ISLAMABAD - Former 8-time world squash champion Jansher Khan has lauded Pakistani players’ performances in the recently-concluded World-V and Egypt-V series and claimed they are bound to excel at international level.

Talking to The Nation, Jansher said: “The 2017 back-to-back squash series were held in cordial environment and remained highly successful. World number 2 Egyptian Gawad and other top ranked Professional Squash Association (PSA) players not only participated in the events, but also lauded the arrangements made by Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF). They described their stay in Pakistan as completely safe and urged the others to come and witness this beautiful country.

“It is a clear indication that the PSA ban on hosting international events in Pakistan was totally unjustified, keeping in mind the fact that the country had hosted 6 international events in last 2 years and not a single minor untoward incident occurred. I am surprised that how the PSA paid heed to a so-called security report of Sports Risk Management Company and I hope their representative Sam Dickson, who witnessed Pakistan hosting the squash series against World-V and Egypt-V, would give positive report to the PSA.

“The time is not so far when Pakistan will host full-fledge international squash event of $25,000 and much more high prize money, which will not only help masses to witness the world’s elite group of players live in action at their home soul, but will also provide local players great opportunities to from their experience,” he added.

Jansher said he would have been highly delighted, had the PSA allowed Pakistan to host international events rather than friendly squash series. “I know some hidden hands and Indian lobby is behind depriving Pakistan of hosting international events. Such elements can’t beat our players in squash courts, as they are cowards and afraid of facing us. They find cheap ways to dismantle Pakistanis, but they are not aware of the fact that squash runs in our bloods and no matter not a single Pakistani player managed to lift world title for last two decades, due to some certain reasons, it had nothing to do with quality and class.

“We have a number of players, who, if provided with training, facilities and PSA events, could easily beat any given opponent, just like Farhan Mehboob did to world number 2 Gawad, who was beaten all hands up by the talented Mehboob. These elements don’t know Pakistan is a super power in squash and no one can deprive us of our world status. Pakistan produced world champions, which no other country had managed to do,” he said.

Jansher said: “The PSF present management is working devotedly and has been providing the best facilities, training and coaching to the players. The Pakistan National Squash Academy (PNSA) is a fantastic initiative and the results will start coming in due course of time, as nobody can expect over the night results. It will take some time before the PSA allocates full-fledge higher prize money tournaments to Pakistan but before that the federation had done the right thing by at least initiating series with Egypt and World players, which I feel is a step in the right direction.

“Although competitive action and exhibition matches were different, yet at least our players had a great exposure, winning or losing doesn’t matter. Majority of these players would have waited for years before even been able to have a glimpse of Gawad, Mosad and other top professional players. Locals were given a treat of watching world’s top players playing in front of them,” he added.

He attributed Pakistanis success in squash world due to tireless efforts and matchless contributions of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), which is bearing all the expenses of the players and providing them the best facilities and PSA events. “The PSF needs financial support from private sector as well, as without injecting finances, we can’t work on development of players. The prime minister, president and other well-offs should give the federation and players financial boost, so that they may, in return, win squash glory for the country,” Jansher concluded.