Intikhab plan for boosting sports in Pakistan


Karachi: Former Pakistan captain and coach Intikhab Alam Saturday unveiled a proposal for provincial governments to lift the standard of cricket and other sports in the country.

Support TwoCircles

“What I’m proposing is that governments in Punjab and other three provinces should start adopting youngsters and train them in their respective sports,” he told The News daily in an interview.

“For example, the Punjab government can hold these province-wide trials in cricket, hockey, football and other sports for kids aged 12 to 15. They should pick around 15 boys in each sport and adopt them. The government should provide for their education, training and other expenses,” Intikhab said.

The Hoshiarpur-born Intikhab is confident that such a project will boost sports in Pakistan.

“At the moment, we are looking for ways and means to give Pakistan sports a boost. By implementing this project, chief ministers of the four provinces can play a huge role in producing future world champions.”

Speaking on a different issue, Intikhab said that he is looking forward to supervising a training camp for ‘reserve’ players in the coming months.

He said that he has discussed the idea with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt, new Pakistan coach Waqar Younis and chief selector Mohsin Hasan Khan.

“Our national team will soon be going to the West Indies for the Twenty20 World Cup and then will be busy in England for several months. It’s the best time to work on our bench strength and it would be great idea to have them attend a comprehensive training camp.”

Intikhab, now given the responsibility to train and groom youngsters, believes that his blueprint for youth development will ensure that Pakistan will never have to go through the sort of embarrassment that they suffered on the previous tour of Australia.

With Intikhab as coach, Pakistan went on to lose all their three Tests, five One-day Internationals and a Twenty20 game during the catastrophic assignment from December to February.

The Pakistanis batted like novices and spilled almost two dozen catches against the Aussies.

Intikhab was sacked while the PCB banned or fined seven leading players for charges ranging from indiscipline to ‘infighting’ in the aftermath of the dismal tour.

“What we’ve been lacking in our cricket are proper work ethics, professionalism and discipline,” said Intikhab. “Without instilling these qualities in our players we will keep on repeating the same mistakes again and again.”

Intikhab said that as National Cricket Academy (NCA) chief, his biggest target is to help produce world class players.

“There are certain things that you can’t learn once you are already playing at the international level,” he said.

“You have to teach a player manners, discipline things like how to eat, how to talk. You have to teach him how to carry himself when he is still a boy. That’s what we are going to do at the NCA from now on. We would try to ensure that we send players to various national teams who are ready to represent the country at the top level.”

Intikhab is convinced that the reason why Pakistan did so poorly in Australia was that their players are weak when it comes to the basics.

“We could have beaten Australia but what our players needed was skills that they should have learnt years ago as juniors. They fielded badly because they are weak in that department for ever and you can’t just teach them to be good fielders overnight. What we should do now is to ensure that the next lot of players is better trained and well-groomed,” he said.