Pakistan pace bowling legend Wasim Akram feels ODI cricket has become “run-of-the-mill” stuff now and wants the administrators of the game to scrap the format for good.
Akram’s comments came close on the heels of England all-rounder Ben Stokes’ sudden retirement from ODIs, which has triggered a serious debate over the existence of 50-over cricket.
“I think so (ODIs should scrapped). In England you have full houses. In India, Pakistan especially, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, one-day cricket you are not going to fill the stadiums,” he said in Vaughany and Tuffers Cricket Club podcast.
“They are doing it just for the sake of doing it. After the first 10 overs, it’s just ‘OK, just go a run a ball, get a boundary, four fielders in and you get to 200, 220 in 40 overs’ and then have a go last 10 overs. Another 100. It’s kind of run-of-the-mill.”
Akram supported Stokes’ decision to quit from ODIs, citing “unsustainable” workload.
“Him (Stokes) deciding that he is retiring from one-day cricket is quite sad but I agree with him,” said the left-arm pacer, who scalped 502 wickets in 356 ODIs during his career, besides bowling Pakistan to victory in the 1992 Cricket World Cup final.
“Even as a commentator … one-day cricket is just a drag now, especially after T20. I can imagine as a player. 50 overs, 50 overs, then you have to pre-game, post-game, the lunch game,” added the cricketer-turned-commentator.
Akram said the 50-over game has no future in front of the ever-growing T20 format.
“T20 is kind of easier, four hours the game is over. The leagues all around the world, there is a lot more money – I suppose this is part and parcel of the modern cricket.T20 or Test cricket. One-day cricket is kind of dying.
“It is quite tiring for a player to play one-day cricket. After T20, one-day cricket seems it is going for days. So players are focussing on more shorter format. And longer format obviously (with) Test cricket,” he said. For Akram, Test cricket remains the pinnacle of the game for a player.
“There’s a battle within the battle in Test cricket. I always preferred Test matches. One-day used to be fun but Test matches were where you were recognised as a player … where people still pick you for the world XIs,” he said.
“OK money matters – I understand where they are coming from – but they should also remember if they want to be recognised as one of the greats of the game.” Akram also called on the administrators of the game to consider a complete overhaul of the overall schedule.