Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has hit out at the Cricket’s world governing body for “successfully finishing cricket” in the last decade. He made these comments during a conversation with Sanjay Manjrekar for ESPNcricinfo’s podcast.
Akhtar was sharp in his criticism after Manjrekar asked for his take on a trend that fast bowlers are going a bit slow in limited-overs games, especially T20s, while spinners are bowling faster. Akhtar expressed his anguish at some of the playing conditions in white-ball cricket, which has made it a game only for the batsmen. “Can I tell you something bluntly? They (ICC) are finishing the cricket. I am openly saying that in the last 10 years, ICC has successfully finished cricket, and I would say job well done guys. Jo socha thaa apne woh kiya (You did what you intended to). I have been saying repeatedly that change bouncer rule (one per over). You have two new balls and four fielders outside. Please ask ICC whether in last 10 years, quality of cricket has gone up or gone down. Where are those Sachin versus Shoaib contests?”
Speaking about Tendulkar, Akhtar said that he is one with whom he never got aggressive, as there was a lot of respect for the world’s best batsman. “But yes, I would try to out-think him. Like in the 2006 tour of Pakistan, I knew he had tennis elbow problems and he can’t hook or pull me, so I bowled a barrage of bouncers to keep him quiet,” Akhtar said. Talking about pull shots, the speed merchant said that at his peak Virat Kohli would have found it difficult to play that shot against him because of his express pace.
Manjrekar asked him whether the culture of producing tearaway quicks is still there in Pakistan or they are happy producing fast-medium bowlers. “People like me should have been in PCB and I would have produced fast bowlers. Fast bowlers should be like leopards which would hunt down its prey. I would have produced 12 fast bowlers and prepared them on every aspect, technique, mannerism, studies, diet, what to do with the body. I would have built a complete brand. You don’t get fast bowlers from people who are by nature Ghulam (subservient).”