Islamabad: Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan feels young Indian pacer Ishant Sharma can go on to become an outstanding match-winner if he keeps himself injury-free.
"Ishant Sharma is a great prospect in fast bowling, if he keeps himself injury free, he can become an outstanding match winning bowler," Imran told Frank Huzur, the author of his soon-to-be published autobiography Imran vs Imran, in an interview.
The cricketer-turned-politician said he had similar hopes from Ishant's compatriot Irfan Pathan and New Zealand's Shane Bond but both became lesser forces after a string on injuries.
"I predicted the same for Irfan Pathan. When I saw Irfan four years ago, he was a genuine talent. A couple of years later, I noticed slump in his speed. Injury is one scare. There are certain phases in your career. I look back at Shane Bond, he was a potential fast bowler, but couldn't sustain," he said.
Pakistan cricket has been left isolated due to the turmoil in the country and Imran said it could have been avoided had the nation prevented the Lahore terror attack on the Sri Lankan players.
"It was the biggest security lapse, if we were able to pass through Sri Lankan series, we could have dreamt of World Cup games. Presidential security was promised, but ordinary security was on the offer. There was high-level Intelligence information about such attacks. This is unforgivable," Imran said.
"After the attacks, Pakistan should not even think of hosting any games. There should be absolutely no expectation whatsoever. I don't foresee Pakistan cricket team playing more international games," the former all-rounder added.
Imran said the only way Pakistan cricket can survive the isolation is by strengthening the domestic structure.
"They should focus on strengthening their domestic circuit. South Africa could survive the isolation of apartheid era in seventies and eighties due to their marvelous domestic structure. The Curry Cup of South Africa, like Sheffield Shield of Australia, is outstanding tournament," he said.
Looking back at his career, Imran said he would never have played in the Kerry Packer series had he known that the participating players would eventually be banned.
"...if I were aware of my subsequent ban in world cricket, I wouldn't have joined the league."