Imran Khan Fears Trouble ahead for Pakistan Cricket

Karachi, Aug 26:
Cricket legend Imran Khan on Monday said he feared more trouble for Pakistan cricket after the Champions Trophy postponement, saying the country is run by the wrong people who are destroying everything.

"The postponement of Champions Trophy is a body blow to Pakistan but since the country is run by wrong people I see more trouble for cricket in the country," he said.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday put off September's Champions Trophy until next year after South Africa pulled out and Australia, New Zealand and England were due to follow suit.

The four nations were reluctant to tour Pakistan over security fears after a series of blasts in the past month and political instability in the wake of president Pervez Musharraf's resignation.

The ICC said Pakistan keeps the right to host the event, possibly in October next year, but Khan believed the present government would not be able to improve the situation in the country.

"The event is postponed until next year but if the current government -- trying to outdo Musharraf -- stays I fear the situation could worsen rather than improve," said Khan, who now heads his own political party -- Tehrik-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice).

Khan, a die-hard critic of Musharraf, blamed the military ruler for the current scenario.

"It is not that we should not fight terrorism, but the way Musharraf led us into the war on terror by using gunship helicopters against our own people was fatal because as a blow-back peace, the economy and cricket have become casualties," he said.

Khan, who led Pakistan to their only World Cup title in 1992, said foreign teams' reluctance to tour over security was understandable.

He said under the current situation, foreign teams' perception of security in Pakistan was "understandable because the situation is far from safe."

"Under the situation when foreign investors are not willing to come to Pakistan how can you expect foreign cricketers to travel to a country where we are fighting someone else's war?" he added.

Khan said Pakistan cricket needed funding to sustain its development.

"The way the outgoing chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (Nasim Ashraf) spent funds for two years and now with the postponement of series after series, Pakistan cricket will soon run short of money," said Khan.

Australia postponed their full March-April tour of Pakistan over security fears and Pakistan's efforts to arrange fill-up series against India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and New Zealand also fell through.

"Not just from the spectators' point of view but also funds wise, these cancellations and postponement have hit Pakistan cricket hard but I fear it will suffer more." 


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