New age February 26, 2008

Many a trip betwixt cup and first slip

A particular question has perplexed me for the last five years or so
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A particular question has perplexed me for the last five years or so. It is a question that I expect to disappear during each U19 World Cup but instead the question hammers away even louder inside my cranium. The question is this: How can Pakistan be so consistently successful at U19 level yet so few of those young stars graduate to become full international cricketers?

Pakistan might stumble in this U19 World Cup or they might make it a hat-trick, either way they have done enough again for that annoying question to become even more annoying. What is going on? if we accept that bone scans and better record-keeping ensure that over-age players do not distort the results of this fascinating competition, we also have to accept that there is a rich seam of talent that the Pakistani cricket system fails to develop properly.

It might indeed be too much to expect to find a Javed Miandad or a Wasim Akram at every tournament but it is equally inconceivable that Pakistan can be so successful at two, now three, successive tournaments and fail to find a single genuine new star. An acceptable explanation would be the success of the national team, and we know how feeble that would be as an explanation.

Many a trip, then, betwixt winning an U19 World Cup winners medal and making it to first slip in the national team. The trips are too consistent to be blamed on individuals and are another indictment of a national cricket system that only succeeds in dashing hopes and expectations.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • lpjigynjvgfft on February 9, 2009, 19:35 GMT

    nice

  • Martin Hook on March 2, 2008, 3:53 GMT

    For all the promotion of U19; it is India which is in finals and not the pakistan. So it seems pakistan is not doing all that great in even U-19 anymore. Very sad for them.

  • Awais Misri on March 1, 2008, 21:49 GMT

    I would love to see Akhtar Ayub, Jamshed Ahmed and Anwar Ali play in atleast a few ODI's. One thing our board needs to do is focus on bringing in bowlers who clock an average of 145 km/h into the national team. Military medium bowlers like Sohail Tanvir will just be easy pie for batsmen like Ponting, Hayden et al. Spending money on players like that, and giving out contracts to medium pacers over genuine express pace bowlers like Shoaib is just a travesty. So what if Shoaib spoke out against not being given a contract?? Whether or not we like his attitude, he is the best bowler in the country at the moment and that's what should matter. The PCB has destroyed Shoaib's career and are brining in useless lads such as Tanvir. Thank god for the ICL clearing out trash like Farhat, Sami et al.

    and everyone knows that Nasim Ashraf is the most incompetent person on this planet, and has only assumed an important role in our nation due to his relations with Mush

  • Philip John Joseph on March 1, 2008, 18:24 GMT

    Theossa:

    It's tough to debate your points because this topic already has too many variables for convenient analysis, so I can only theorize. I would tend to support your point that nutrition plays a role. I'm not so hot on the genes theory. I accept that consanguination and inbreeding is a bad thing, but generally speaking I don't think genes are a problem under normal conditions. I feel Japan made up most of the gap in sports by having developed world nutrition, but I feel their preference for fish and not red meat does still put them a little bit behind, though fish meat is definitely much healthier. Mental strength is tougher to analyse. Americans don't play the same sports that the world plays so the comparison is tough, but I do consider continental Europeans to be mentally tougher than Americans. American and British soldiers are NOT able to fight to the death but historically German and Russian soldiers enjoyed fighting to the death. That is also mental strength.

  • Martin Hook on March 1, 2008, 18:13 GMT

    Javed Khan, like a 10th grade debater you don't pay attention to the fact. Please read Zubair's comment where he has put this matter to rest. And please stop whining and spinning.

  • Tair on March 1, 2008, 9:52 GMT

    With the current crop of failures in the full national team, who despite their failures, manage to be recalled again and again due to their affiliations with the powers that be in the PBC 7 Government, it is high time that young blood is added to the National team. And by that I mean, young players who are there on merit, having acheived or shown great promise at U19 level. Not young players who happen to be the nephew, etc. of a former palyer / PCB official or Army General.

    the old adage, of ten used by Geoffrey Boycott, of "..if you're good enough, you're old enough" stands very true and I urge the PCB to deliver a national senior team that Pakistanis around the world can be proud of.

  • Zubair on March 1, 2008, 2:16 GMT

    Kamran Bhai,your question is valid and perplexing.IMO under 19 players of Pakistan are not really under 19 .We all know that many Pakistani people somehow get Birth Certificates indicating a reduced age.This is especially true in the rural and small town population.Indeed, many of our country-men do not have Birth Certificates,it is their high school certificates(that is if they are high school pass)which are the first official documents indicating their age.Recently I saw a Shahid Afridi interview on Youtube where he admitted that he is a few years older than his offical age.In other words we have a team of players who are older and therefore more experienced than the players of other Under 19 teams. Obviously we are able to perform better. The age issue is much more problematic in Bangladesh.I have many Bangladeshi friends who have frankly admitted that their age is much more than their official age.One of them is officially 34 years old and he finished MBBS in 1993!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rookie Sensation on February 29, 2008, 23:36 GMT

    Well lets put it this way, its all in our food, and lifestyle, youth in australia workout, exercise follow a well balanced protein diet. minor leagues is a joke in pakistan, its sad to say india has much better talent.

    i am willing to place another gaurantee tonight, South Africe will defeat pakistan in U-19 semi's.

  • krish on February 29, 2008, 22:39 GMT

    Hi Javed A Khan, Canada. Thanks for your comment. Sorry, I should have have been more clearer in my statement. You do need skills, commitment and other attributes at any level. What happens at the highest level is consistent demonstration and examination of these skills. In U19 games you can get away with sporadic demonstration of these attributes. To achieve consistency, you need exposure, experience and performance at the highest level and proper guidance in the form of role models or training academies. If you don't learn quickly in your first few seasons in international cricket then you are finished. I agree with you that the cricketer must make it as his responsibility and find means to achieve these attributes. Having said that, there should be avenues and provisions for them to obtain and develop them. This is where the respective cricket boards play a significant part.

  • JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 29, 2008, 14:06 GMT

    Martin Hookerrrr ... what are you saying man? And, how often do you go to Pakistan to say with authority that there aren't any schools in the villages? I do visit regularly and, I know there are schools even in small villages. But, these cricket players weren't born in the remotest part of the country. Check out their place of birth, go and visit Pakistan before passing a sweeping comment. Among the current Australian team except for MJ Clarke and Mitchel Johnson every single player is between 30 and 37 years of age and they ALL look older than their age. As regards looks and aging, Harvard and Stanford scientists and researchers have confirmed that the rate of aging is at least in part genetically determined. The Chinese people don't show aging as much as the Aryan Race. The study participants whose tissues appeared younger than their true age had something - something dearly sought by aging researchers - that made their cells keep activating genes in a more youthful pattern. These genes make up the cellular machinery called, "the electron transport chain," which generates energy in the cell's mitochondria. In the valley of Hunza, Pakistan people are famous for young looks and longevity (100 years plus is common) It is the genes that make people look young or old and, the fingerprint of aging can be detected in blood and skin cells, drugs or lifestyle changes can alter aging process. We all know about the bone density test to determine age. But, the question is: What causes the electron transport chain genes to slow their protein production and why? If tortoises can live for hundreds of years, why do flies self-destruct in a matter of weeks? The distance covered by a fly in a couple of weeks is covered in 60 years by an elephant. Reportedly, the cell has a molecular homeowner that keeps up repairs until a predetermined time. The homeowners in tortoise cells stick around for hundreds of years delaying the decay, while those in fly cells move out within weeks. So, apart from genetics, stressed lifestyle, too much of drugs, alcohol and exposure to sun rays can also lead to aging of the skin and the muscles at a faster rate. I cannot explain to you more than this in this window of limited characters.

  • lpjigynjvgfft on February 9, 2009, 19:35 GMT

    nice

  • Martin Hook on March 2, 2008, 3:53 GMT

    For all the promotion of U19; it is India which is in finals and not the pakistan. So it seems pakistan is not doing all that great in even U-19 anymore. Very sad for them.

  • Awais Misri on March 1, 2008, 21:49 GMT

    I would love to see Akhtar Ayub, Jamshed Ahmed and Anwar Ali play in atleast a few ODI's. One thing our board needs to do is focus on bringing in bowlers who clock an average of 145 km/h into the national team. Military medium bowlers like Sohail Tanvir will just be easy pie for batsmen like Ponting, Hayden et al. Spending money on players like that, and giving out contracts to medium pacers over genuine express pace bowlers like Shoaib is just a travesty. So what if Shoaib spoke out against not being given a contract?? Whether or not we like his attitude, he is the best bowler in the country at the moment and that's what should matter. The PCB has destroyed Shoaib's career and are brining in useless lads such as Tanvir. Thank god for the ICL clearing out trash like Farhat, Sami et al.

    and everyone knows that Nasim Ashraf is the most incompetent person on this planet, and has only assumed an important role in our nation due to his relations with Mush

  • Philip John Joseph on March 1, 2008, 18:24 GMT

    Theossa:

    It's tough to debate your points because this topic already has too many variables for convenient analysis, so I can only theorize. I would tend to support your point that nutrition plays a role. I'm not so hot on the genes theory. I accept that consanguination and inbreeding is a bad thing, but generally speaking I don't think genes are a problem under normal conditions. I feel Japan made up most of the gap in sports by having developed world nutrition, but I feel their preference for fish and not red meat does still put them a little bit behind, though fish meat is definitely much healthier. Mental strength is tougher to analyse. Americans don't play the same sports that the world plays so the comparison is tough, but I do consider continental Europeans to be mentally tougher than Americans. American and British soldiers are NOT able to fight to the death but historically German and Russian soldiers enjoyed fighting to the death. That is also mental strength.

  • Martin Hook on March 1, 2008, 18:13 GMT

    Javed Khan, like a 10th grade debater you don't pay attention to the fact. Please read Zubair's comment where he has put this matter to rest. And please stop whining and spinning.

  • Tair on March 1, 2008, 9:52 GMT

    With the current crop of failures in the full national team, who despite their failures, manage to be recalled again and again due to their affiliations with the powers that be in the PBC 7 Government, it is high time that young blood is added to the National team. And by that I mean, young players who are there on merit, having acheived or shown great promise at U19 level. Not young players who happen to be the nephew, etc. of a former palyer / PCB official or Army General.

    the old adage, of ten used by Geoffrey Boycott, of "..if you're good enough, you're old enough" stands very true and I urge the PCB to deliver a national senior team that Pakistanis around the world can be proud of.

