ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Test captain Misbahul Haq has said that there is a dire need of improving domestic structure to get better results in limited-over format.

“I strongly suggest that one-day team captain Azhar Ali must continue and instead of blaming him and team for poor performances, we need to improve domestic structure and invest heavily on grassroots level so we may produce quality players on regular basis,” said Misbah while talking to the journalists here at the Islamabad National Cricket Ground where Pakistan Super League (PSL) first edition champions Islamabad United along with IRCA president Shakil Shakih, ICA president Nasir Iqbal, East Zone secretary Shabbir Ahmed and Islamabad United owner Ali Raza Naqvi were also present. Wasim Akram was the notable absentee from the venue.

Azhar has been widely criticised for his unimaginative captaincy since taking over from Misbah-ul-Haq, who retired from the 50-over format following the World Cup last year. But Misbah said: “It’s not a captain of any team responsible for winning or losing but it is mind set which is needed to be changed to get better results.”

The Test skipper, who has been considered as one of the best captains of Pakistan cricket history, said in the past a lot of heed was paid on school, college and league cricket, but now, there was hardly any school cricket or even club level cricket was witnessed in majority of the cities. “Due to lack of one-day cricket, the players are not getting enough exposure and their skills are not getting polished, which is the main reason behind ODI team debacle.”

“Unless the PCB doesn’t pay attention towards improvement of club and domestic cricket, Pakistani players will continue suffering as they lack basic skills, which are vital to excel in modern day cricket,” he added.

To a query regarding role of media in cricket, he said media’s influence play key role in the PCB decisions and change of leadership. “Due to extra pressure of media, captain, selectors and PCB commit mistakes, which, in the end, matters the most. The players also get under pressure and fail to respond what is expected from them.

“It is high team when instead of putting pressure or blaming captain, certain individuals must be stopped to put all burden on the shoulders of captain and instead all the players should take the responsibility of the defeats,” he added.

Misbah said he always played for the country and never thought about personal glory. “Whenever the team needed me, I had made important decisions, which sometimes worked and sometimes, expected results were not achieved, but it doesn’t mean, the captain or players don’t give their 100 percent. The players work very hard to help the national team register crucial victories.

“I must give credit of helping Pakistan to become number one Test nation in the ICC rankings to entire team, as the PCB and the team members worked day and night to ensure Pakistan team excel against all the given opponents. It also showed that despite international cricket isolation since 2009, Pakistan cricket is not only surviving but also flourishing against all the odds,” Misbah concluded.

Sharing his views, Islamabad United owner Ali Naqvi said: “We have decided to involve locals as much as possible and also take regional cricket association on board. We, along with Islamabad Region Cricket Association, will work jointly to improve playgrounds, infrastructure and also lift the living standard of the players, so they may get hefty monthly pay and in collaboration with Islamabad Region, we will bring revolution in the twin cities.

“The time is not far, when we will also start talent hunt programme and give top priority to the local talent. We will utilize all our resources to find fresh talent in the twin cities and also from their adjacent areas and not only provide them better facilities but also help them get international exposure and become an important part of Islamabad United as well as national team,” he concluded.