‘No Big T20I Player than Babar Azam, This is IPL Team of Decade’ – Shoaib Akhtar Slams ICC

Written by Vipin Darwade

Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar slammed the International Cricket Council for not picking a single player from Pakistan in the ICC Teams of the Decade announced on Sunday.

The ICC had named three teams of the decade, one for each format, with the limited-overs sides led by MS Dhoni and the Test side under Virat Kohli’s leadership. Notably, there was not a single player from Pakistan while every other top cricket playing country found representation in at least one of the squads.

Akhtar slammed the T20I team of the decade in particular, saying Babar Azam deserved a spot. Azam was recently No. 1 in the ICC rankings for T20I batsmen, a place currently held by England’s Dawid Malan.

“They did not pick a single player from Pakistan in the team. We don’t need your (ICC) T20I Team of the Decade because you announced the IPL team, not a world cricket team,” Akhtar said on his official YouTube channel.

“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 batsman in the ICC T20I rankings.”

Akhtar also criticised the ICC for commercialising the sport at the expense of bowlers.

“ICC only thinks about money, sponsorships and TV rights. They introduced two new balls and three powerplays (in the 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,” Akhtar said.

“They just want two World Cups in three years and leagues. ….There is a big difference between today’s cricket and in 70’s cricket. If there is no Sachin vs Shoaib then what’s the point of watching cricket? There is no big player than Babar Azam in T20I. He is a top-scorer for Pakistan and his averages show what he has done for the country, even in comparison with Virat Kohli. It is so embarrassing and I’m sure after this video they will think that they have to announce the World Team of the Decade, not the IPL team.”

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Vipin Darwade