ISLAMABAD - Former Pakistan cricket team captain Imran Khan has said that the national team’s performance in T20 World Cup 2016 would have been better if Misbah-ul-Haq was calling the shots instead of Shahid Afridi.

Imran expressed these views during PTI Sports and Cultural Wing-organised Future Imran Khan fast bowlers camp concluding ceremony held here at Diamond Cricket ground on Tuesday. He said naming three separate captains for Test, ODIs and T20 made no sense, and real reason behind the national team debacle was flopped domestic cricket structure.

He said during his meeting with Pakistan team in Kolkata, he gave tips to skipper Afirdi, but strangely, he didn’t pay heed to any of his suggestions. “I advised him to play aggressive cricket and forget about the results, but but he went completely in the opposite direction as he played defensive cricket, which resulted in Pakistan cricket team’s elimination from first round of the World T20. If Afridi was not performing well, Misbah should have been appointed national T20 team skipper to get far better results. Misbah is super fit, a fighter, he not only performs, but also capable of taking best out of players.”

During the trials, Imran picked four players and said: “If properly worked on, these four bowlers can represent Pakistan in Test and international cricket. Pakistan is blessed with natural talent but the players need grounds, so we have to construct cricket grounds and revive club cricket. It makes no difference of only sacking manager and coach, it is important to change the infrastructure and mind set, which is destroying Pakistan cricket.”

PCB governing body member Shakil Sheikh tried to be oversmart and termed lack of county cricket for players another reason behind the debacle. “The players are not touching past heights, as in the past, the players used to rectify their mistakes and errors while playing in county cricket.”

Imran gave a meaningful look to Shakil and said: “The claims you are making are childish. We should have strengthen our domestic cricket structure so much that the players might not even think about playing county cricket. I was pleading for the last several years and time and again warned the PCB to pay heed towards domestic cricket flaws, but no one bothered to listen to my suggestions. On the other hand, India paid tremendous attention towards their domestic cricket, which turned their team into world beaters. We are way behind then Indians, and until and unless Pakistan domestic cricket structure is not improved, we will continue to suffer and lack far behind even from India.”

Imran divided five players into three groups and asked them to bowl one over each. He also gave tips to each and every individual and told them how they could improve and enhance their speed. He also gave answers to the queries of the participating bowlers. Pakistan cricket team players Immad Wasim, Yasir Shah and Umar Amin also witnessed the trials.

When the players met Imran, Shakil Shiekh told Imran that Immad was the leading player in the domestic circuit and scored over 700 runs each year and also took around 40 wickets but he was not getting regular place in the national team. Once again Imran gave a very meaningful look to Shakil and asked: “You are telling this to me?”

Imran then asked Umar Amin what did he do, bowling or batting? Umar told Imran about his specialty. After witnessing the bowlers, Imran left the occasion.