Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has torn into the ICC for overlooking Pakistan players in the ‘Teams of the Decade’ and has accused the council of being sycophantic by picking an IPL XI. No Pakistan player made any of the three sides chosen by the ICC - Test, ODI, and T20I teams of the decade.
With the end of the calendar year 2020 approaching the International Cricket Council (ICC), on Sunday, released the ODI, Test, and T20I teams of the decade, comprising who they felt were the best performing cricketers in the specified cut-off date (01 January 2011 to 31 December 2020). Controversial omissions were few and far between, with the usual suspects - the Kohlis and the Warners and the Malingas - dominating proceedings, but what turned out to be interesting was the absence of Pakistan cricketers. Across all three formats, no Pakistan player - not even Babar Azam - managed to find a place, in stark contrast to a plethora of Indian cricketers finding themselves on the list.
ICC turning a full-on blind eye to Pakistan cricketers irked the hardcores on social media, and former Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akhtar joined hands with the loyalists and launched a scathing attack on the council. Akhtar, controversy’s favorite child, claimed on his YouTube channel that the ICC named an IPL XI and not a World XI, and accused the governing body of sycophantic behavior to meet its financial needs.
“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.
“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,” the 45-year-old said.
Akthar expressed unhappiness over the ICC overlooking Pakistan players, but in particular ridiculed the council for ignoring Babar Azam. The ICC T20I team of the decade did not include Azam, who averages a remarkable 50.94 in the format, and Akthar accused the ICC of completely forgetting about Pakistan being a full-member. The legendary pacer labelled the teams picked by the body as ‘embarrassing’.
“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.
“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.”