Shoaib Akhtar has suggested Pakistan start its own Twenty20 league to keep cricket alive in the country, which has suffered from a lack of international cricket this year. He said he knew of wealthy individuals and companies in Pakistan and abroad who would be keen on investing in such a venture.
"We need to find our own solution or else cricket will die in Pakistan," Shoaib said. "The money is there and that is one way to get foreign players to play in our country."
His words echo what former captain Ramiz Raja suggested in a column for on Monday: starting a Pakistan Premier League to help generate funds and induce international players to play in Pakistan.
"It is unfortunate that we don't have international cricket despite the assurances that our country is safe," Shoaib said. "So I suggest we inject money and have a tournament like the IPL, our PPL, so that foreign players come here and play."
Asked how international players would be involved given the security concerns, Shoaib said it would be up to the organisers to convince them. "We must convince them it is safe to play in Pakistan and offer them good money so that they come. Once our own PPL takes off, our international cricket will also be helped."
Last year the Pakistan board announced its decision to launch a Twenty20 league comprising six franchised teams belonging to corporate groups. The league, planned for September 2009, was conceived following the success of the Indian Premier League.
Pakistan have played no Tests this year and if India choose to cancel their tour scheduled for early next year it could jeopardise Pakistan's chances of hosting the postponed Champions Trophy in September 2009.
"The Indians and other teams need to show the same respect [shown by England by touring India] for our cricket and play in our country if our government is giving them security assurances," Shoaib said.
Shoaib is currently playing the domestic one-day Pentangular tournament, which features most of the national players, since Pakistan have no international cricket lined up till January. He last played for Pakistan in December 2007 and said he was working on his fitness in the hope of extending his career till the next World Cup in 2011. "I am going to nurse myself through matches. If I can do that properly I see myself completing 400 wickets in one-dayers."