  • Zubair on March 1, 2008, 2:16 GMT

    Kamran Bhai,your question is valid and perplexing.IMO under 19 players of Pakistan are not really under 19 .We all know that many Pakistani people somehow get Birth Certificates indicating a reduced age.This is especially true in the rural and small town population.Indeed, many of our country-men do not have Birth Certificates,it is their high school certificates(that is if they are high school pass)which are the first official documents indicating their age.Recently I saw a Shahid Afridi interview on Youtube where he admitted that he is a few years older than his offical age.In other words we have a team of players who are older and therefore more experienced than the players of other Under 19 teams. Obviously we are able to perform better. The age issue is much more problematic in Bangladesh.I have many Bangladeshi friends who have frankly admitted that their age is much more than their official age.One of them is officially 34 years old and he finished MBBS in 1993!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rookie Sensation on February 29, 2008, 23:36 GMT

    Well lets put it this way, its all in our food, and lifestyle, youth in australia workout, exercise follow a well balanced protein diet. minor leagues is a joke in pakistan, its sad to say india has much better talent.

    i am willing to place another gaurantee tonight, South Africe will defeat pakistan in U-19 semi's.

  • krish on February 29, 2008, 22:39 GMT

    Hi Javed A Khan, Canada. Thanks for your comment. Sorry, I should have have been more clearer in my statement. You do need skills, commitment and other attributes at any level. What happens at the highest level is consistent demonstration and examination of these skills. In U19 games you can get away with sporadic demonstration of these attributes. To achieve consistency, you need exposure, experience and performance at the highest level and proper guidance in the form of role models or training academies. If you don't learn quickly in your first few seasons in international cricket then you are finished. I agree with you that the cricketer must make it as his responsibility and find means to achieve these attributes. Having said that, there should be avenues and provisions for them to obtain and develop them. This is where the respective cricket boards play a significant part.

  • JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 29, 2008, 14:06 GMT

    Martin Hookerrrr ... what are you saying man? And, how often do you go to Pakistan to say with authority that there aren't any schools in the villages? I do visit regularly and, I know there are schools even in small villages. But, these cricket players weren't born in the remotest part of the country. Check out their place of birth, go and visit Pakistan before passing a sweeping comment. Among the current Australian team except for MJ Clarke and Mitchel Johnson every single player is between 30 and 37 years of age and they ALL look older than their age. As regards looks and aging, Harvard and Stanford scientists and researchers have confirmed that the rate of aging is at least in part genetically determined. The Chinese people don't show aging as much as the Aryan Race. The study participants whose tissues appeared younger than their true age had something - something dearly sought by aging researchers - that made their cells keep activating genes in a more youthful pattern. These genes make up the cellular machinery called, "the electron transport chain," which generates energy in the cell's mitochondria. In the valley of Hunza, Pakistan people are famous for young looks and longevity (100 years plus is common) It is the genes that make people look young or old and, the fingerprint of aging can be detected in blood and skin cells, drugs or lifestyle changes can alter aging process. We all know about the bone density test to determine age. But, the question is: What causes the electron transport chain genes to slow their protein production and why? If tortoises can live for hundreds of years, why do flies self-destruct in a matter of weeks? The distance covered by a fly in a couple of weeks is covered in 60 years by an elephant. Reportedly, the cell has a molecular homeowner that keeps up repairs until a predetermined time. The homeowners in tortoise cells stick around for hundreds of years delaying the decay, while those in fly cells move out within weeks. So, apart from genetics, stressed lifestyle, too much of drugs, alcohol and exposure to sun rays can also lead to aging of the skin and the muscles at a faster rate. I cannot explain to you more than this in this window of limited characters.

  • Irfan on February 29, 2008, 13:57 GMT

    Come on Martin Hook! Now you are talking non sense and you know it. Take off that blind fold off your eyes called prejudice!

  • Rahul on February 29, 2008, 8:41 GMT

    I think the ability of the media to create stars basis a single series performance or match performance is one factor that results in the talent going waste. Adulation at the highest level for a 19 year old is something new and he is not mature enough to handle it. This results in the youngster becoming complacent and also stops his learning process. The role of the coach and the administration becomes very critical in harnessing the talents and keeping the 19 year old at ground level. They need to ensure that the youngster is able to handle the adulation and also keep his learning cap on. And the difference between australia and the sub-constinental is that their players are not made overnight stars and also their players need to perform consistently, which is not the case with the sub-continental senior sides, where players are selected on past glories rather than on current performance.

  • Martin Hook on February 29, 2008, 1:52 GMT

    Javed Khan if what you write is true, then how come Shahid Afridi is still under 30. He looks way older. He was no way 16 as projected. And dont give me crap about birth certificates; you guys dont even have schools in your villages. So Schools asking for certificate is a mute point. May be living in Canada you have forgotten the poverty of pakistani villages.

  • JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 29, 2008, 0:26 GMT

    LOL @ Billy Bowden's crooked finger and his crooked views (February 28, 2008 3:22 AM) he says with authority that Pakistani U-19 players have already peaked up at the age of 19 therefore, "there is no room for any further advancement and to go any further."

    What a load of cow manure! From where the hello did you get this notion that 19 is the age for a player to peak and then there is no room for improvement? For this, you should get a Noble Prize in Genetics and Sportive Medicine.

  • Amer, Canton CT on February 29, 2008, 0:05 GMT

    What happened to Anwar Ali, the medium-fast bowlwer, who dismantled India in the U019 finals, couple of years back. I believe he had 5 or wickets in that game that helped Pakistn win U19 championship against India. I watched his bowling for that match on youtube, and I must say, he bowled incredibaly well; with swinging the ball couple of yards, both in the air and on the pitch. He looked promising...why wasn't he given a chance to play for the national team. Is it me or anyone else felt the same. Does anyone know if he is playing anywhere?

  • Mohsen on February 28, 2008, 19:25 GMT

    Mohit Khana: Surely your comments are a highly unsuccessful attempt at humor or wriiten under heavy influence of a toxic substance (thus a mention of pubs). You mention Pakistan young cricketers excel because others kids are not intersted (not interested in a world cup no less:) and have better things to do such as "drinking and dating" Using your logic other teams should better be at boat races and singles parties rather being at U19 WC. What a distasteful attempt to take away credit. Fact is Pakistan has better talent at junior level and a top coach in Mansoor Rana! For all those with accusations of overage players, ever heard of bone scans?

  • Hammad Siddiqi, Cincinnati Ohio on February 28, 2008, 18:14 GMT

    Mr. A, your timing is usually spot on, and if you're already working on this particular column, please ignore my jumping the gun. However I feel something needs to be written about the Pakistani Ladies qualifying for next years World Cup. I've been reading Urooj Mumtaz's column with interest and unless someone ghost-writes for her, she seems a very articulate, intelligent and generally impressive young woman. I can't even imagine what kind of hurdles and obstacles these girls would have had to go through to be able to accomplish what they have today. Rock on Ladies!!! Enter the era of the Cornered Tigresses perhaps?

  • Irfan on February 28, 2008, 14:34 GMT

    I read Martin Hook's post above and seems like either he is a total ignorant or has a penchant for maligning the truth. Each and every team that plays in this tournament does so on the condition of providing the proof of birth of the their players not just Aussie or English. Either he was not paying attention or was preoccupied by his notion of calling Pak a cheat but the writer did mention the bone scans that are done randomly which is the equivalent to dope testing in regular tournaments. If the bone scans comes back telling a different story then what’s on the paper matches are forfeited and the teams severely penalized.

    As to the question why all these good players never make it to the top I think there might be quite a few contributing factors there Nepotism Regionalism Ignorance and lack of judgment on the part of our selectors Lack of Initiative and vested Interests of different parties.

  • JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 28, 2008, 14:19 GMT

    Krish - I am surprised to read your comments that, U-19 players don't require mental toughness, determination or, tactics to play under pressure ..... and they don't need bowling, batting skills etc. Have you seen the final of the last U-19 WC? It was a very, very low scoring match and the Pakistani team was under tremendous pressure to defend a meager total of 109 and then they bowled out India for 71 to win the cup. Never before you may have seen such a low scoring final ending in a thrilling finish. You think those guys did not have mental toughness or determination to win? You think they were bowling without any skills? From the last U-19 WC, the kid Anwar Ali who took 5 wickets and was MoM disappeared into oblivion and the only player to be included recently in the Pakistan national side is Nasir Jamshed. Whereas for India, Piyush Chawla and Rohit Sharma were in that U-19 team for India that lost to Pakistan. Both, Chawla and Sharma have established themselves better than Jamshed. The point that I have tried to make in my previous 2 comments, you have touched it very briefly that having talent is one thing but, to consisitently achieve success at the national level is a different ball game. That is what I have been ranting that the players have to say it to themselves, "I have to be a better me." And, no one but the players themselves are responsible for their success or the failure. And rext what happened to you? This is the first time you are agreeing with my comments and that too, "absolutely" wow! Its like the sun is rising from the west? But, I don't agree with your other comment i.e., "We older men remember...." errrrr please don't include me in your list of "WE" because, I am not old like you. ;-)

  • khansahab786@gmail.com on February 28, 2008, 10:50 GMT

    TTU, you can watch the Pentangular Cup on TV as well as the internet. Explaining the process will be somewhat lengthy and I don't think the character limit will facilitate me as to that effect. It is however easier to watch these matches than it may seem. It is a good idea to watch first class cricket in Pakistan to observe why the international team does not play consistently. I'll tell you what, why don't you email me and I will discuss the matter with you further? This is open to anyone-feel free to e-mail me to discuss anything regarding Pakistani cricket as I am an encyclopedia of cricket :)

    Imran Khan is a role model and icon for all Pakistani cricketers. But he had a charisma and acumen that is not present in any of the current cricketers. Our senior cricketers want to be the management, selection committee and captain at the same time. They want to have more power and authority without thinking about their actual performance on the field. This cannot work with everyone- in fact in the last couple of decades it has only worked with Imran.

  • krish on February 28, 2008, 8:52 GMT

    An interesting observation Kamran. My observation to this problem lies in the standard of cricket being played at U19 and senior level. At U19 level cricketers are displaying raw/inborn talent and skill. At the senior level as a cricketer, you are tested in attributes like mental toughness, determination, tactics under pressure,ability to bounce back after failure,enhanced batting/bowling/fielding skills. When any team plays Australia, they are severely tested in these areas and found wanting. No such kind of examination takes place in the U16 level. It is not a smooth transition from one level to another. To have talent is one thing but to consisitently achieve success at the highest level is a different ball game. This is where domestic structure and training academies come into play. If a country lacks these infrastructures then your only left with the option of sending them elsewhere for the same.Sadly this is not happenining with Pakistan or even India to a certain extent.

