Renowned former Pakistan cricket captain, Shahid Khan Afridi, met with Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar on Thursday to engage in discussions surrounding various cricket matters, including the possibility of his involvement with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in the near future.
The meeting also delved into the performance of the current team led by Captain Babar Azam in the ongoing ICC World Cup and the critical aspect of nurturing cricketers from grassroots to international level. Shahid Afridi, in an exclusive conversation with The News, confirmed the substantial discussion with the Prime Minister regarding the development of cricket.
Shahid Afridi shared, “I received a call from the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday and had to rush to Islamabad to meet the PM. It was truly a pleasure discussing cricketing matters with the PM. He displayed a strong interest in ensuring the comprehensive training of our youth, grooming them systematically to help them excel not only in their careers but also bring laurels to our nation.”
Furthermore, the cricket star mentioned that the Prime Minister expressed a desire for him to play a significant role within the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). “I requested some time to make a decision regarding my association with the future of PCB. What Pakistan cricket truly needs is a structured, world-class training system for players from the grassroots to the highest levels. This has been lacking in Pakistan cricket, resulting in challenges in honing the available talent and transforming them into world-beaters,” Afridi added.
While acknowledging the wealth of talent within Pakistan, Afridi emphasized that talent alone cannot yield consistent results. “What we require is a systematic and structured approach to groom cricketers. Unless we wholeheartedly dedicate ourselves to nurturing this talent, we may struggle to make sustained progress at the international level.”
In the meantime, the fate of Zaka Ashraf, Chairman of the Management Committee, remains uncertain as his four-month term is set to conclude on November 4. The situation as of Thursday evening offers no clear indication of whether the Prime Minister will extend the tenure of the existing Management Committee or whether a fresh Management Committee will be appointed post-November 4, with a new leader at the helm.
An official from the Ministry for Inter-Provincial Coordination stated, “As of now, no decision has been made regarding the extension of the current Management Committee or the establishment of a new one. Both the previous and current management committees have encountered challenges in conducting PCB elections, which were the primary purpose for their formation. The ultimate decision now rests with the Prime Minister, who serves as the Patron in Chief of the PCB. Hopefully, the situation will become clearer in the coming days.”
Furthermore, the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination submitted a summary to the Prime Minister on Friday, seeking his opinion on the future of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee Chairman, Zaka Ashraf.