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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Inzamam calls for Indo-Pak series in Sharjah

Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has welcomed the return of Sharjah Cricket Stadium as a venue for Pakistan’s upcoming home series against Sri Lanka followed by England’s tour. With foreign teams reluctant to tour Pakistan over security concerns, Inzamam described Sharjah as the next best destination away from home. “It’s a great venue and if India and Pakistan matches are held here it will be of great significance. Both the communities here are vast and people will get an opportunity to witness some great cricket. They will come in big numbers.
The ground has witnessed highest number of ODIs and this would be really great for cricket. If it starts again it will be very good,” he was quoted as saying by website emirates on Thursday.
Sharjah will host a Test match after nine years and also a one-day international during Pakistan’s series against Sri Lanka which begins next month.
Inzamam called for the regularisation of India-Pakistan series because fans of both countries are keen to see their cricketers playing against each other as evidenced during the turbo-charged World Cup semifinal.
“There will be strong competition and cricket will be played at a top level. It will generate interest among the youngsters and the passion will grow and the game will also improve among the teams,” he added.
“If it does not happen in the home country, they can have in a neutral venue and people will surely come where ever it is held,” he said endorsing Sharjah as the ideal neutral venue.
Talking of schedules, he blamed an overdose of cricket for the injuries to India’s players during their disastrous tour of England although acknowledging the hosts were the better team. “Earlier there were decent gaps between matches. Players were getting sufficient rest and in a year there were only six to eight Tests and 15 to 20 ODIs.
“So this gave players enough time to recover. But now the players don’t have so much of time. So when a player is injured he does not get the proper rest required and he plays and aggravates injuries,” said Inzamam.
He also felt that players found it difficult to switch gears from Tests, one-day and Twenty20 formats of the game though not finding fault with the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL). “India for the last six months have been playing only the shorter format and suddenly playing the longer version affected their temperament.
They were already under pressure and because of mounting injury list during the series it became difficult for them to win. It’s not because of IPL or anything but because of too much of cricket which increases the risk of injuries,” he said.
He also urged all-rounder Shahid Afridi to resolve his differences with the Pakistan Cricket Board and make a comeback to the sport. “He is a good player and if he comes back it’s good for the team but first the differences between him and the board have to be sorted out. It is not good when players and board fight through the media,” he said.
One-day skipper Afridi quit international cricket after being stripped of captaincy during the tour of West Indies. Coach Waqar Younis also subsequently resigned citing personal reasons.
However, Inzamam felt there was no need to appoint a foreign coach because there were so many experienced past players to choose from in Pakistan.
“I don’t think we need to search for a coach outside Pakistan. I think in Pakistan there are so many great players capable of being coach,” he said.
Inzamam said they should pick someone who has experience in all three formats of the game. “Saeed Anwar is there, Mushtaq Ahmed is coaching in England, Saqlain Mushtaq has coached in New Zealand. So we have players who have served as coaches in different countries. So the Pakistan board has to hire such players which will benefit the team,” he said.
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