  • Ibrahim Moiz on February 28, 2008, 8:30 GMT

    it's stupid how some people are blaming the lack of enthusiasm in older players for the defeats. Enthusiasm has little to do with it. I know it's easy to blame the board but in this case it's true, Shahryar Khan was a bit ineffectual but Nasim Ashraf has been terrible. Granted he came in a very difficult time but he has made it worse with his idiotic policies. Just about the only good thing he has done so far is the Hunt for Heroes.

  • Umair on February 28, 2008, 8:01 GMT

    The domestic structure isnt competitive enough and wont be for the forseeable future. I'd suggest that we do away with the tried-and-tested lot (sami etc) and believe in our young ones. Better that they learn on the job than rot away on placid pitches playing matches no one watches or cares about.

    Alternatively, the Pakistan A team should consist of only U19 & U21 players and sent on foreign trips so that they can get a feel of what international level cricket is all about and then blooded immediately in the international team.

  • faizullah khawaja on February 28, 2008, 7:38 GMT

    I think there is a big gap in the quality and level of the game between the U 19 and international level. Our system does not develop these players to that level. we need to pick these players and groom them in some centers of excellence and tehn see what happens. even in australia we don't see any u 19 players coming into the side atleast for a good 4 - 5 years. thats how we should prepare these players mentally and groom them.

  • Nadeem Shahzad on February 28, 2008, 7:32 GMT

    You can only blame the top management for their inability to run the board effectively. It looks more like a whistle blower for players than a board that looks after the interest of the nation and players. Im sorry to say nothing will change, you will not see an Anwar Ali make it beyond the A team becuase as Mr. Abbasi put it, the board is only good at dashing hopes and expectations. Nasim Ashraf is a failure and needs to be removed. Even if U 19s get a hat-trick, you can forget about seeing these young kids in national side. Misbah ul Haq is a prime example of where the talent gets wasted for years and years. First Class is pakistan is a joke.

  • Saalim on February 28, 2008, 7:12 GMT

    I think its a mixture of polotics of the players in the national team; they want to hold onto thier posts for as long as possible. They are not educated enought of have regualr and sustainable source of income if they are not in the cricket team. The Level of education our players also has a significant impact on thier ability to compete at the highest level. While they are competitive at U19 level, they loose their edge going forward. Wih lack of education, they loose their ability to analyse the situation and become impulsive rather than professional. Having siad this, you can be good at your trade but chances for that are very low given the glamor we have today in this game. Miandad is an excellent example, while averagely educated, was professional par excellence. Played according to situation and won more matches for the team then lost. Very recently Dhoni is being compared with Javed which shows how deep Javed's impact is on modern day cricket. Proper coaching is also education.

  • vijayendra on February 28, 2008, 5:50 GMT

    @theossa

    Theossa said <>

    Let us not take away anything from India just because it has all the system in place and has the numbers going for it.

    Read this

    1) India has 27 Ranji Teams 2) All 27 teams have their own independent cultures, captains, coaches, trainers and physios 3) Most of the associates have their own grounds 4) India has a powerful structure even at the All-India Inter Schools (Rohinton Baria Cup), All-India Inter Universities (Vizzy Trophy) 5) The BCCI promotes under-15 to under-19 age groups tournaments 6) India has School & College Tournaments, Open Tournaments (Sr.), Open Tournaments (Jr.), Restricted Tournaments, Selection Tournaments, Invitation Tournaments, Other Restricted, Office Tournaments. 7) Kaif, Yuvi, Sodhi, Ishant Sharma, Raina, Irfan Pathan and so many other Played for India International 11

    Under achievers? Nah

  • Syed Rizwan Hussain on February 28, 2008, 3:56 GMT

    Domestic cricket infrastructure is the biggest culprit.

    On a side note I am very surprised that Jaipur has selected Kamran Akmal as their wicketkeeper in IPL. Have they gone mad? Dont they know that Kamran Akmal is considered the worst wicketkeeper of the world to play in a national team? I would fire Jaipur team's scouting department for such a blunder.

  • Billy Bowden on February 28, 2008, 3:22 GMT

    I think Kamran Abbasi has already shot in the centre of dart board indirectly in his comments, yes it is all about age. Most of the players world-wide peak their performance between 19-24, and Pakistan U19 players are already in that age groups and their peaks, so there is no room for any further advancement and to go any further.

  • Sajjad on February 28, 2008, 3:04 GMT

    REQUEST TO PAKISTAN CRICKET BOARD. This is the time for the youngsters; please give them the chance especially in the one day. Younus khan or Shoaib Malik I have never seen any guilty or shame on their faces whenever they lost any match (most of the time they laugh and keep saying that ‘boys played well’), Please include the young players in the team under the Misbahul Haq.

    1. Ahmed Shahzad (Opener + Leg break bowler) 2. Nasir Jamshed (Opener) 3. Umar Amin (One down batsman) 4. Umar Akmal (Batsman + Off spin bowler) 5. Fawad Alam (Batsman + Left arm spin bowler) 6. Misbahul Haq (Captain) 7. Ali Asad (Wicketkeeper) 8. Sohail Tanveer (All Rounder) 9. Anwar Ali (All Rounder) 10.Mohammed Aamir (Left arm fast bowler) 11.Sohail Khan (Right arm fast bowler)

  • martin walker on February 28, 2008, 1:27 GMT

    Its rather amusing to see how pakistan believes itself to be the most talented team! While the team that comprised Imran, Akram and Waquar were good, they honed their skills with lots of hard work and gruelling county cricket. The current team lacks fast bowlers, more medium pace trundlers, considering Akhtar is unfit. Asif is accurate, but only early 80s. Gul is good at the death, but as was shown in the recent series in India, where he was hit by the batsmen in his opening spells, he needs to learn. As far as Batting, Pakistan have always had only 1 quality batsman, in Inzamam. The middle order though solid, is vulnerable in bouncier pasy conditions like Australia, South Africa where you lost the series, or in England with the ball seaming around. Maybe its time for the fans to stop harping on Non-exisitng, or as otehrs suggested here, overage talent and start Working Hard. A lack of Fighting Spirit seems also to be a downfall for this team.

  • JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 28, 2008, 0:03 GMT

    Martin you are off the Hook to pass such snide comments about the Pakistan U-19 players and their age. Have you been rubbed by these Pakistani boys in England or in Australia? If so, they shouldn't have let you off the hook then you wouldn't have been crying here like a baby. And, please cut this age factor crap to defend poor talent of Aussies and English U-19 performance. First you guys talked about Afridi and now you blame the whole of U-19 team as over age? "Sour Grapes" is an age old expression and it befits you guys. Your so-called teen age boys already look like Men and the so-called men, they look like middle-aged over the hill blokes e.g., Mathew Hayden, Glen McGrath, New Zealand's McMillan, SA's Jacques Kallis, England's John Embury and many more, even when they were so-called 30 they looked like they are 40 plus. And do you think in Pakistan they don't issue birth certificates? Gone are the days of British Raj, every child born in hospitals is recorded, registered and birth certificates are issued. This practice is common even in villages and all the schools insist on birth certificates attested and certified by the authorities. Its a matter of time when the Indian and Pakistan boards will provide the basic infrastructure to develop the game of cricket, then you will find your old boys going into retirement very soon. England and Australia have been playing cricket for hundreds of years and look at England's team of today, they are worst than Zimbabwe! The Australians are already on the decline now, India already gave them tough time in their own backyard. Look at the way Ponting was troubled and tormented by a 19 year old. My advise to you is Stop Whining.

  • Philip John Joseph on February 27, 2008, 22:45 GMT

    Yes, the posters above have mentioned a number of good reasons for the disconnect between the Pakistani performance at the Under 19 World Cup versus the Open National Team. You could say that it all boils down to good sports management or the lack of it, whichever happens to be the case. India is actually in a much worse situation than Pakistan, but this is masked by the larger population and the significant financial resources at the disposal of the BCCI. Isn't it comical that India is sending players to Australia for camps? I'm sorry but that just shows how pathetic India is. Anyway, to all of the above I would like to propose something from the American system. All cricket countries must establish national championships at the school level for at the minimum both the O-Level and A-Level points. This is done at the state level in America, but the national level would be even better. Additionally all cricketing nations must establish a nationwide college/university championship.

  • TTU on February 27, 2008, 21:52 GMT

    khansahab786@gmail.com : were did u see hilites of the penatangular cup, ive been searching all over for it, please reply. As for Kamrans blog, My belief is that we have always had the talent, especially in the bowling(jamshed, akhtar ayub, adil raza, mohammed ameer, mohammed rameez and to an extent anawar ali) but we do not have the facilities to convert this raw talent into world class performers. The fact that the government and other people in high places are not willing to invest time and money in cricket ie more bowling camps(theres only one every year, pathetic). Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, Aaqib Javed and other greats should open academies. I belief Rashid Latif has an academy for wicketkeepers(maybe Akmal should go there). Until there is input from proven performers and money from the board then these under-19 wondermen will remain just that, UNDER-19 performers.

  • MJ on February 27, 2008, 21:37 GMT

    This malaise (of U-19 players disappearing after they turn 20) is mystifying and, curiously enough, almost universal. A random sampling of the current Australian test and ODI crop reveals that none of their players has represented their national U-19 side.

    Most curious, indeed.

  • Ajay Aspathi on February 27, 2008, 20:49 GMT

    I think Pakistan lacks discipline and unity at all levels.If you see in 90's Pakistan was a superior team compared to India.But now its a different story all together.Pakistan Board lacks direction.I heard Ramiz Raja and Amir Sohail in recent tour of Pakistan to India commenting very badly against there players.That was unfortunate.May be now its time for PCB to understand the priorities right and make a strong move.Otherwise they cannot groom their Senior team after few years and you can easily forget about there U19 talent.In the next 5yrs Pakistan team will go down and other teams like India,SriLanka,England forge ahead.I think the infrastrcture should be reorganized and the current board should be dissolved.I watched a interview and heard a former Pakistan cricketer saying PCB is run by administrators who lack cricketing knowledge.Otherwise India may well have to choose another archrival.I donot think there is any spice left in Indo-Pak encounters recently."Rethink Pakistan".

  • rext on February 27, 2008, 20:25 GMT

    I agree absolutely with Javed A Khan! Give any boy too much too soon and you will distort his view of reality, especially his own place in the World. He will see no need for further effort and education and eventually fall by the wayside. We older men remember with the sometimes sad wisdom of hindsight of the unrecognized and wasted opportunities of our own youth, and that our view of the World and success, at 19 was a fairytale. Only experience, perseverence, failure and the determination to learn from our mistakes and keep setting new goals can turn a boy in to a man. It's not about Boards, regional differences etc, it's about the minds of young men, their maturing process and their definition of success. The World is full of talented boys who become underachievers as men. I believe if we teach our boys how to become men success as adults will follow.

