ISLAMABAD - Stephen John has said that he is keen to serve the country, which gave him name and fame across the world.

In an interview with The Nation, Stephen, who has done Level-II coaching course form ECB in 2005 and two-year coaching experience in New Zealand, said: “I submitted application with PCB in 2012 for coaching and still waiting for the response. I never lost hope and eager to pass on my knowledge and experience to others. I want to train the youngsters and want to transform them into quality players.”

Stephen John is one of the most deserving players, who was highly mishandled by not only Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), but was also not supported by his very own region Islamabad, to whom he had captained for two seasons. He was among top 5 fast bowlers in the country in the domestic circuit for two seasons in running and took 270 wickets in 75 first class matches. He has honour to play for PIA, KRL, Customs, Quetta Region and then till the end for Islamabad Region.

“I feel deserving players of Rawalpindi and Islamabad are not properly highlighted despite playing top cricket. I feel like other regions back and push their players in landing national team place, Islamabad and Rawalpindi Region presidents must do the same. I remained highly unlucky despite having enough pace, passion and wickets, but I was never given what I deserved. I should have at least given Pakistan A tours, where I could prove my worth,” he asserted.

The lanky left-arm pacer was once tipped to replace Wasim Akram, as he was fast and unplayable, but he was not given the support and helping hand, he deserved by Islamabad Region’s highly powerful president. Stephen’s dream of representing Pakistan team was badly shattered, but he never lost the hope. He started offering free coaching to deserving kids. He hadn’t a place, where he might train the youngsters, so he requested ZTBL to allow him to coach the youngsters, he was allowed to perform his task. But now when ZTBL has started training its players at the same venue, he has once again facing the same problem.

He said: “I joined Islamabad Gymkhana in 1992 and finally made my first class debut in 1995. At that time, only two local players were representing Islamabad, while 9 outsiders were inducted as guest players. I was amazed as I thought the guys, who were playing as guest players were not good enough. Asif Ali Syed and Azhar Mehmood were very good, and they motivated me a lot and I made up my mind to start playing for Islamabad,” he added.

Stephen said: “I was a regular player in first class cricket for Islamabad, and my career best was against Multan at Sahiwal, where Waqar Younis was leading Multan. Waqar was dropped from national team and he was playing for a place in the national team. Waqar took 8 wickets in the match, and his name was included in the national squad. I took 9 wickets in the match and helped Islamabad register victory against star-studded Multan side, which had galaxy of top players.

“I played 12 seasons in first class cricket and in 2000, I joined Customs and played one season for it. We were Grade-I champions with Aamir Bashir, Rana Naved and Ali Naqvi were playing alongside me. I played 5 matches and took 25 wickets during the five-day final, which we won against National Bank. Customs became national champion for the very first time, when I was part of it and contributed in that cause,” he added.

He said: “Then I played for KRL in 2002 and in 2003, I played for PIA while 2006-07 was my last season in first class and then I quit and went to New Zealand to play two seasons there and I also played in England for 12 seasons in Premier League in North Lancashire. I was top wicket-taker in three seasons and in New Zealand, I was area coordinator. I was not only playing but also coaching as well. It was a great honour for Pakistan, as majority of overseas players had played for their respective countries, but I was only non-Test player to represent North Land Cricket Association as area coordinator.”

“I have taken most number of wickets for Islamabad, have done coaching courses and spent time playing at international leagues. I feel former players, who want to serve region and country, should be given opportunities to prove their worth. I don’t need job to serve region and country, I want to do it as a noble cause,” Stephen concluded.