KARACHI: West Indies’ fast bowling great Micheal Holding, who has been in Pakistan for about a week, has said that he would love to see teams frequently visit Pakistan but the perception, of the country, needs to be changed.
Talking to a group of journalists here, the fearsome paceman of his time acknowledged the hospitality and security arrangements in Karachi, adding that the ongoing tour of Sri Lankan limited-overs team should be appropriately cashed in to restore other cricketing nations’ confidence in Pakistan.
“People have heard so many stories about Pakistan so they are going to be afraid, of course. It’s up to the Pakistan Cricket Board and the Pakistan government to try and convince teams and other boards that they will be absolutely safe coming to Pakistan. It’s not going to be easy,” Holding said.
“You gotta prove that everything is fine and when Sri Lankan team is here, show everyone that everything is fine and they are well taken care of. I am sure other teams will come,” the 60-Test veteran added.
The Jamaican-born cricketer turned commentator was of the opinion that Pakistan has an “stigma” attached to it, which needs to be scratched off.
Citing the example of 2005 bombings in London, the lanky former fast bowler recalled that despite the incident, Australia chose to stay in the country to complete the Ashes series.
“The Australian cricket team at the time of 7/7 bombings in London were in England. However, the Australia did not go back home, so you know there are stigmas attached to certain countries,” the 65-year-old Holding maintained.
“It’s important that you find a way to get over those stigmas, that’s simple as that.”
Holding, who visited different areas of the metropolitan city besides meeting a number of cricket stars, termed his experience a pleasant one.
“[In Karachi] I have walked on the streets, gone into restaurants, sat down with people and did not feel uncomfortable at all,” Holding said.
Commenting on the “early” retirement of paceman Mohammad Amir, Holding said the workload of fast bowlers is way too much as compared to old days.
“I played Test cricket for 12 years, I missed two years because of Kerry Packer, so I played 60 matches. That’s an average of 6 [Tests] per year. These guys are playing 14 to 15 Test matches. I am never going to blame a cricketer trying to extend his earning period, you can’t do that,” Holding said.
On England’s bowling sensation Jofra Archer, Holding foresaw good future ahead of the 24-year old.
“He has a smooth rhythmical action and pace which you can’t buy of a store. If he is taken care of, he will have a very long career,” Holding concluded.