  • Nabeel Mirza on February 27, 2008, 19:48 GMT

    I believe that Pak U19 has performed well as a team and only 1-2 brilliant performances with the bat/ball per individual has happened. I still remember R.Sharma's dismissal in 06 final (well left, ala GR Vishwanath vs Imran Khan). He is now touted as Sachin's replacement as overall(until now) he supplemented his skill with consistent performance. Sarfraz will become a constant stay in Pakistan team and Pakistan may not win the finals this year (prime bowler injured, batting too weak), but this year, we will see a star (may be the current skip.). Arthur Ashe summed it well, One of his fans asked: "Why does God have to select you for such a bad disease Aids?" To this Arthur replied: The world over — 50,000,000 children start playing tennis, 5,000,000 learn to play tennis, 500K learn professional tennis, 50K come to the circuit, 5K reach the grand slam,50 reach Wimbledon,4 to the semi-finals,2 to the finals, When I was holding a cup I never asked God "Why me". Even Misbah had to wait!

  • Martin Hook on February 27, 2008, 19:46 GMT

    No one in this Pakistan team is under 19. When English or Aussie cricketers have to participate in these tournamanets, hey have to produce their birth certifictaes. While Pakisnais play 21 or even 22 year olds as under 19. Because of Age advantage they excel initially but soon other boys catch up.

  • Yaseen Rana on February 27, 2008, 19:29 GMT

    The solution is to pick them. Other countrie have good systems of looking after players when they are over 19. England, for example, have senior academies in Winter where they improve young players. Pakistan simply don't have that. In the last 5 years many England players have gone from u-19 level to test level. For Pakistan there have hardly been any.

  • theossa, Pittsburgh, U.S.A. on February 27, 2008, 19:25 GMT

    Javed A Khan Good to see some alternate thinking, you are right, motivation and dedication may be very next to skills to achieve brilliance and some are luckier than others to get an early opportunity and prevail. You would think that it would be a rare occasion that a youngster with special skills will be ignored for long if he is persistent, but when folks like Akmal are still in the team whom to blame?

    Philip John Joseph Interesting view, but I think otherwise, what I see in U.S. is that, kids here are physically and mentally more stronger than those of the same age in subcontinent except for may be kids in frontier province in Pakistan and rural Punjab in both India and Pakistan but only physically. Both Caucasian and African Americans have thick bones and large structure, which could be genetic as well as due to good nutrition (hormone rich food also plays a part in their early growth) and more physical activity at school level. Our kids are mentally not as strong as them because when a kid in developed country is earning his pocket money working at some place and getting self confidence, our kids are dependent on parents and siblings for their very basic needs. Even kids from financially stable families acquire competence and self confidence only after finishing school when they get a job or start a business. I know some married folks in my village with no jobs in frontier province who are still dependent on their parents. I think kids in subcontinent may be more enthusiastic about cricket at an early age than kids in other countries and might get an early start playing cricket.

    Vijayendra With all those systems in place in India, and you add population and passion for cricket to it, I still think India is an underachiever. Don’t get me wrong but when Dravid, Ganguly, Kumble, Tendulkar are gone I see India going through the same transition as Pakistan is going. Personally, I would love to see strong Indian and Pakistani teams in future so we’ll enjoy some competitive arch rivalry.

    Tariq Mahmood I understand your frustration but you don’t spit on what you eat. Calling your own country the most corrupt without any substantiation is pathetic by any stretch.

  • JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 27, 2008, 19:16 GMT

    The U-19 players as well as the selectors, both are betwixt and between a dilemma in which they are unable to choose or opt one or the other, you may call it an ambivalent person or a situation. Because, in both cases its a state of having emotions of both positive and negative valence or of having thoughts or actions in contradiction with each other, neither the players are sure of what they want to do and achieve nor, the selectors are definite when they are involved in the process of team selection. Like Omer Admani says, as long as the Dr. is there, there is no cure. Dr. & Sallu are birds of a feather flock together and, they both must go. As regards players, they have to have the right attitude first and then the right chemistry. Therefore; Individual Excellence + Collective Rapport = Winning Team. At the U-19 level there is no politics, no frictions, no jingoism, the players gel very well as a team and play for the country. The moment they enter the media world and become icons they start playing for themselves. And that is where the problems start. Look at Ishant Sharma, after such good bowling performances in Australia, his IPL price tag made him a millionaire and thats gone into his head and the way he was abusing and showing unnecessary gestures in the last ODI, is an example of how fame and money can ruin the careers of young players.

  • omar hussain on February 27, 2008, 19:14 GMT

    Like you i have always regretted that the abundance of talent in Pakistan always give way to personal whims,associations,acquaintances and the rabble that is in fact PCB.Pakistan has never lacked in talent in any depatment of the game.If only we had a good first-class structure,coaching throughout the country and unbiased selection system Pakistan will no doubt reach the top of world cricket.As usual the present youngsters will fall prey to the corrupted bureaucracy of PCB and the usual follows.THIS apart i warmly wishes the kids to succeed and win the world cup once more.Inshah-allah!

  • praveen on February 27, 2008, 17:40 GMT

    For Pakistan to be successful in ODIs , they hav to concentrate more on running between wickets,forging partnerships and fielding.Strength of paki's so far was their fast bowlers,they had taken wickets on all type of pitches.But now our bowlers akhthar-fitness problem asif-only useful on bowling pitches Gul-only useful in death overs...rest of the bowlers are just medium pacers who just couldn't run through the zimbambwe lineup....so pathetic. we have to give utmost importance to fitness.Look at Indianteam-gambhir,yuvraj,dhoni,rohith,uthappa,ishanth,rp,pathan,raina,sreesanth.their future looks so brightful.In 90's pakistan defeated them in almost every match.In think now its their turn. Plz bring some youngsters and build the team.I just can't think of countless defeats in hands of india in future.

  • Hammad Siddiqi, Cincinnati, Ohio on February 27, 2008, 17:19 GMT

    For once Mr. Abbasi, the majority of responses to your article have been constructive and well thought out. kudos to all the gentlemen involved! I think many of us realize what the issue is; A cricketer with a semblance of talent in Pakistan makes the leap to first class quite early, sometimes even at 16 and 17. Thus the players selected for the U-19 usually have a couple of years of first class under their belts, while most of their opponents tend to be schoolboy cricketers. While we impress at this stage, the growth is'nt there. The rest of the countries have well developed domestic structures which hone the skills of their players after the U-19s, while in Pakistan the kids tend to get stuck in a rut, with no hope of improving unless they make the jump to international cricket. Many mentioned Anwar Ali who crushed India with his boomerangs.As you read this, Anwar is likely bowling his heart out in the heat somewhere, against sub par opposition, and is only as good as he was in 2006

  • Uzair, Austin, Texas, USA on February 27, 2008, 16:41 GMT

    Well, don't worry... I am sure Adil Raza will make it to the Pakistani team in 2028 as a 36 year old Adil "Rana" Raza OR perhaps Adil "Misbah" Raza :)

  • theossa, Pittsburgh, U.S.A. on February 27, 2008, 14:58 GMT

    Kamran, I liked your last blog about Australian tour, which was bold, and I like the timing of this blog. To answer your questions we have to look at our selection policies, first; in the past we had Inzi as captain who dictated whoever he wanted in the team and that didn’t work well for our young talent in U19 team. I’m all for captain and coach having a say in the selection of final 11 but all 15 players should be selected by selection committee unless you can spot talent the way Imran and Minadad did. Currently, we have worse; we have a full time selection committee for the first time in team history and our captain Mr. Malik is trying to hijack the selection process and creating rifts between the team as well as management and the selectors. I know I’ll get criticism for this but I like the chief selector Mr. Slahuddin’s job performance so far and his part in arranging the Pentagular Cup to evaluate young talent. I think he is sincere and all he needs is authority and freedom to do his job. Second point is: our domestic system does not compliment and nurture players to play at international level and many get discouraged and just sink. I also observed that some very talented players could not succeed because when they were given chance they failed because they were not mentally tough to withstand pressure at international level, an example would be Hasan Raza. Pakistan has traditionally been a bunch of talented individuals, and we won because of that, not because we were a good team. Also, worth to note that, our strength has been our bowling attack. I can name match winners like Imran, Qadir, Wasim, Waqar, Saqlain, Mushtaq, and Akhtar and few match winning batsmen like Miandad, Inzi, Saeed, and yes Afridi who I think is inconsistent but a genuine match winner. To be realistic we have a better chance finding good bowlers than quality batsmen. This should be our focus. Create a lethal bowling attack and mask the weakness in batting, that’s exactly U19 team has been doing it so far in this tournament. It’s easy to get discouraged about the national team but our team is in rebuilding process and in the near future we’ll see likes of Sohail khan, Wahab Riaz, Nasir Jamshed, Kurram Mansoor, Fawad Alam, Shehzad Ahmed, Sarfraz Ahmed, who all need some grooming but good prospects nonetheless. Also watch for my most anticipated player Mohammed Aamer who I believe is just 15 or 16, this kid is special.

  • Soul on February 27, 2008, 14:46 GMT

    This happens when an incompetent board is running an institution. You have a captian and a wicket keeper who if born in another cricketing nation would not even be considered in their top 50 cricketers list. What a mess!

  • Khuram Khan on February 27, 2008, 14:42 GMT

    This is a question which bothers most followers of the game.It would be worth finding out the stats in Australia and India too.You have done great service to bring this up.I am sure some useful comments will emerge.The experts should also contribute and solve this mystery.I shall like many follow this debate.Regards

  • R. Thirucumaran on February 27, 2008, 14:24 GMT

    Sometimes, I ask myself the same question about the Bangladesh team! Though they haven't performed well in this WC, they came over to SL and did very well in a triangular series and a bilateral series against SL.

    Perhaps, the reason is because there are not enough quality coaches in Pakistan to coach the better U-19 players. The good players who retire are not being contracted by the PCB for coaching duties. People like Wasim Akram should be coaching bowlers on the art of reverse swing rather than doing a media job! The same goes for Javed Miandad, who should be used by the PCB as a top batting coach rather than someone who just critisices the coach or the players!

  • Tariq Mahmood on February 27, 2008, 14:24 GMT

    One of the reasons why these players do not make the higher grade is because they have to endure our domestic cricket set up which, by any standard, is the worst in the world and is not conducive to producing or enhancing good players. It is poorly run, played in poor and empty stadiums and there is no exitement or competitiveness. So you can imagine how the players enthusiasm dies at the first hurdle. Pakistan should be ashamed ofitself. No country wants to tour and is seen as the most corrupt country in the world. Just take a look at India and see waht can be achieved.

