‘The Indian Premier League is pure entertainment, not cricket. The involvement of too much money will destroy the game,’ says Javed Miandad
As a cricketer, Javed Miandad was street smart. He knew the game like the back of his hand. Some people suggest that the legend hasn’t been able to digest ideas like the Indian Premier League and the Indian Cricket League.
Recently, Mag4you.com sat down with the great cricketer and discussed the latest issues surrounding the world of cricket. The following are excerpts from his interview:
The recent Shoaib Akhter saga has puzzled everyone. Where do you stand on the issue?
To be honest, both sides made mistakes. There should be no compromise on discipline. The ICC Code of Conduct enables referees to give decision the same day when a certain event has happened. But the PCB handled the issue so poorly that the image of the country has been tarnished. No country is now ready to attach importance to Pakistan. What’s wrong is wrong. Mistakes should not be tolerated to prevent them from getting repeated. In Shoaib Akhter’s case they made tribunal after tribunal. Clearly the board has no policy in place to discipline the team.
Do such incidents affect the team?
Definitely. In fact, in this case the team will be the ultimate casualty. The cricket administration has to be strong so that nobody can break the rules of discipline. You must punish the culprit then and there. Take the example of Harbajhan Singh. First he was banned from playing the IPL this season; and now the BCCI is thinking of further punishment. It’s good that they don’t compromise on discipline. But in our country, when one player hits the other with a bat, and that too during a foreign tour, nothing happens and he continues playing for the national side.
It didn’t happen in our time. In fact, we used to be afraid of the team manager, who could report our misconduct to the authorities concerned and throw us out of the team.
Some cricket pundits believe that in your time it used to be a one-man-show run by Imran Khan. What’s your take on that?
That doesn’t mean that he was not a disciplined individual. Imran was a strict captain and the attitude that he had adopted was for the betterment of the team. He and I had developed a good combination, and we never tolerated any nonsense. Even in the nets if we saw something unusual happening, we would immediately take action and throw the culprit out.
What are your views on the current Pakistani team?
Pakistan cricket is on the decline. One reason for is that talented players aren’t being groomed properly. The youngsters who were tried out against Zimbabwe weren’t tried against Bangladesh. Also, we are not playing against high-ranking teams and competing with the weaker sides doesn’t improve your game. It is contesting against quality teams like Australia and India that your potential is truly put to the test. But it’s not happening.
If the Australian side wasn’t willing to come to Pakistan, we should have gone to Australia. It would have at least made clear whether their players had genuine security concerns or they were avoiding the tour because they wanted to participate in the IPL. Pakistan should have toured Australia on the condition that after two years Australia would visit Pakistan in order to convert their home series into an away series.
So, is it the board’s fault?
There is not a single person in the board who knows (about) cricket. None of them have even played first class cricket. That’s why they are only ‘yes-men’, and authorities always look for such people. It’s a one-man-show in the team. The chairman of the board is there because he has the backing of higher authorities. You can easily evaluate his tenure. For the last nine or 10 years, ad-hocism has always prevailed in the country.
Is it right that one of the blunders that the board committed was the appointment of Shoaib Malik as captain?
The board should have planned it earlier. A captain should be the person who has 200 per cent place in the team. If that’s not the case, then the morale of the rest of the team gets affected. In Pakistan it is the issue of ‘seniority’ which is given preference for captaincy. In my opinion skill is more important. If you have experience you can judge that a certain cricketer has leadership qualities and should be groomed for captaincy.
Take the example of South African captain Graeme Smith who was made captain at a time when he didn’t have a confirmed place in the team but the South African board had seen his skills because he had captained Under-14, Under-16 and school teams.
You have coached the boys that are currently in the Pakistani national side. What are their weaknesses?
I was made coach of the national side after the World Cup 2003. I had started to make a team mainly with junior players around, as a number of seniors like Wasim, Waqar, Saeed and Ijaz had retired from international cricket. In one year we developed a strong team and Pakistan saw its all-time best ranking at the time. That team needed someone to correct their mistakes and I helped youngsters like Imran Farhat, Mohammad Hafeez, Taufiq Umar, Faisal Iqbal, Yasir Hameed and Umar Gul; and you can now see that all these cricketers are performing well. I didn’t have any magic wand, but cricket is in my blood. I had vast experience, and I passed it on to them.
If asked, would you accept the offer to coach the national side again?
It is not easy for me at the moment because I am not a sycophant. I want to keep my self-esteem intact. But if the Pakistani team needs my help, then I am here for it. Unfortunately there’s no one in the board who knows the game.
Would you like to share some of the best and worst moments of your career?
From 1986 to 1994 the Pakistani team was the top side in the world. It was a great feeling. But if I were to pinpoint any one event then it would have to be the World Cup 1992. Then there was the Australasia Cup 1986. Whereas the World Cup 1996 was the worst experience of my cricketing career, in which I was totally ignored and Pakistan lost poorly.
Who inspired you the most in your cricketing career?
I was very impressed with Mushtaq Mohammad. He was a genius and a great captain. As far as batting goes, I liked Sunil Gavasker. In fact, I wanted to break all his records.
Was there any bowler you were afraid of?
Colin Craft was a dangerous bowler because of his unusual action. I used to tune myself well against him, but other batsmen always took more time to adjust to his pace and bounce.
What’s your take on the Indian Premier League?
It is pure entertainment, not cricket. The involvement of too much money will destroy the game of cricket. It lacks quality and a cricketer can never get the confidence that he needs as a player. Even the greatest of bowlers cannot do anything about conceding sixes and fours.
If a bowler gives six runs per over, it is a great bowling stat in Twenty20; but the same stat in an ODI means bad bowling.
Test cricket is the real deal, because in a Twenty20game there is no technique involved. Most importantly, it does n’t teach a good lesson to youngsters.