Latif says Pakistan favourites to win Asia Cup

ISLAMABAD – Former captain Rashid Latif has said that Pakistan cricket team is favourite to win the Asia Cup 2018, to be held in UAE.

Talking to The Nation, Latif said: “As United Arab Emirates (UAE) is home for Pakistan cricket for last decade and green caps are fully aware about 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.

“Return of Junaid Khan will boost fast bowling department, as he has formed formidable pair with M Aamir and Fahim Ashraf while Shahdab Khan will definitely add strength to bowling. Shoaib Malik, like always, will be backbone of 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.

Latif congratulated new PCB chairman Ehsan Mani and hoped now things in the PCB will be streamlined and he will bring transparency in the board. “Mani is a vastly experienced person and we are also stakeholders. Despite 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 said Mani needs to take bold steps and work on not only improving Pakistan ties with other Test playing nations, but also pay special attention towards ensuring Pakistan-India bilateral series must start without any further delays. “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.”

Latif suggested that if Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is willing to make the institution strong, they have to amend current constitution of it as well as of Pakistan Super League (PSL). “The PCB must amend the PSL constitution and mention six teams and keep on changing, when the need arises. They have to focus on electoral process for the next PCB elections, to be held in 2021.”

He 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.”

The former cricketer said that all types of cricket are included in the PCB constitution except disabled cricket, which should also be included in the constitution. “For the next time, every region should nominate a name for the PCB chairman slot and one among them should be picked up through electoral process. The Prime Minister should just announce two or three advisors from government side. The cricket policies should be part of foreign policy and all Pakistan-India matters must be handled directly by government of Pakistan.”

Latif stressed upon making audit report compulsory after every financial year and the PSL audit should be separated from the PCB’s. “The PCB should publish last three audit reports in three months time.”


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