  • bash on February 27, 2008, 13:50 GMT

    It only goes to show you have to have the connections with the right people to have a look in. You also find the same problem in the pakistani goverment no matter how talented you are if you dont dont come from the right area or are not from a rich and powerfull family dont give up your day job

  • syed Javed qamer on February 27, 2008, 13:22 GMT

    I agree with you whats going on. where do these young players go. there is something wrong with the system that ignores these bona fide stars. One explanation that I have for omitting these young stars is our old star system. if a old star makes a century or takes a number of wickets then his place is secure. If after his sucess the old star fails for a number of years they say he is in a slump. I believe the players should be judged from match to match. if they dont perform get a new player in.

  • Azhar on February 27, 2008, 13:10 GMT

    The selectors of the national team have a lot to answer for. Pakistan used to be adventurous in its selction policy. For many years now the selectors persist in selecting players who consistantly fail. Look at the situation with the opening batsmen. Proven failures are endlessly rotated. In these circumstances, it would be worth trying young players, on a nothing to lose basis.

  • Arshad A Momin on February 27, 2008, 12:57 GMT

    Abbasi saheb, you speak my mind here. I think there at the under-19 level, the boys perform with spirit. They show the desire to succeed, the desire to impress. With so much money involved in senior cricket, I think it has become too 9-to-5. Most players seem to play with a politician's objective, i.e. to not loose thier place in the team. Every player acts like a star. Its hard to find any team spirit, or fighting spirit for that matter. To take Imran Khan's cliche, the 'tiger' seems very much, ... dead.

  • uetech on February 27, 2008, 12:45 GMT

    This happens because a player like Muhammad Sami, with a bowling average of over 50, is picked because of his experience (yeah, as if we need THAT experience) everytime Umer Gul or Asif are injured, instead of trying a new bowler. This also happens because every time Shoaib Akhtar is selected in a series, only to breakdown or be banned, instead of trying a new bowler of these under-19 campaigns. This also happens because selectors "say" that these under 19s are too "fresh" to be included at "that" level in such "crucial" series, and they pick an average domestic performer, already tried and dropped. This is not the way to find talent like imran, waqar and waseem. How old were they when they first came in the side? Another problem is that, unlike Australia and SA, we are afraid to drop players who are not performing, in the hope that as they have performed in past, they "may" do so sometime in future (Akmal, Kaneria). We need HONEST ppl in management. I wonder when and if, ever!

  • Owais on February 27, 2008, 12:32 GMT

    This is a no brainer Kamran...our first class infrastructure as well as system are the culprits. Basically infrastructure wise, we have to one of the worst in international cricket, and closely related to this, the quality of pitches, again we have to be clubbed with India and others are worst pitch preparers. When this new talent plays first class cricket on sub-standard low bounce wickets everything falls apart.

  • Vijayendra on February 27, 2008, 12:24 GMT

    Pakistan needs to have a domestic cricket structure like that of India, Australia or for that matter England. My friends would argue that Pakistan has still produced great cricketers irrespective of the missing domestic structure. However, talent is like a diamond, which needs to be nurtured, honed and polished further to reveal its dimensions. Pakistan also has to get in place something in the order of National Cricket Academy to do that. India gives scholarships to promising talents to work on their skills in Australia. I have never heard any young Pakistan talent being given an opportunity like that.

    Right now Pakistan needs:

    1)Have a proper domestic structure and not the banks v/s banks structure they employ 2)Set up a NCA kinda thing, and give young talent a chance to develop their skills by giving them scholarships, trainings, video analysis and so on. 3)NCA with the help of Dav Whatmore is weeding out bowlers with suspect actions. Pakistan with its history of bowlers with

  • Owais on February 27, 2008, 12:08 GMT

    This is a no brainer Kamran...our first class infrastructure as well as system are the culprits. Basically infrastructure wise, we have to one of the worst in international cricket, and closely related to this, the quality of pitches, again we have to be clubbed with India and others are worst pitch preparers. When this new talent plays first class cricket on sub-standard low bounce wickets everything falls apart.

  • Maiwand Mohmand on February 27, 2008, 11:18 GMT

    Very Acurate. I myself was asking this question as a Pakistan Fan few days back. The thing is, in Pakistan, brillinat talents are wasted due to lack of a proper system, and let me be frank, due to politics both within and outside the team as well. Take the example of Australia, they were humiliated in the Quarter final by this Pakistan under 19 tema, but within 5 years from now on, there will be many superstars developing from this Australian team. However, Pakistan would have wasted 99 percent out of this wonderful young talent.

    Kabul, Afghanistan

  • zahid on February 27, 2008, 10:57 GMT

    The problem surely is that domestic cricket in Pakistan is not bridging the gap between under-19 cricket and stepping up to full International Cricket. The days of just being able to throw a talented teenager like Wasim, Waqar, Miandad, Saqlain etc. into test matches and ODIs and watch them set the world alight seem to be gone forever. It is not lack of talent, more likely is teams around the world have become better and more professional and talented teenagers cannot expect to stroll straight into international matches and regularly trouble seasoned players. Having said that there are a few players from the previous winning teams with a bit more experience and coaching can really make an impact in the next few years - I'm thinking of Nasir Jamshed, Khalid Latif, Mansoor Amjad and Anwar Ali amongst others.

  • Robert on February 27, 2008, 10:18 GMT

    It's quite simple really...

    Lack of leadership. You can't bring a youngster into a national team that is in pieces all the time. They can't settle and never look the part. You can't blame them.

  • Philip John Joseph on February 27, 2008, 10:18 GMT

    Well I think to a certain extent there is still a problem of overage players getting through onto the Pakistan team by accident. Even bone scans are fallible. Furthermore you have to look into the issue of age of phsical maturity in different cultures. For example, in New Zealand it is well documented that even amongst children with indisputable birth certificates, ethnically Polynesian New Zealand children mature faster than white New Zealand children which creates serious problems in sports like Rubgy when such sports are played at the school level. Polynesian children gain weight and muscle earlier than white children and this defeats the age segmentation rules resulting in injuries to white children. The same may be true of the Pakistani U19 team. They may be more physically mature than the white teams. This is also an example of micro-evolution, though I do NOT support macro-evolution. Children in rich countries can get away with maturing later compared to poor countries.

  • Karan on February 27, 2008, 10:13 GMT

    continue... 3) Fitness playes a big part in modern sport and our young players are fit due to age. But they loose fitness and are not able to sustain. This is partly due to the mental makeup but also because of the diff in training methods and equipments etc but now things are improving 4) What ever you may say and however strict the rules are, there will always be a few players (not all) who have given false ages. This is common in our region and although most players are clean but there are a very few who are certainly over 19 but still play. But you are not guilty untill proven. 5) Also to be fair to the other teams, the recent under 19 world cups were held in the our subcontinent (Bangladesh, Srilanka, Malaysia) and so it gives a sureshot edge to India and Pakistan as the tracks are spining and the climate is hot and humid something which the aussie, poms, south africans and NZ are not use to.

  • Bashir Mirza on February 27, 2008, 10:03 GMT

    This is a question which all Pakistani cricket fans have been asking for some time. In my opinion, Pakistani young cricketers are better than their counterparts at this age because of their natural abilities, i.e., eye-hand coordination and flexbile bodies. As they grow older the cricketers from Australia, SA and England develop their physical fitness, technical capabilities, mental strength and of course tactical nous. While these cricketers continue to build on their skills until they retire, our cricketers pay little attention to these critical matters, and hence our inferiority at senior levels.

  • ksenthil on February 27, 2008, 9:58 GMT

    dear abbasi sir! i can give one explanation for this.the youngsters arent given proper guidence.after finishing a successful carrier in u19 world cup when the want to enter the national team they are not given adiquate chances.suddenly they are finding a new enviornment which they find very difficult.old players are also not guiding them.in addition lot of political activities that exist in the board confuse them.old players are occupying their position for 12 to 15 years how can youngsters get chance.they get frustrated ultimately their performance getting slowed

  • ALI RAZA TASADDAQ - Lahore on February 27, 2008, 9:56 GMT

    Nicely pointed out MR KA, but the thing is that in Pakistan you find a lot of people who might be of 21-22 years old and still playing U19. And I am sure, this time it will be no different.

    Still the fact is that we have the talent which is unable to progress to the top level. This is where the PCB's role is questioned, what are they doing and its because of there sheer unprofessionalism not only U19's dont progress but the players who progress are unable to stamp there authority at the top level. In the recent 5 years, I dont really remember any highest level of talented Cricketers comin which simply means that Cricket is at its demise in Pakistan. So high time for PCB to take some necessary actions and Involve there team into some good Cricket. Boycout (ref Australian) will certainly destroy our Cricket even more. Look forward to seeing some talented Genuine speedster who is not mad like Shoaib Akhtar and quality openers like Saeed Anwar/Aamir Sohail, and match winners like Inzy

  • Karan on February 27, 2008, 9:49 GMT

    This is not only so much a problem in Pakistan but a bit in India also. This is not only restricted to cricket but in India it is the case with many other sports, like we have top junior players in Badminton, Sqash, Tennis but its not the same when they are in the big league. The answer is simple - 1) Subcontinent cricketer/players start very young and hence develop skills at a young age. We are 2-3 yrs old when we first pick the ball or bat. While other nations start later, hence you see most of our cricketers make debut at a young age while aussies, poms, new zealand etc have guys which debut when they are past 25 or even 30 ! 2) Subcontinent players are naturally talented and cricket is in their blood. We watch and play so much of cricket that the skills are already there and need polishing. But initial success can be achieved by natural talent however you need to improve / train and adapt these skills as time passes and we are not well equiped to do that.

  • Rashid Awan on February 27, 2008, 9:27 GMT

    I think that Players should be mature enough to bring into the National team. If you see in the past, Pakistan selection board has a hadit of bringing players into national team when they are so young. It takes time to get matured and performing consistently which eventually cost Pakistan matches. I agree with the Policy of Pakistan cricket board not to bring those young players straightaway into the national side. Even the first world cup winner player will be 22 years by now at max. They should play as many matches as they can in domestic circuit first.

