Rawalpindi - Dashing Australia batsman Dean Jones has tipped
Pakistan's resurgence in Twenty20 cricket following the success of its new
domestic league, saying fierce hitter Sharjeel Khan can revive the country's
Jones, who coached Islamabad United to victory in the
inaugural Pakistan Super League this year, was speaking after a mixed-gender
exhibition match in Rawalpindi. The 55-year-old featured alongside his players,
team director and bowling legend Wasim Akram, as well as four members of the
national women's team.
Despite rising to the top of Test rankings for the first
time, Pakistan have wilted in shorter formats of the game, dropping to ninth in
one-dayers and seventh in Twenty20 rankings.
Jones said the success of the PSL, a five-team
franchise-based event staged in the United Arab Emirates that attracted top
global talent and turned a healthy $2.6 million profit despite low expectations,
would help Pakistan's players adapt their skills.
He said: "Let's not forget why India is good at T20
cricket: they have already had eight or nine IPLs, (which) goes for two months
... and their guys have learnt through other coaches and influence from other
players," referring to the Indian Premier League, the format's marquee
"We just have (had) one real Pakistan Super League and
already now they are starting to get the idea about what's expected at this
level. "This game, T20 cricket is morphing and changing into a different
beast, a different animal.
"It's about power, it's about fitness, it's about guys
who can bowl proper death bowling and proper defensive lines and lengths... so
it's a huge learning curve for some of them, but they will get better within
three or four years time ... they will become a top two team in world T20
Power hitting has become an issue for Pakistan's
limited-overs sides recently, with the team struggling to pile up big totals.
But Jones, who in 1986 famously struck 210 in the blistering
heat of Chennai in cricket's second-ever tied Test, picked out 27-year-old
Islamabad batsman Sharjeel Khan as the man who could turn Pakistan's fortunes
"Sharjeel Khan is your next guy for the next ten years
(in T20). He'll hurt most bowlers in the world," said Jones.
Jones rolled back the years during the exhibition match to
strike a rapid fire 26 off 10 deliveries, including several lusty boundaries in
his team's 106-4 off 12 overs.
The match was also notable because of the presence of four
women stars, with Anam Amin claiming the wicket of Zohaib Ahmed and batter
Bismah Maroof hoicking several deliveries off spinner Imran Khalid into the
outfield before he bowled her out.
Jones also hailed Pakistan's rise to number one in the Test
rankings as "phenomenal" given the side has been starved of matches
at home since 2009 terror attacks on the Sri Lankan team.
He said: "See apart from Misbah (ul-Haq) and Younis
Khan maybe, not many boys have played for Pakistan on home turf, and that is
sad, that is really sad for some of the boys.
"And can they get better? You betcha. Oh they can get
better. There will be a time when they improve their batting and improve their
fielding, they probably should have beaten England in the series proper but
their fielding probably let them down," he added, referring to Pakistan's
2-2 draw in their away series last month.