KARACHI: Former sports legends Javed Miandad, Jahangir Khan, Islahuddin alongside others, addressed a gathering of journalists at the Karachi Press Club on Saturday and called for retaining the departmental teams in domestic cricket and urged PM Imran Khan to review his decision of abolishing them which, they said, will deprive hundreds of cricketers of their livelihood.
They were protesting the PCB’s recent plans to abolish the departmental teams and introduce a new provincial system in domestic cricket with just six teams in the fray, which is in accordance with the vision of PM Imran Khan.Former captain and master batsman Javed Miandad condemned the Pakistan Cricket Board’s plans of revamping domestic cricket at the cost of departmental teams. “It will be detrimental for Pakistan cricket and departments must be retained for the sake of players’ survival,” he said. “All of us here are heroes from various sports as a result of support from the departments.
“Departmental cricket is extremely important and essential for our domestic cricket as well as national team’s rise because departments groom and nurture players very well,” said the record-breaking batsman. “It is these very departments which have created icons including Imran Khan.
“All of us had a lot of expectations from PM Imran to boost sports and transform things, but unfortunately the scenario appears quite bleak. I urge Imran to review his decision for the sake of our cricket’s future and for other sports as well.”
Ex-hockey Olympian Islahuddin endorsed Miandad’s views and said: “There must be proper alternatives if you are shutting the departments. This move will greatly harm our sports persons and their future. For the improvement of players, the departments are essential and must be retained. I played hockey for the country because of Customs and I played for them for 18 long years. We must realise their importance.”
Squash ace Jahangir also backed the retention of departmental teams and thanked PIA for supporting himthroughout his career. “A number of great sportsmen and women have blossomed under the wings of departments and they are key to our sports, especially cricket,” he said.
Former fast bowler Saleem Jaffar added. “Players will be facing very tough circumstance if departments are abolished. Recently, when Habib Bank has folded up its cricket team, the players have been shocked and got affected seriously.”