For Pakistan cricket, everything changed a year ago. The men running the game in the strife-ridden country are working hard to reverse those changes, but the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team, which left several players with bullet or shrapnel wounds, has brought tours to Pakistan to a grinding halt. Former Pakistan leggie and selector Abdul Qadir looks back at the year that was.
A year on from the horrors of Lahore, how has Pakistan sustained its cricket?
Pakistan was rendered helpless as far as cricket is concerned after the Lahore attacks. And with the present situation, we can’t blame anyone for not touring Pakistan. We have accepted the truth and thus have learnt to adjust. We have to start looking for other venues where we can host matches, and, that’s what the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is doing at the moment. While such steps are depleting our funds, it’s the only way now to keep cricket alive.
Do you see cricket returning to Pakistan any time soon?
I would not want a guest at my place if I am not secure myself. Therefore, it would be silly to put a time frame. Who wouldn’t want a Tendulkar, Dravid or Dhoni to come and play an innings of a lifetime in Pakistan? But we have to wait and we don’t know how long.
The Karachi Champions League (KCL) seems to be a huge success. How do you see such tournaments reviving cricket in Pakistan?
I must congratulate the organisers of the event. Such tournaments are an escape from thoughts of rejection. And prize money of Rs 10 million is unprecedented in a small club-level tournament in Pakistan. Such tournaments are needed.
Your thoughts on the IPL auction fiasco?
It was a bad gesture, as in this time of crisis all Asian countries must stand together. Our cricketers have done no harm. They just want to play cricket, that’s all.
You were playing when Sachin Tendulkar made his debut in 1989. What difference did you see in him when he scored the ODI double-hundred?
I noticed the same Sachin, whom I saw 21 years back. His youthful exuberance is still there. He showed the same appetite for runs. He is getting younger with time. Please watch him steal a single or push for a two when he is playing next time.