past glory.
Afridi pointed out many players who have done well in the inaugural edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) struggle to handle the pressure of representing their country at the international level in front of huge crowds unlike some of their Indian counterparts who have cut their teeth in the IPL.
“Of course. Or you raise the standard of domestic cricket to such a high level that they play. Many guys who are here (in the PSL) right now, top cricketers from Pakistan’s domestic cricket, have struggled in a bigger crowd of players. They couldn’t perform,” Afridi told Cricinfo.
“If you take the India (IPL) example, a new kid comes, he plays in front of such big crowds, in a dressing room with such big names, he faces no pressure in international cricket. And international cricket is all about the pressure and how to handle it,” he added.
Afridi — who is currently captaining the Pakistan team at the ongoing World Twenty20 — asserted that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) need to adopt a modern approach and pay attention to developing talent at the grassroots level.
“Cricket has become really modern. Our board, our management, they should be thinking about these things now. They have to get rid of these old-fashioned views, bring in new people, with new thinking. Until you have schools cricket, you will not produce that level of talent. School cricket is dying. When we went to school, my father thought I will be a doctor or an engineer, but I had a passion and talent for the game, and in school there was an opportunity, there was an atmosphere for it, so I got into it,” he said.
“There were grounds. Now schools are businesses. Sports have finished. If you want to become a player, you have to start from school. We need to change our thinking and provide facilities. With just one cricket academy we shouldn’t think that we can start beating Australia, New Zealand or England. Okay, fine, on a given day you can beat them, but overall, until your base is strong you cannot do it consistently.
“Look at Australia. Shane Warne, (Glenn) McGrath retired together. But they didn’t have problems, because their system, their base, is strong. Look at India, why has cricket improved so much, why has (M.S.) Dhoni been able to bring out new players? In every ground they have academies. The board has used their cricketers well and they have taken younger guys along,” he added.
“With us, our former guys only want to work with the Pakistan team coaching [set-up]. The PCB should get the top cricketers to U-14, U-16 level to share experiences with them in those academies.”