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Has Imran Khan damaged Pakistan cricket?

Last updated on: June 17, 2013 20:45 IST

Has Imran Khan damaged Pakistan cricket?

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In the aftermath of the crushing defeat to India, former skipper Aamir Sohail has launched a scathing attack on Imran Khan, one of Pakistan's greatest cricketers, saying the World Cup-winning captain is responsible for the current state of the sport in the country.

"I want to say clearly here, and for once we must face the truth, that Imran is responsible for the state of affairs in our cricket," Sohail said.

With his statement that is clearly a fall-out of Pakistan's disastrous campaign in the Champions Trophy in England, where they lost all their three group matches, Sohail left the other two guests on the show -- Zaheer Abbas and Younis Khan -- surprised.

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Image: Imran Khan
Photographs: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

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'Imran encouraged our bowlers to tamper with the ball'

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"Imran damaged Pakistan cricket by encouraging our bowlers to tamper with the ball. This has led to a culture where we can't produce good new ball bowlers or quality openers," the 46-year-old former opener told a news channel.

Sohail was retorting to the views expressed by former pacer Shoaib Akhtar, who felt Pakistan "need a dressing room culture where a winning mentality is promoted" and someone like Imran to guide and produce quality players.

The storm was already brewing and Saturday's eight-wicket defeat to arch-rivals India only added to the wounds.


Image: From left: Mahmood Fazal, Wasim Akram and Aamir Sohail of Pakistan
Photographs: Ben Radford /Allsport/Getty Images

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'Changes have to be made and new players must be brought in'

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A proven player with 47 Tests and 156 ODIs under his belt, Sohail has worked as a chief selector in the past and was a member of the 1992 World Cup-winning squad led by Imran.

Many other former players, including Akhtar and Zaheer, made it clear that it is time for Kamran Akmal, Imran Farhat, and Shoaib Malik to get the axe.

"Changes have to be made and new players must be brought in and given time to settle down. We have tried the same set of players time and again and they have not delivered in big tournaments," Akhtar said.

However, Younis, who was dropped for the Champions Trophy, felt changing and chopping or pressing the panic button will not solve problems.


Image: Asad Shafiq
Photographs: Philip Brown/Reuters

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