21 Oct 2021, 11:33

Pakistan can be kings again despite India's IPL riches, says Nazar

 DUBAI, Oct 21, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - Former Pakistan all-rounder Mudassar Nazar
insists his country will once again be the kings of Asian cricket despite
India's rise as world beaters on the back of the riches of the IPL.

   Pakistan were kings of the sub-continent from the mid-1980s to 1990s with
their on-field brilliance under Imran Khan, who led them to the 1992 World
Cup, before India turned the tables.

   "I don't think Pakistan has changed. It is India who have changed," Nazar
told AFP ahead of the eagerly-awaited India-Pakistan clash at the Twenty20
World Cup in Dubai on Sunday.

   "With the advent of the IPL they have used the money really, really well.
If you look at the domestic competition in India, look at all the
associations, how well they are organising their cricket.

   He added: "Everybody has got their own stadium, their own academies,
school cricket, state cricket. Cricket is thriving in India.

   "But the people who have been consistently doing well have been England
and Australia...India is in the forefront and among the three best sides in
the world."

   Starting in 2008, a year after the inaugural T20 World Cup, the IPL
ushered in a new era of white-ball cricket that witnessed the game break new
ground in viewership and fan base.

   The IPL emerged as the world's richest T20 league with its brand value
estimated at $6.7 billion in 2019 by the Duff and Phelps financial

   At the same time, Pakistan was becoming a no-go zone for international
cricket following the 2009 terror attack on the visiting Sri Lanka team.

   "The BCCI have been very clever in how they used the IPL money. Indian
cricket was powerful before that but since then it has seen a lot of
consistency," said Nazar.

   "They have got all the areas covered. You talk about fast bowling, you
talk about spinners, fielding, the physical side, it's a powerhouse. They
seem to be getting top class batsmen every season. At the moment they are
looking very formidable."

   - 'Tables will turn' -

   But Nazar remains hopeful that the Pakistan Super League (PSL) - the
nation's premier T20 tournament - and new management will revive the game.

   "It is also a matter of cycles. One decade we could be better than the
rest of the world and then somebody else catches up," said Nazar, who played
76 Tests between 1976 and 1989 with a batting average of over 38.

   He also sees a bright future under new PCB chairman Ramiz Raja.

   "Things have started to improve with the PSL, but it will take time. It
took time for India to revive."

   "There is no club cricket and there is hardly any state cricket, so that's
a stumbling block.

   "But now with the new management coming in, Ramiz is a former cricketer
and I think he will shape things better, put us on the right path and in the
next couple of years probably we will be as strong as we used to be."

   Pakistan once had a far better head-to-head record against India who
played catch up with their arch-rivals from 2000 onwards.

   Nazar, who had been part of that strong Pakistan set-up, said the national
team will someday turn a corner and notch up their first win against India in
a World Cup.

   "When we were playing we always had the edge and towards the end of my
career we won most games against India than we lost," said the 65-year-old

   "It needs somebody to come up with some brilliance. Somebody has a damn
good game. Somebody has a decent century and bowls a decent spell and all of
a sudden the tables will turn."


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