ADELAIDE, Dec 2 (APP): Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Executive Wasim Khan said that changes at the grassroots level would bring consistency in Pakistan cricket, saying his role was to overhaul domestic structure, eradicate inconsistency in performance, enhance revenues and improve infrastructure.

In an interview with APP on the 4th day of the day-night pink ball test match between Australia and Pakistan here on Monday, he talked about his goals at length as cricket administrator and how the PCB trying to do things over the longer term, adding that they will be successful in their goals.

On the domestic structure, Wasim Khan said domestic system was being overhauled in the country,adding that introduction of six regional cricket associations instead of the 16 teams in domestic cricket was a right step which would promote cricket and minimze the gap between domestic and international cricket.

To a query, he said in other countries,it took almost two years to overhaul a domestic structure but we had done it in 7 months only.

Old domestic system, he elaborated, did nothing to overcome inconsistency in performance of the players, stressing inconsistency is the reason behind lack of competitiveness among our players on the international level.”A domestic structure must develop game of a player and close the gap between the domestic cricket and the international cricket, and it is the main focus of making six regional teams”, he responded.

“I don’t mean that our players are not good enough but they don’t get the right environment to develop their game and this is the area where we need to work”, he said, adding that if we get the infrastructure right at all levels be it domestic system, coaching or the facilities to the players it help PCB overcome inconsistency.

About the pitches in Pakistan domestic circuit, he said cricket pitches wickets have to improve massively and that is the big area we looking to improve on.

“One of my other priorities is to improve quality of pitches in the country, adding that the pitches are massively different in Australia, England, South Africa and New Zealand and the PCB would work to prepare better wickets in order to give fair chances to our players on away tours like Australia”, he claimed.

On the infrastructure like Australia, Wasim Khan said the infrastructures in two countries could not be compared, adding that Australia had invested in the right areas over the years.

“We are looking to develop 6 high performance centres to work under the six cricket associations”, adding “we are devising ways where these associations can generate their own funds through sponsors”.

He urged the fans to be patient as the systems are not mature and things don’t change overnight.

Terming Pakistan Super League (PSL) an important platform to produce tough cricketers and provide opportunities to perform under pressure, adding that it provides you the opportunity to provide players who have delivered under pressure. He said HBL PSL will toughen players through tough competition ver much like the IPL did for the Indian players.

Bringing Pakistan Super League (PSL) back to Pakistan was a huge achievement, adding that PSL will be played over four venues in Pakistan including Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Multan in February 2020. He said 250 international cricketers from 15 countries have registered for the draft.

On return of test cricket to the country, he said bringing test cricket back to Pakistan after 10 years was huge step forward for us, adding it was the foremost target as the teams had been visiting Pakistan off and on to play white ball cricket in the past but test cricket was missing.

On the achievements during his Australia stay, the Chief Executive PCB said he had met former Australian cricketers and the members of the Australian Cricketers Association – since the decision to tour a country is taken by the players – during his stay and tried to make possible tour of Australia A team to Pakistan by the end of 2020.”I have done a lot of media work here and spoke to many Australian cricketers to make visits by foreign teams possible”, he explained.

Wasim Khan said slowly but surely we were moving in the right direction, adding PCB has invited South Africa, Afghanistan and Ireland to come and play T20 cricket against us in March next year.

On financial sustainability, the CEO admitted that there was lot of work to be done on the commercial front to become more sustainable as a cricket board, adding since Pakistan did not play against India it causes lots of burden on the revenue. He said PCB was too much reliant on ICC, PSL, domestic and international broadcasting rights for revenues, adding that there was need to generate revenues from other sources and a commercial director had been appointed to discover more vistas for revenue generation.

On the lack of quality off-break bowlers in the country, the cricket manager blamed poor pitches in the country, adding that the spinner did not get a chance to groom as the matches ended within two to three days in the past, adding that this promoted medium-pacers only.

On the team’s Australian tour, Wasim Khan candidly admitted that the team had not started the test championship well on the Australian soil due to inexperience, adding that Pakistan was not the only side to struggle in Australia. However, he said there were many positives from the tour as the young players had the ability while they needed to nurture self-belief to do well internationally.

On the upcoming World Cup in Australia, he urged the fans to back Misbah ul Haq and the team for next twelve months so that a squad could be built for the T20 World in Australia, Asia Cup and the T20 WC in India in 2021.

On the hiring of former Pakistan leggie Mushtaq Ahmed as spin-bowling coach, Wasim Khan said that Mushtaq Ahmed is one of the many applicants and enjoys great respect among our players for being a former staff, clarifying that only the best man would get the job as spin bowling coach.

VNS, Lahore

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