With Asia Cup 2018 starting this month, former Pakistan cricketer Rashid Latif has named the team favorite to lift the cup. He said the Pakistan cricket team is strong enough to win the Asia Cup in United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“As United Arab Emirates (UAE) is home for Pakistan cricket for last decade and green caps are fully aware of the conditions, they have very bright chances of winning the Cup. India is much weaker in the absence of Virat Kohli, but green caps have to be very professional in approach and shouldn’t take them easy.
“Pakistan batting is highly balanced and delivering for last few matches consistently. For me, Fakhar Zaman holds the key as he is in traffic form and producing wonders with the willow. He can provide Pakistan perfect start and he will remain instrumental throughout the Cup and upcoming series,” he said to The Nation.
Pakistan has added Junaid Khan back in the squad. As per Latif, his inclusion will benefit the bowling attack of men in green. “Return of Junaid Khan will boost fast bowling department, as he has formed a formidable pair with M Aamir and Fahim Ashraf while Shahdab Khan will definitely add strength to bowling. Shoaib Malik, like always, will be the backbone of the middle order and his experience and reading of the game will boost further chances of Pakistan. On a whole, Pakistan team is balanced and is capable of winning the Asia Cup,” he added.
PCB has appointed Ehsan Mani as their new chairman and Latif is expecting him to better the condition of Pakistan cricket. “Mani is a vastly experienced person and we are also stakeholders. Despite the difference of opinion and a lot of reservations about the working of former PCB chairmen, I always extended my all-out support in certain issues and same I will extend to Mani.”
He added that Mani needs to improve the cricket relationship between Pakistan-India. “People of both sides of the border want both nations to play against each other. As far as Pakistan-India cricket is concerned, it is much bigger than Ashes.”
He shared another idea and said, “The PCB must amend the PSL constitution and mention six teams and keep on changing when the need arises. They have to focus on the electoral process for the next PCB elections, to be held in 2021.”
He further said all 16 regions should be made full members and they all must have rights of one vote each. “Karachi, Lahore, Railways, NBP, PIA and HBL are pillars of Pakistan cricket and the governing board should be expanded to 20 full members and they should elect their own chairman and Chief Operating Officer.”
Latif also raised voice for the cricket for disabled and said, “For the next time, every region should nominate a name for the PCB chairman slot and one among them should be picked up through the electoral process. The Prime Minister should just announce two or three advisors from the government side. The cricket policies should be part of foreign policy and all Pakistan-India matters must be handled directly by the government of Pakistan.”
To make PCB clean, Latif wants an audit at regular interval. “The PCB should publish the last three audit reports in three months time.”