  • srivathsan on February 27, 2008, 9:27 GMT

    It is a million dollar question&can happen only in india &pak.Miandad & akram are definitely there or else they would not have come this far.If the talents are not recognised ,it is a national shame & you are killing the enthusiasm & desire of budding talents.PCB should invest in youth as is done in india & the result would be phenominal.Indian team despite omitting quality seniors,are doing exceedingly well.One thing,the youth do not fear any team & play positively.Pakistan has enormous talent & only to be harnessed by PCB so that they can build a winning team in the days ahead.I hope at least for the current series,they pick a good team

  • Ahmed Siddiqui on February 27, 2008, 9:23 GMT

    Dear Kamran, A very good thread to digest and circumvent on. It does seem very surprising that we seem to have raw talent that excels in the U-19s and yet the domestic system some how never lets them filter out in to matured cricketers.Moreover we don't seem to hear of these players again. Maybe they are dis-allusioned and stop playing all toghether or go abroad.....non the less the system does seem to have flaws as to why there seems to be a shortage at the national level. We have produced some pretty mediocre bowlers of late...military medium pace....Fazle Akbar, Rana Naved, Mohamed Khalil, Mohamed Asif,etc......I wonder what ever happened to the genuine fast breed...in the last 10 years we have seen only 2....Shoaib and Sami.. In batting as well we don't seem to have a good crop...Somebody had written a very interesting article on one of the blogs of the up and coming bowlers and how bright the future seemed to be ....well we don't need sun glasses for the time-being.

  • Syed Muhammad Mustafa on February 27, 2008, 9:21 GMT

    I have a very simple answer. these bright youngsters might be the best among u-19s but test and ODI cricket against senior teams is a different ball game. I might be the best player in my locality but that does not necessarily make me the best in my city! secondly, i think the right age to play at the highest level is 25-26 so it might be that these youngster are being groomed at the moment and will be introduced to the big stage shortly

  • VS Khan on February 27, 2008, 9:14 GMT

    isnt afridi still u-19? ;)

  • Raza-e-Mustafa, Gujranwala, Pakistan on February 27, 2008, 8:59 GMT

    The reason for the youngsters not graduating to the senior side may be that many young players are lost in the trasition from junior to senior cricket. Certain factors which are involved in this loss are: 1. Lack of economic security. It is a commonly held belief in Pakistan that only cricket can not feed you, and the players after getting out of their teens have to make a career for themselves, since cricket is not consdidered as a long term and stable career. 2. Lack of parental support is also due to the above mentioned reason. Parents want their lads to come out of their playing days and focus on their studies or business, as a career in cricket alone is not worth pursuing. 3. Weight of expectations is another reason which may kill their game. Most of the younger players play good cricket in their carefree way, but once they succeed in performing well, they are expected to repeat their performance which they can not do. 4. Lack of govenment support also kills their cricket.

  • TaZ on February 27, 2008, 8:57 GMT

    So true. The same failures are being used over and over again in team Pak. If Faisal Iqbal is an indication of our bench strength then we are in serious trouble. Lets hope some of the new faces tried our recently including Sohail Khan are the future of Pak cricket..

  • Adnan Ahmad Khan on February 27, 2008, 8:52 GMT

    Mr. Kamran Abbasi is absoultely correct in pointing out this strange anomaly. Pakistan had indeed found out a star in Anwar Ali in the lasst U-19 World Cup but he is still no where near an International Debut. Irony is that Australia works on these very youngsters at this age and they are ready to take on the world when they are in the Senior team, but Pakistani youngsters are left alone. We need to blood this young talent in to the senior team to become champions.

  • Fahad Arshad on February 27, 2008, 8:49 GMT

    Hi Kamran. I feel your article is incomplete. Youth brings with it high levels of enthusiasm. The youth of pakistan for instance are way more enthusiastic about the nation then their elders. But the youth grow up to be the same. Its nationwide not just in cricket. But i feel your article is a little incomplete. Kindly write more on how the life is suckered out of our cricketing youth past the age of 19.

  • nitsud - SA on February 27, 2008, 8:47 GMT

    Admittedly Pakistan have the largest abundance of talent, and probably more so than any other test playing nation, but these youngsters are never given the chance to learn the game. Every tour Pakistan departs for boasts a youngster of 16-20, with sublime talent, playing his debut test; however, that tour is likely to be the only tour he will play.

    As soon as a youngster shows any signs of talent they are thrown into the deep end. Unfortunately, their entire confidence is shattered and prospect of a prolonged career in the test arena squandered. In complete contrast, on the other hand, is Australia who tends to introduce cricketers to the world of test cricket generally in their late 20s and sometime even in their 30s…and done so with obvious success.

    Cricket is as equally subtle in its nuances as it is in developing “balls of steel”. Neither a single year of brilliance nor 13 years of first class cricket churn out a test cricketer.

  • Haseeb - Kuwait on February 27, 2008, 8:31 GMT

    Its just that simple, selectors always favour their own players with whom they are having good relations. They should choose the players on merit.

    In Last U-19 world cup final Pakistan destroyed Indian batting under 100 runs which was considered best in the tournament. But we never saw both of those fast bowlers(Akhtar Ayub and i couldn't recall second name) even in extra players till now.

    Both those fast bowlers were swinging the ball in and out with a great deal. If pakistan can give chance to afridi, imran nazir, gul, asif as U19 Player then why not introduce more players?

  • Omer Admani on February 27, 2008, 8:26 GMT

    If you notice Pakistan wasn't such a bad team until the doctor came. But then they also played Ranas instead of the under-19 bowlers Anwar Ali and Jamshed. But lets see, if Mush goes then the doctor might have to go as well. Or he can resign with grace just like him. It would be crucial, then, that Malik goes and there might be brighter days ahead. If all this can happen before, and if, Australia tour, then there is a very good chance that Pakistan will be very competitive.

  • Muhammak Shafiq on February 27, 2008, 8:03 GMT

    Chak De Pakistan---

    Well played guys, not leave only to bowlers, get some runs when batting aswell.

    It is simple , u19 is more talent oriented--while international criclet is process, discipline and planning oriented--not just raw talent

    Well done girls aswell in qualifying of Women WC.

  • Saurabh Sharma on February 27, 2008, 7:39 GMT

    Yes, this is definitely something that the PCB and also the BCCI needs to ponder over. In the last three editions of the U19WC India and Pakistan have gone the distance yet their performances at the international level have only flattered to deceive. My personal opinion on this paradox is that while Pakistan is brimming with talent at the junior levels, this talent is either nurtured poorly or is exposed so early at the highest level that the education that is domestic cricket is missing. Every criketer needs to play as much as possible to understand his game, to learn the art of preparing, of switching on and off. Those who go in unprepared eventually fall short of their potential. Steve Waugh is such a wonderful example of someone who started playing for Australia as a 20 yr old but only blossomed after he learned the art of preparation and mastered his game.

  • nj on February 27, 2008, 7:31 GMT

    Could it be because many of the under 19 stars are actually over 19? I presume this is a problem plaguing many countries at different levels!

  • Umair Qazi on February 27, 2008, 7:16 GMT

    As I have been saying all over the blogosphere - Pakistan's infrastructure, academies, and coaches d not further develop the talent available to the at the U-19 level. While a Micheal Hill may go on to become another batting power house for the Aussies in 10 years, Ali Asad may end up playing for Karachi for the rest of his life.

    There have been a number of U-19 stars for Pakistan - Riaz Afridi, Anwar Ali, Adil Raza, Imad Wasim, Ali Asad who can go on to become international stars but for that to happen Pakistan need to proper academies and coaches to nurture the talents of these boys.

    Besides the physical aspects, the mental strength is another area that Pakistan needs to focus on for these youngsters.

    While Ali Asad and Adil Raza will probably remain the type of batsman and bowler they are now for the next 10 years, its likely that you would see the likes of Micheal Hill and Wayne Parnell grow in stature as the years go by.

  • Aman on February 27, 2008, 7:12 GMT

    Kamran,

    I definitely understand your concern. Well, let's analyze the situation further...

    Fawad Alam has been the only player to successfully graduate to the top level thus far. By the looks of it, Sarfraz Ahmed is also gaining in ranks. Granted, not a lot of the U-19 players have been tried at the top, but it is not like none of them have.

    Yes, Pakistan has won the 2 previous championships. But that does not mean we keep fiddeling with our international lineup every two years. Also, the U-19 level of cricket is no where near the international level. So maybe some of the youngsters just don't have what it takes to do well at center stage.

    For example...

    I have yet to see Anwar Ali bowl those massive in-swingers again. Or maybe he has, I could be wrong.

    This is just my opinion thou

  • ubaid on February 27, 2008, 7:07 GMT

    A more perplexing question is, how can be consistently select an U 19 team that actualy has good players and not just those with sifarish? That too in pakistan. In answering the question that you posed. Pakistan is actualy ahead of other countries when it comes to transitioning stars from junior to senior ranks. The under 15 world cup team in 1996 included hasan raza, faisal iqbal, bazid khan, shoaib malik, kamran akmal among others. Other players that have been given chances based on their junior performances include, shahid afridi, abdul razaq, salman butt, riaz afridi, fawad alam. If you look at teams like australia, south africa, this sort of thing just does not happen. It happens in India but much less than pakistan ( mohammad kaif, yuvraj singh, rohit sharma) and that is precisely the reason why those teams are more sucessful. They give their players chances to learn some hard cricket before throwing them in the deep end. I hope this U 19 team isn't blooded too soon.

  • Sachin Fan, usa on February 27, 2008, 7:02 GMT

    FIX PCB FIRST !! EVERYTHING ELSE WILL FALL IN PLACE!!

  • ramukjar on February 27, 2008, 6:56 GMT

    MISSING PERSON'S REPORT: Name: anwer ali khan. LAST SEEN: 2006 Under 19 World Cup, Sri Lanka. ATTRIBUTES: swings the ball a country mile, at good pace. is often virtually unplayable. star of 2006 world cup. IF SEEN, PLEASE INFORM: Pakistan Cricket Board.

    so sad...

  • rev on February 27, 2008, 6:47 GMT

    Interesting post Kamran - I haven't seen much youth cricket in my time but to hazard a guess I would imagine that the problems are indeed with the Pakistan domestic setup. Obviously Pakistanis love their cricket and as a result churn out a good number of youngsters, but it appears that is where the development becomes severely limited. Take a look at the Australian example - six top flight teams playing in all formats of the game, but more importantly allowing all but the fringe players to concentrate on cricket as a career. The days have moved on in Australia where every player moonlighted as a plumber or accountant and so on. Perhaps the PCB (if they aren't already doing so) need to focus not only on the national contracts but also those domestically and ensure that potential is not wasted. I for one as a die hard Australian would love to see a return of the great Pakistani fast bowler - sorry, Akhtar and Co are just pretenders at the moment.

  • Swami on February 27, 2008, 6:37 GMT

    Its obvious that there is tremendous talent, particularly in bowling. But its also obvious that there is no finishing school to convert talent into an international player. Too many people have too many different agendas and vested interests to be able to work together to produce a great national team.

  • Ali on February 27, 2008, 6:36 GMT

    Mentoring. This I feel is the key issue. These young players need that experienced hand to help them through the transition to senior team.

