Pakistan rope in legend Jansher Khan for squash revival

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

KARACHI - Pakistan’s legendary squash player Jansher Khan has agreed to coach the national side to revive the sport in the country.

Jansher, one of the most successful players in the history of international squash, said his immediate aim is to help Pakistan regain the world junior individual and team crown in Belgium next August.

Jansher’s appointment is one of the many steps the Pakistan Squash Federation has taken to regain for the country its lost glory in the sport.

The PSF is also planning to launch a nationwide programme to find young talent and groom them for national duty.

“We are still better than any country in the world when it comes to squash talent,” Jansher, a former world champion, was quoted as saying in ‘The News’ Wednesday.

“We just need to put in the hard work systematically to ensure that Pakistan squash regains its status as the best in the world,” he stressed.

“My first big target is to help Pakistan regain the world junior crown both in the team and individual events.”

“We have not won that title since 1986,” said Jansher, who was the last Pakistani to win the world junior crown almost 24 years ago.

Pakistan is the most successful squash-playing nation having produced legends like Jahangir Khan, Jansher and Hashim Khan. But since Jansher’s exit in the late ’90s, none of its players has even managed to reach the top-10 world rankings. It is a major slump for Pakistan, which till the ’80s had around five of its players in the elite club.

Jansher wants to focus on the grassroot level and is aiming to train players in various age groups starting from the under-11 category.

“We will concentrate on grassroot because nobody has worked at that level in the past,” he said.

“Look at Australia, Egypt and England. They are at the top right now because in those countries there is a solid system at the ground level.”

Jansher said that with his help, the PSF will launch a comprehensive training program to groom players bracketed in various age groups.

Jansher wants to have all the former squash greats on board in a bid to help Pakistan produce world champions like it did in the past.

“We want to take all our squash legends on board,” he said.

He has already roped in Mohibullah Khan Jr., a former world No.2, to head the Peshawar leg of the training project. In Lahore, Jansher wants to hire the legendary Gogi Alauddin.

“Pakistan squash has really suffered during the last 10 to 15 years and only a combined effort can help revive it.”

Jansher said that the PSF chief has promised “huge incentives” for any Pakistani player who can break into the top-5 of world rankings.

“The incentives are going to be big for any of our players who will do well at the world circuit,” he said.

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