KARACHI: Former tearaway Shoaib Akhtar has said that the Pakistan Cricket Board should focus on building a strong national team instead of pandering to the whims of the power-hungry Board of Control for Cricket in India.
Aktar's was a knee-jerk reaction to the Indian Government's rejection of visa applications of Faisalabad Wolves players, who were supposed to play in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament.
"I am not surprised that the Indians have not issued visas to the Faisalabad Wolves team for the Champions League. The fact is that until and unless we have normal and friendly relations at the government to government level why do we expect the Indian cricket board to be supportive.
"I have always said that we don't need to run after India all the time and we need to stop begging on different issues whether it is resumption of bilateral cricket ties, allowing our players for the IPL or our team for the Champions League," he added.
"We should have never expected them to issue visas for the Faisalabad team. When they first invited us we should have taken a bold stance and said 'thank you'. When will we as a nation or board show some self respect and pride in our stance towards India," Akhtar told a television channel.
The enfant terrible of world cricket said that all that Pakistan players had to lose from the latest turn of events was a "few hundred thousand dollars."
"It is time we stopped going after India all the time. We need to start setting our house in order and strengthening our own domestic cricket and infrastructure. We need to concentrate on building up our cricket structure and building up a world class side. When we have a world class side everyone will not only want to play against us but on our terms as well," he said.
Akhtar also said that the reason for India's giant steps in cricket was not the IPL, but skipper MS Dhoni.
"Dhoni may not be as good looking as Imran but he has all the qualities of Imran as a captain and player and he has given their cricket a new direction and life. He has turned Indian cricket around."