    Unfortunately our "seniors" are so engrossed in their own insecurities that it is unlikely they will help out these rising stars.

    Wasim, Waqar & Aquib all developed under Imran. Inzimam, Rameez & Basit Ali etc. gained lots from Miandad.

    Do you see Shoaib Akhtar & Mohd. Yousuf doing the same with the new lads on the fringes?

  • Tariq Salman Alvi on February 27, 2008, 6:32 GMT

    Pakistani team used to have this distiction that we introduce young players at the test level but this seems to have changed over the years. Selection committee used to consist of players who were always looking for the new talents and they attend domestic matches to

  • Rohit on February 27, 2008, 6:13 GMT

    Good point.I suppose you could say the same about India as well who made it to the finals last time and are looking good this time,but haven't been consistent in the ODI format with their senior team.The cricketing academies and the first class system is probably not doing justice to the talents in the respective countries.However we have seen Ishant Sharma and Rohit Sharma and to some extent RP Singh,all U19 stars more than first class stalwarts,doing well at the international stage.Pakistan have tried Jamshed who has done a good job,Ahmed who is in the squad as backup for Akmal.So all is not gloom and doom,the U19 successes are being picked in the national squads.However they can't be thrust in overnight,it will take some time.

  • Sajjad on February 27, 2008, 6:12 GMT

    Most of the times these young players are not consistent and they do the hard work for the short time and after getting some success they are keeping themselves away from the hard work. It is not only the case in Cricket but also in the Squash in Pakistan, this generation is not very keen to work hard for long term. At the same time Pakistan cricket board is also not giving the chance to the youngsters. I am not asking the young players to be like Imran Khan or Jawaid Minadad or Squash legends like Jahangir Khan or Jansher Khan but at least they can show some sincerity and hard work so we can see any Saleem Malik or Saeed Anwar or Qamar Zaman (Squash) in near future.

  • VK on February 27, 2008, 5:48 GMT

    Pakistan's problems are more to do with management than availability of the talent. Discipline in the team, discipline in the board and the situation in the country are the factors to look for.

    Players are not performing in isolation. They are reflecting the chaos all around them. Indian teams were timid till a few years back, to say the least. Today they try to put up a fight. Reflective of a new found confidence in the current generation of youngsters (cricketers and non cricketers).

    I think once things settle around them the players will be able to give their best on the field as well. Talent has never been a problem in Pakistan, it just needs a stable climate to nurture.

  • Dawar on February 27, 2008, 5:37 GMT

    Goof performance by Ali Asad. He got man of the match in two matches. He is a wicket keeper batsman. He is a good wicket keeper and much better batsman than Kamran Akmal. He is young and fit. Ali Asad should replace Kamran Akmal in all levels of cricket. It was the great bowling from Adil Raza. But what happened with last world cup fast bowlers who won the world cup (under 19) for us i.e Anwar Ali and Jamshead, We should not forget them. Specially Anwar Ali performance in last wc final was outstanding.He got five wickets.

    Dawar LA USA

  • Adeel Azhar on February 27, 2008, 5:34 GMT

    Well this question has bothered me too so many times... and i believe that till the time we consider dudes like Kamran Akmal as indispensible and/or numero uno choice for Pakistan we should forget about youngs entering. Thank God a lot of trash is being cleared from Pakistan's reserves through ICL. I can just pray that we induct atleast few more from our `06 winner team

  • Sefal Khan on February 27, 2008, 5:32 GMT

    I believe modern day Pakistan cricketers do not carry the level of passion required to achieve the high standards displayed by the Pakistan cricketers of the past - to name a few, the Mohammad brothers, Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Mohammad Yousuf. You can blame PCB - it is easy but I honestly believe todays cricketers do not posses the hunger to go the distance.

  • Dr.Ahsan on February 27, 2008, 5:10 GMT

    The answer is very simple they are sent to be more "experienced and attain maturity" on that dusty, dead and decaying pitches of our domestic cricket.Decaying pitches decays there performnace,fitness,confidence and even the memory that they were once under19 world cup winners.

    Just yesterday I read in Jung news that PCB is planning to hire foreign curators.I guess they got the answer to your question Kamran!All we can hope its not too late because unlike Misbah-ul- Haq,God knows how many talented bowlers or batsmen decayed till they reached the dead age of retirement from cricket.

  • Muhammad Asif on February 27, 2008, 4:56 GMT

    Whatever the reason behind U-19 success, the fact of the matter is to have club level & college level cricket coverage & tournaments needs nore attention, coz of their enthusiasm. They would play aggressive cricket instead of the defensive one, which makes cricket beautiful & attracts the crowd too.

  • Adnan on February 27, 2008, 4:49 GMT

    The reason why so many youngsters never see the light in terms of making it to the national side is because of politics- plain and simple, our whole selection process is seriously flawed.

  • Saladin on February 27, 2008, 4:36 GMT

    The present bunch of cricketers in the National team are all good individually, but they have not clicked collectively, and I dont know if they havent done so now, when they will do.

    Since Pakistan is loosing anyway, the need of the hour is to discard seniors like Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal, Sohaib Malik and others and pick a new team with Misbah ul Haq, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Fouad Alam, Abdul rauf and other U-19 stars.

  • Dr. Behjat Syed on February 27, 2008, 4:24 GMT

    Kamran, I totally agree with you. The potential answers have perplexed me as well. Personally, I believe that a bit of it has to do with politics; some with lack of grooming talent; and yet some with our lack of proper implementation of training and sports medicine (my area of expertise, and therefore my bias).

    Hopefully the powers-to-be see it this way soon. Otherwise, we'll continuously wonder where Anwar Ali, Jamshed Ahmed and other talents may have gone.

  • azam on February 27, 2008, 4:06 GMT

    the problem is that if PCB starts acting like Pakistan Board and not Punjab board than it will give chance to young talented cricketers !!

  • Muzher Sharif on February 27, 2008, 4:06 GMT

    The simple answer is that the majority of the players in the national team are good enough to hold down their places in the team. Even when a spot does open up, as when Inzy retired, it is quickly filled by a consistent performer at the domestic level, like Misbah. So these U19 stars, in the words of current coach Mansoor Rana, "need to play two to four years of first-class cricket to mature." Even then in my opinion they will find it difficult to break in the national side. Just take a look at the list of seam bowlers either currently in the squad or vying for a spot: Shoaib, Asif, Gul, Tanvir, Arafat, Rao, Sohail Khan, Kamran Hussain, Abdur Rauf, Wahab Riaz...

    Get my point? The fact that the majority of the great talent at the U19 level is in the seam bowling department explains why no bowler from the last four years has progressed to the internation level.

    Even when it comes to batting the story is the same with the likes of Younus, Yousuf and Misbah holding down their places.

  • JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 27, 2008, 3:59 GMT

    Part II Similarly, in cricket, when these players come out in flying colours after winning the Under - 19 WC they have to work hard like the Astronaut and, not just to enter into the arena of the national side. But, in every single match they play, they have to make a promise to themselves that they want to be "The Astronaut" i.e., another Brain Lara, another Inzamam ul Haq, another Jayasuriya and likes. They have to perform consistently and intelligently. Neither Lara, nor Inzi achieved a Master's degree from any university but, they were not only intelligent but, a genius in their own field. Maestros like, Sachin Tendulkar and Javed Miandad haven't gone through this process of playing for the Under-19 WC, yet they reached to the highest level of professionalism due to sheer determination and persistence, the experience they gained during this process made them wiser by the day. They may have had the talent from their childhood but, how many more Tendulkars and Miandads may or could have been produced if they had followed the right path and remained consistent. What is the reason of the failure of these players? Like I have said, some are unlucky and seldom get a chance to be a part of their national team. But, those who are lucky to have been in the side performed well but did not perform consistently over a sustainable period of time. In some cases, its lethargy and lack of patience and endurance and, in some cases too much praise and financial gains from sponsors must have ruined their brains and their cricketing career. They have to change their attitude. The first step is the changing of attitude and to identify individual strength and team strength, then they can say they are on their way...with this attitude of self belief, determination, perseverance and with the step by step approach and commitment towards self and for the team towards achieving excellence will become not a question of "I. Q." but of " I CAN".

  • JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 27, 2008, 3:56 GMT

    Kamran you are not alone in thinking on those lines. On one of the cricket blogs I have expressed the same thoughts a few days ago after seeing the Pakistan under - 19 team reaching the semi-finals. From the 1988 U-19 WC, only Inzamam came to the limelight for Pakistan and no one else. Some players are luckier than others, some are victimized due to regionalism, jingoism or due to personal likes and dislikes and some lag behind due to their own stupidities. In academics most young people come out in their professional lives as, high school drop outs. Even a few successful ones also follow them and thats the end of their academic career. A smaller percentage of the successful high school graduates go to the university. Some of them after their graduation go for white collar jobs whereas, a few of those graduates pursue their career in post graduation i.e., to refine and hone their skills and capabilities and to become Masters or to go into specialization at the highest level. One example that I would like to quote here is that of an Astronaut. How many people like to become Astronauts? The original Astronaut started out be being trained as a pilot. When he become a test pilot, he was already at the frontiers of knowledge in his field. So no one could teach him to become an Astronaut. He had to do it himself with his team. The thing that they do is, they make promises to themselves to be better than what they have been by saying, "I have to be a better me." And that is the KEY ---- no one teaches these people, they teach themselves. No one shows them the light, they are the Light, they are the Source. They show others the way. Others went to the same school as they. Others had the same teachers as they. The difference was that after they graduated they didn't think my education is over and, I have nothing more to learn. They only took their graduation as an entry into the realm of self education. They can take help from others where they need to learn something specific, but no one is directing their every step. They are the PIONEERS. No spoon feeding is possible for no one has ever reached the level they aspire for..... cont. part ii

  • Mohit Khanna on February 27, 2008, 3:23 GMT

    Its simple. The kids play good while other countries kids dont really play with that much interest as they have better thnigs to do like date a girl , go to pub. Cricket can wait till creer time and then they concentrate and Pakistan wonders WHATS HAPPEINING;)

  • M .Y. Kasim, Houston, Tx. USA on February 27, 2008, 1:46 GMT

    This is nothing new. It was Late Mr. Abdul Hafeez Kardar who has the guts to stand up and say that this boy has what it takes and he should be in the team. Similar was the case with Zaheer Abbas. He was included in the England touring party on the eleventh hour on the insistance of Mr. Kardar. And Javed Miandad stacked his captaincy for the inclusion of Wasim Akram in New Zeazand touring team. Nowadays, you have to be a son, nephew, or a very near relation to a Top General, a Powerful Politician or High Bureaucrate. Merit only would/does not count any more. And regionalism also is a curse. Personal likes and dislikes, groupings and internal politics would never gel the team or bring out talents.

