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Shoaib Akhtar delivers epic rant after ICC snub Pakistan in awards of the decade

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Shoaib Akhtar, the former Pakistan fast bowler, has delivered an epic rant against the ICC, condemning them for failing to include a single Pakistan player in their men’s teams of the decade as part of their recently announced awards of the decade.

ICC recently revealed their awards of the decade, naming ODI and T20I XIs of the decade for men’s and women’s cricket along with a player of the decade in each of the three formats. Moreover, Virat Kohli was named the ICC men’s player of the decade, with Ellyse Perry the ICC women’s player of the decade. However, despite the qualification period including a global tournament win in ODI cricket, a long stretch atop the world T20I rankings and a brief ascension to No.1 in the Test rankings in 2016 for Pakistan’s men’s side, not a single player from the country made any of the five sides or received an individual award, which hasn’t gone down well with the former quick.

Akhtar pointed out the absence of Babar Azam, currently the second-ranked T20I batsman in the ICC rankings behind England’s Dawid Malan, from the T20I team of the decade while claiming that the side announced by the ICC looks more like an IPL XI than an international one. Babar wasn’t nominated for the ICC T20I player of the decade award due to players having to be active for at least five years in the qualification period.

“ICC have announced the T20I team of the decade and I think they’ve forgotten that even Pakistan are ICC member and play T20I cricket,” Akhtar said on his Youtube channel, with his comments translated into English. “They didn’t even think that a batsman as big as Babar Azam could have been selected in the XI, more so as he is the top-ranked T20I batsman. They didn’t select a single player from Pakistan, and thanks a lot for that, we don’t need you, or a spot in the T20I team of the decade. We don’t need you because it seems that you have announced an IPL team of the decade and not an international cricket side.”

Akhtar then took aim at the ICC more generally, criticising them for various rules introduced into limited-overs internationals, a perceived lack of high-quality cricketers in the game currently, and calling them “speechless in front of India”.

“Sometimes, I just don’t understand what ICC want to do. The sinking ship that is world cricket – they can’t unearth a single top-class cricketer, no good up and coming fast bowler, three powerplays, the batsmen are making merry, two new balls, there is no say basically. I’m saying it out loud that if ICC wanted to destroy the sport and work for just the money involved, then they should’ve informed us accordingly and things would have been much easier to take.

“They started using two new balls on someone’s suggestion, then three powerplays. Where is Dennis Lillee? Where is Jeff Thomson? Where are the five great West Indians? Where are Wasim-Waqar? Where are the fast bowlers, leg spinners? They’ve all gone missing because they (ICC) have materialised cricket so much. You get speechless in front of India because all you care about is money. All ICC want are a couple of World Cups every three years and the T20 leagues all around the world. That is all. ICC should be ashamed of themselves – they’ve destroyed cricket. You can’t say anything, can’t push players around so how are the fast bowlers going to show any sort of aggression?

“There is no fun in watching cricket without a Sachin v Shoaib. You’ve finished all of that. And then you announce team of the decades without a single Pakistan player. ICC should be ashamed of themselves. Is there a bigger T20 player than Babar Azam? You compare his T20 numbers with Virat Kohli and you’ll see how big a player he is. This is so embarrassing. I’m sure they’ll think after this video that they have announced an IPL team of the decade and not T20I team of the decade. I’m just giving you a reminder, ICC. Best of luck.”

Akhtar is not the only big name to be angered by the ICC’s choices. One of the more notable was Rashid Latif, another former Pakistan cricketer, sarcastically wondered if there had been a “typo error” in the naming of the men’s T20I team of the decade.

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