ISLAMABAD - Pakistani cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan today lambasted the cricket set up in the country saying "ghost" clubs existing on papers are being promoted. 

Khan accused that successive governments have used the Pakistan Cricket Board's top slot as a means of political patronage and of rewarding cronies, including the latest chairmanship awarded to Najam Sethi, "a man with no cricketing or any sporting credentials but merely as a reward for politically aiding the ruling party". The result has been a complete collapse of cricket in Pakistan despite the enormous talent that exists, he insisted.

Khan said that he had travelled all around the globe playing cricket and the profusion of talent that he had seen in Pakistan is far greater than anywhere else in the world. He regretted that Pakistan had not been able to harness the talent because no proper institutionalised structure was allowed to built. Fraudulent "ghost" clubs existing only on paper have been encouraged, while there has been no facilitation of genuine clubs, no support for administrative infrastructure and genuine elections at all levels, a statement released by his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party said. Khan demanded that all this "wilful destruction of cricket" must end immediately.

He sought an end to fraudulent clubs, demanded proper institutionalised restructuring of national cricket so genuine clubs can flourish and identify national talent to give it proper opportunity. Khan called for institutionalised regional bodies who should elect their office bearers as well as the Chairman PCB. He felt the PCB should make policy decisions while cricketing affairs should be managed full time by a professional Chairman through a clear institutionalised cricketing set-up. "This is how it happens all over the world," Khan said.  State patronage should be for discovering cricketing talent not as a means of political reward for cronies, Khan asserted.

Khan said Khyber Pukhtunkhwa he had set-up is a cricket talent hunt and is helping in organising an institutionalised cricketing set up at the provincial level where the abundant raw talent could be nurtured. He said the results would be apparent by next year.