Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has lambasted the International Cricket Council (ICC) for not including a single Pakistan player in its Men’s T20I Team of the Decade.
The governing body of cricket announced the men’s and women’s teams of the decade for various formats on Sunday (December 27).
The ICC Men’s T20I Team of the Decade includes four Indians, two each from West Indies and Australia, and one each from South Africa, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Shoaib Akhtar mockingly said that the ICC hadannounced an IPL XI instead of a world team.
“They [ICC] did not pick a single player from Pakistan in the team. We don’t need your T20I Team of the Decade because you announced the IPL team, not a world cricket team,” Shoaib Akhtar, who picked 444 wickets from 46 Tests, 163 ODIs and 15 T20Is, said.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam is currently in second place in the ICC T20I rankings, only behind England batsman Dawid Malan.
Shoaib Akhtar compared Babar with Indian compatriot Virat Kohli and criticized the ICC for ignoring the player with the highest average (50.93) in the shortest format.
“I think ICC forgot that Pakistan is also a member of ICC and they also play T20I cricket. They did not pick Babar Azam, who is currently the number one [two] batsman in the ICC T20I rankings...There is no big player than Babar Azam in T20I. He is the top-scorer for Pakistan and his averages show what he has done for the country, even in comparison with Virat Kohli,” Shoaib Akhtar reasoned.
'ICC only thinks about money, sponsorships and TV rights,’ says Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib Akhtar questioned the righteousness of the ICC’s working, saying the governing body is money-minded.
He believes the new batter-friendly rules set by the ICC have not allowed this generation's pacers and spinners to emulate the legendary ones of the past.
“ICC only thinks about money, sponsorships and TV rights. They introduced two new balls and three powerplays [in ODI cricket]. Where is Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson, big five of West Indies, Wasim [Akram] and Waqar [Younis]? Where are the world’s fastest bowlers and leg-spinners?
“They went away because ICC commercialised and materialised cricket so much and allowed ten leagues to earn more revenue. They just want two World Cups in three years and leagues [and all that],” Shoaib Akhtar added.
ICC Men’s T20I Team of the Decade: Rohit Sharma, Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, MS Dhoni (c/wk), Kieron Pollard, Rashid Khan, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga
Published 28 Dec 2020, 14:47 IST