Imran calls for new leadership after WC exit

Published: Sunday, March 18, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi:Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan has called for a complete overhaul of the national team in the wake of the shock World Cup defeat to Ireland yesterday that sent them crashing out of the tournament.

''It is time to have new leadership for the Pakistan team, one who can adopt a more aggressive and positive approach,'' Imran told Reuters today.

Imran who led Pakistan to the 1992 World Cup title said Pakistan's failed campaign was the result of short-sightedness displayed by the captain, coach and chief selectors in preparing for the World Cup.

The former all-rounder said it was also time to have a new coach who was more innovative and who could properly utilise the immense talent emerging in Pakistan.

The Pakistani nation woke up today unable to believe that their team, touted as one of the title contenders, was out of the World Cup.

It is the first time that Pakistan has gone out of the World Cup after just two games.

Former players described the defeat to Ireland as a black day for Pakistan cricket and shameful.

Imran who played 88 tests and 175 one-day internationals said the crisis was an opportunity to bring about a positive change.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has functioned on an ad-hoc basis since 1999 with the country's president directly appointing the chairman of the board.

''This system must change. What qualification does the president have to make such important cricket appointments. We need to run the board constitutionally and professionally,'' Imran added.

Former captain, Rashid Latif said current skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq and coach Bob Woolmer must resign and meaningful changes be made to the team.

''I am surprised that even after this shameful defeat, they are still pondering their futures. They owe it to the nation to resign immediately,'' Latif said.

Other former players, including Intikhab Alam, who was the coach of the 1992 World Cup squad, blamed uninspiring captaincy, poor coaching and selections for Pakistan's defeat.

''It is a black day for Pakistan cricket. The team and board management are responsible. We need to start from scratch,'' Alam said.

Former batsman and coach, Haroon Rasheed said he was surprised at the lack of professionalism and spine displayed by the team against Ireland.

Imran said the constant chopping and changing in the team, the failure to find a reliable opening pair and not to play leg-spinner Danish Kaneria against Ireland contributed to Pakistan's worst ever performance.

The most amazing selection was of Imran Nazir, who had been out of international cricket for six years and was suddenly pushed in for the World Cup, he said.

''It was a big blunder not to play Kaneria as everyone knows weak teams find it most difficult to play leg-spin,'' Imran said.


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