Karachi: Two of Pakistan's greatest fast bowlers, Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar want country's cricket board to stop treating the national team players like schoolchildren in the name of discipline.
Wasim Akram. Pic/AFP
"Having discipline is one thing but too much stress on it can also lead to some players losing confidence because of it," Wasim told reporters in Karachi. Wasim and Shoaib were talking to the media at the Karachi launch of the Wasim Akram Foundation aimed at working for under-privileged children and to provide them education.
The legendary left-arm fast bowler said he found it disappointing that while players from other countries were able to enjoy lot of freedom and socialize while on tours, the story is completely different with the Pakistani players. "Our players unfortunately are being treated like schoolboys in the name of discipline and this is hurting their confidence and growth as professional sportsmen and persons."
He pointed out that strict discipline and clause left the Pakistani players coped up in their hotel rooms most of the time and they can't explore and learn new things.
The PCB changed its code of conduct for players after the spot-fixing scandal in England in late 2010 after which the board has placed number of restrictions on them affecting their freedom to move around and meet with people.
Wasim said his confidence had grown and in turn he became more confident as a cricketer because when he played Pakistani players were not treated like schoolboys. Shoaib not one to mince words said that Pakistan cricket's value as a team had also taken a hit since the authorities didn't encourage players to become super stars.
"Players need to be given freedom and a chance to become superstars through their performances and attitude. It is only when a player becomes a superstar that he becomes a brand and that will only increase the value of Pakistan cricket for others," Akhtar said.
He said if a player was confident he than himself learnt to bring discipline and hard work to his cricket and improved his skills and performances. Both the former fast bowlers felt that Pakistan would face a strong challenge in Sri Lanka where three tests, five ODIs and two T20 matches are scheduled in June-July.
"Sri Lanka is one of the toughest places to tour and they are very strong on their home grounds. It will not be easy for our bowlers and it should be a tough series for Pakistan," Wasim added.