Karachi - Peshawar Zalmi franchise owner and Haier Pakistan chief executive officer Javed Afridi stated that Pakistan must adopt the domestic structure of Australian cricket.

Javed Afridi, who has also sponsored the recently concluded Pakistan Cup, stated that he was pushed to start associating himself with cricket in his country after the events of 2009. Javed said that he had bid for the local and international cricketing rights in Pakistan so that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will not have to face any financial pressure due to playing home games in the UAE. “I have never played cricket in a serious way and I am just a fan,” he was quoted as saying. “However, the sad events of 2009 when international cricket stopped in Pakistan, sprung me into action as I saw the kinds of problems Pakistan cricket was faced with.

“There was hardly any sponsorship for the team with the then big sponsors backing out for obvious reasons. “It was a depressing situation as far as the sponsorship aspect of the game was concerned. “It is at this point that Shahid ‘Lala’ Afridi and I met the PCB and asked for local and international rights so that they would not face financial pressure in the future. “It was a sad time as the purpose built cricket grounds were wearing a deserted look due to lack of activity and sponsorship.

“The fact was that 40-50% of what was being earned locally was being sent out to support our international cricket in Dubai and Sharjah which was not allowing investment locally. “I devoted the brand that I own to the betterment of Pakistan without any preconditions but I will admit that it also made sound business sense. “It allowed me to introduce the Haier brand to the people of Pakistan and make it synonymous with service for Pakistan.”

The growth of cricket in Pakistan has been stunted as a result of lack of international matches and even the Pakistan Super League (PSL) was held in the UAE. Urging for the relevant authorities to ensure proper growth of cricket in Pakistan, Afridi feels that the PSL will play a crucial role to improve the game in his country. “We need to start growing our cricket like an industrial sector.

“This is something I would like our cricket board and federations to think about and compile some detailed plans to move things in the right direction. “If PSL franchises can become such huge profitable ventures, then this shows how much potential there is to grow the game in our country. “What is needed are selfless and honest efforts by all concerned and for the main actors to act for the benefit of Pakistan.”Many current and former players have in recent times pushed for improvements in the domestic structure in Pakistan right from the grassroots level.

If Pakistan are to achieve success, Afridi feels that the PCB must emulate Australia’s domestic structure and make sure that promising talent is found and nurtured. “In terms of specifics, I have asked the PCB to carefully study how cricket is organised in Australia. “They have turned the sport into a service industry. “We seem to have no vision about how we want to organise ourselves or what we want to achieve in the next two or three years.

“We seem to be doing the right things but with little or no results to show for that effort. “Take a look at the PSL, we organised it but no stars of the future came out of that tournament. “To me this is a tragedy and we really need to dig deep to find out the reasons behind this and the reason is pretty clear.

“We do not have a structure at the domestic or grass-root level. “Like I mentioned, we need to follow the domestic structure of Australia and use that as a basis to improve Pakistan’s domestic structure.” The 2016 edition of the Pakistan Cup, a domestic 50-over competition, was won by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who beat Punjab by 151 runs in the final in Faisalabad.