Ramiz Raja, the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) newly appointed chairman, singled out resetting of the direction of Pakistan’s cricketing structure as his primary aim. He stressed on the fact that the revamping process needs to start from the grassroot levels, to achieve the best results.
Ramiz Raja was officially elected unopposed as the PCB chairman on Monday, September 13. During an hour-long interaction with the media at the Bob Woolmer indoor complex at the High Performance centre in Lahore, Ramiz revealed his blueprint as he looks forward to enhancing the country’s cricket structure.
"Cricket is my constituency, it's my subject," said Ramiz. "My vision is clear cut, I had been thinking that whenever I get an opportunity I will reset it. The compass needs to be reset. There are long-term goals and a few short-term goals, but whatever those are, one thing is pretty simple; the cricket board's performance is related to the team's performance.
“It goes all the way down to age-group cricket. The infrastructure below, and the work at grassroots level is a reflection on the team performance. There is a need to work on several tiers, and on every tier the direction needs to be reset.”
The 1992 World Cup winner further emphasized that the structure needed to be revamped not just in terms of the players, but also the coaching process, as he stressed on the importance of identifying and grooming young talents.
"When I say resetting the direction, it means coaching has to be revisited too,” Ramiz said. “Our coaching isn't effectively targeted. If today I need three wrist-spinners and four openers, we won't have such options available right now.
“We have a very big population and yet you are not seeing outstanding talent emerge, which means we are making mistakes that we have to mend. It's really important to work on the coaching aspect and age-group cricket. Our club and school cricket is nonexistent so we need massive improvements there."
Ramiz conceded that he’s yet to have a proper interaction with the national team skipper Babar Azam, as he reflected on the importance of leadership, and expects the 26-year-old to be as influential as Imran Khan, who is hailed as one of game’s finest captains.
"It's too early for me to assess him. It's important for me to know him better," he said. "It's similarly important for me to understand the role. You (as captain) tend to make many demands, some good but others which you need to make a persuasive case for.
“I did a couple of sessions with him and told him that if you don't have 400 autograph hunters outside the academy then the whole objective to play cricket has failed. I want a leadership like the one I played under in my era. My expectations for Babar are the same as I had with Imran Khan."