ISLAMABAD - Former Test cricketer Yasir Hameed has requested Prime Minister Imran Khan to help him in establishing a state-of-the-art cricket academy in Islamabad.

Talking to The Nation, Yasir, who had played 25 Test matches, 56 ODIs for Pakistan, said: “I had been playing cricket for last 22 years and now I want to contribute towards helping the youth of Islamabad and Rawalpindi to learn this art and help Pakistan cricket in the best possible manner.”

“Cricket is my life and I have spent my entire life in playing this game. Now I want to serve the country to pay back what it has given to me. We need more and more academies to protect youth. Every youngster needs proper facilities and we must provide comfort zone to our players,” he added.

Yasir said he had long been requested the CDA to allocate a piece of land where he could construct a state-of-the-art academy and provide youngsters a platform where they could learn this trade. “The youngsters, who are spending their time on computers and tablets, must come out to improve their mental and physical condition. Kids must go to school and return and spend time in sporting fields. I just came back from USA after playing league in Dallas and Houston and trust me, the youngsters spend two to three hours in outdoor sports in playing basketball, football or any other game.

“Now the kids in USA have also started playing cricket, which is gaining huge popularity in USA with each passing day. It hurts to see our kids are being deprived of proper sporting facilities. I will not only ensure my presence at the proposed academy, but I will also hire top class former cricketers, trainers and physical fitness instructors, who will pass on their knowledge to youth,” he added.

He said previously only one academy was being run by former Test cricketer Muhammad Wasim in Rawalpindi, but unfortunately, it was closed down. “Now there is an urgent need of establishing cricket academies by former Test cricketers or at least first class players, as we know the inside outs of cricket. The CDA has loads of empty cricket grounds, which are being destroyed as they are not properly maintaining them.

“If these grounds are allocated to me or other former Test cricketers, who want to pass on their knowledge to the youngsters, they including me will not only train youngsters for free but also transform raw talent into champions, who will serve the country at international level and win laurels for it,” he added.

About Pakistan cricket teams’ recent performances in the Test matches against New Zealand and then against South Africa, Yasir said: “The main flaw in our batsmen is that they don’t know their comfort zone. Only those players, who are applying himself according to conditions, playing the ball late and close to the body and leaving the outside deliveries, will survive. I feel top domestic performers should be given their due rights of representing the country as it will certainly serve Pakistan team.”

Yasir said he is ready to serve Pakistan cricket if the PCB hands over junior selection committee responsibilities to him. “I can assure that merit and only merit will prevail and Pakistan national team will get players in bulks just like other top cricket-playing nations. We just have a few players pool, who keep on coming and going out. We need fresh pool of players while right man for the right job formula must be applied.

“The performers of PSL and shorter formats should be included only in shorter formats not in the Test matches, as they lack stamina and above all patience, which is key to prolong stay at the crease and provide the team with solid foundations,” he added.  He said he is always available for national cause and ready to help Pakistan cricket in the best possible manner.

“If the PM accepts my request and provide cricket ground for academy purposes, I won’t let him down and provide youngsters a platform, where they will learn cricket in the best possible manner. For me, it is right time to start working with kids and coach them to the best of my abilities,” Yasir concluded.