  • Zain D. on February 27, 2008, 1:17 GMT

    I have a theory on why the Pak U-19 team does so well, yet the international team seems to flounder at every opportunity. At the U-19 level, most players run on pure talent as they haven't yet had the full opportunity to hone their skills through coaching, nor the time to develop that "mental toughness" you hear so much about. This just goes to show that Pakistan probably has the largest pool of talented youngsters of any of the major cricketing powers. It is a failure of the system in Pakistan that these talented youngsters are let down and not given the opportunity to grow into international superstars. In Australia, the Cricket Academy and the domestic competition help hone talented youngsters into "mentally tough" opponents, and that's why Australia does so well at the highest level. Pakistan has a long way to go to ensure that its talent pool keeps from being wasted.

  • EAMiran on February 27, 2008, 0:26 GMT

    I do not believe any top quality batsmen has been unearthed in this U-19 WC - thus far. We have been saved time and again by our seam bowlers as was the case in the last WC; which begs the question why have we not seen some of these seamers break into the big league. Admittedly Mohd Aamer and Adil Raza are still 15 and 16 years old respectively, and we should give their bodies 2 - 3 more years to develop, whereupon they are able withstand the rigours of 5 day cricket. In the past pacers like Sami and Rana kept getting selected over others more deserving, Rauf being one of them, for reasons only the PCB knows. Unfortunately Rauf is now well past his sell by date as a fast bowler. If Pakistan is to continue being a force in world cricket, we must select young, quick bowlers in the side ASAP. Our batting is beginning to look a little more stable with the infusion of 3 new openers, and a good, solid middle order.

    PCBism of the day: Bangla to play ODI's in preparation for Oz? Brilliant!

  • khansahab786@gmail.com on February 26, 2008, 22:42 GMT

    The problem is that we don't have an excellent first class structure like Australia or England do. There is no effective coaching, poor umpiring, poor running between the wickets and poor fielding. I have seen some of the highlights from the current Pentangular Cup and I am sorry to say the running between the wickets and fielding is miserable at first class level.

    Perhaps the analogy of agriculture can be applied. Pakistan can be said to be blessed with good "fasal"(crop) but there is a problem with harnessing, managing and processing this crop. I was watching an interview of Dr Ashraf recently and his opinion was that first class cricket in Pakistan will improve when matches are going to be telecast on TV across the country and players will raise their commitment level. That might help but it won't solve the issue. What we need is simply better coaching and better management, one aspect of which is proper utilisation of available resources.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • khansahab786@gmail.com on February 26, 2008, 22:42 GMT

    The problem is that we don't have an excellent first class structure like Australia or England do. There is no effective coaching, poor umpiring, poor running between the wickets and poor fielding. I have seen some of the highlights from the current Pentangular Cup and I am sorry to say the running between the wickets and fielding is miserable at first class level.

    Perhaps the analogy of agriculture can be applied. Pakistan can be said to be blessed with good "fasal"(crop) but there is a problem with harnessing, managing and processing this crop. I was watching an interview of Dr Ashraf recently and his opinion was that first class cricket in Pakistan will improve when matches are going to be telecast on TV across the country and players will raise their commitment level. That might help but it won't solve the issue. What we need is simply better coaching and better management, one aspect of which is proper utilisation of available resources.

  • EAMiran on February 27, 2008, 0:26 GMT

    I do not believe any top quality batsmen has been unearthed in this U-19 WC - thus far. We have been saved time and again by our seam bowlers as was the case in the last WC; which begs the question why have we not seen some of these seamers break into the big league. Admittedly Mohd Aamer and Adil Raza are still 15 and 16 years old respectively, and we should give their bodies 2 - 3 more years to develop, whereupon they are able withstand the rigours of 5 day cricket. In the past pacers like Sami and Rana kept getting selected over others more deserving, Rauf being one of them, for reasons only the PCB knows. Unfortunately Rauf is now well past his sell by date as a fast bowler. If Pakistan is to continue being a force in world cricket, we must select young, quick bowlers in the side ASAP. Our batting is beginning to look a little more stable with the infusion of 3 new openers, and a good, solid middle order.

    PCBism of the day: Bangla to play ODI's in preparation for Oz? Brilliant!

  • Zain D. on February 27, 2008, 1:17 GMT

    I have a theory on why the Pak U-19 team does so well, yet the international team seems to flounder at every opportunity. At the U-19 level, most players run on pure talent as they haven't yet had the full opportunity to hone their skills through coaching, nor the time to develop that "mental toughness" you hear so much about. This just goes to show that Pakistan probably has the largest pool of talented youngsters of any of the major cricketing powers. It is a failure of the system in Pakistan that these talented youngsters are let down and not given the opportunity to grow into international superstars. In Australia, the Cricket Academy and the domestic competition help hone talented youngsters into "mentally tough" opponents, and that's why Australia does so well at the highest level. Pakistan has a long way to go to ensure that its talent pool keeps from being wasted.

  • M .Y. Kasim, Houston, Tx. USA on February 27, 2008, 1:46 GMT

    This is nothing new. It was Late Mr. Abdul Hafeez Kardar who has the guts to stand up and say that this boy has what it takes and he should be in the team. Similar was the case with Zaheer Abbas. He was included in the England touring party on the eleventh hour on the insistance of Mr. Kardar. And Javed Miandad stacked his captaincy for the inclusion of Wasim Akram in New Zeazand touring team. Nowadays, you have to be a son, nephew, or a very near relation to a Top General, a Powerful Politician or High Bureaucrate. Merit only would/does not count any more. And regionalism also is a curse. Personal likes and dislikes, groupings and internal politics would never gel the team or bring out talents.

  • Mohit Khanna on February 27, 2008, 3:23 GMT

    Its simple. The kids play good while other countries kids dont really play with that much interest as they have better thnigs to do like date a girl , go to pub. Cricket can wait till creer time and then they concentrate and Pakistan wonders WHATS HAPPEINING;)

  • JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 27, 2008, 3:56 GMT

    Kamran you are not alone in thinking on those lines. On one of the cricket blogs I have expressed the same thoughts a few days ago after seeing the Pakistan under - 19 team reaching the semi-finals. From the 1988 U-19 WC, only Inzamam came to the limelight for Pakistan and no one else. Some players are luckier than others, some are victimized due to regionalism, jingoism or due to personal likes and dislikes and some lag behind due to their own stupidities. In academics most young people come out in their professional lives as, high school drop outs. Even a few successful ones also follow them and thats the end of their academic career. A smaller percentage of the successful high school graduates go to the university. Some of them after their graduation go for white collar jobs whereas, a few of those graduates pursue their career in post graduation i.e., to refine and hone their skills and capabilities and to become Masters or to go into specialization at the highest level. One example that I would like to quote here is that of an Astronaut. How many people like to become Astronauts? The original Astronaut started out be being trained as a pilot. When he become a test pilot, he was already at the frontiers of knowledge in his field. So no one could teach him to become an Astronaut. He had to do it himself with his team. The thing that they do is, they make promises to themselves to be better than what they have been by saying, "I have to be a better me." And that is the KEY ---- no one teaches these people, they teach themselves. No one shows them the light, they are the Light, they are the Source. They show others the way. Others went to the same school as they. Others had the same teachers as they. The difference was that after they graduated they didn't think my education is over and, I have nothing more to learn. They only took their graduation as an entry into the realm of self education. They can take help from others where they need to learn something specific, but no one is directing their every step. They are the PIONEERS. No spoon feeding is possible for no one has ever reached the level they aspire for..... cont. part ii

  • JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 27, 2008, 3:59 GMT

    Part II Similarly, in cricket, when these players come out in flying colours after winning the Under - 19 WC they have to work hard like the Astronaut and, not just to enter into the arena of the national side. But, in every single match they play, they have to make a promise to themselves that they want to be "The Astronaut" i.e., another Brain Lara, another Inzamam ul Haq, another Jayasuriya and likes. They have to perform consistently and intelligently. Neither Lara, nor Inzi achieved a Master's degree from any university but, they were not only intelligent but, a genius in their own field. Maestros like, Sachin Tendulkar and Javed Miandad haven't gone through this process of playing for the Under-19 WC, yet they reached to the highest level of professionalism due to sheer determination and persistence, the experience they gained during this process made them wiser by the day. They may have had the talent from their childhood but, how many more Tendulkars and Miandads may or could have been produced if they had followed the right path and remained consistent. What is the reason of the failure of these players? Like I have said, some are unlucky and seldom get a chance to be a part of their national team. But, those who are lucky to have been in the side performed well but did not perform consistently over a sustainable period of time. In some cases, its lethargy and lack of patience and endurance and, in some cases too much praise and financial gains from sponsors must have ruined their brains and their cricketing career. They have to change their attitude. The first step is the changing of attitude and to identify individual strength and team strength, then they can say they are on their way...with this attitude of self belief, determination, perseverance and with the step by step approach and commitment towards self and for the team towards achieving excellence will become not a question of "I. Q." but of " I CAN".

  • Muzher Sharif on February 27, 2008, 4:06 GMT

    The simple answer is that the majority of the players in the national team are good enough to hold down their places in the team. Even when a spot does open up, as when Inzy retired, it is quickly filled by a consistent performer at the domestic level, like Misbah. So these U19 stars, in the words of current coach Mansoor Rana, "need to play two to four years of first-class cricket to mature." Even then in my opinion they will find it difficult to break in the national side. Just take a look at the list of seam bowlers either currently in the squad or vying for a spot: Shoaib, Asif, Gul, Tanvir, Arafat, Rao, Sohail Khan, Kamran Hussain, Abdur Rauf, Wahab Riaz...

    Get my point? The fact that the majority of the great talent at the U19 level is in the seam bowling department explains why no bowler from the last four years has progressed to the internation level.

    Even when it comes to batting the story is the same with the likes of Younus, Yousuf and Misbah holding down their places.

  • azam on February 27, 2008, 4:06 GMT

    the problem is that if PCB starts acting like Pakistan Board and not Punjab board than it will give chance to young talented cricketers !!

  • Dr. Behjat Syed on February 27, 2008, 4:24 GMT

    Kamran, I totally agree with you. The potential answers have perplexed me as well. Personally, I believe that a bit of it has to do with politics; some with lack of grooming talent; and yet some with our lack of proper implementation of training and sports medicine (my area of expertise, and therefore my bias).

    Hopefully the powers-to-be see it this way soon. Otherwise, we'll continuously wonder where Anwar Ali, Jamshed Ahmed and other talents may have gone.