“Thank God I’m Not Playing”: Shoaib Akhtar’s Blunt Take On T20 Leagues

File image of Shoaib Akhtar© Instagram

The rise of domestic T20 leagues have completely changed the phase of cricket. From Indian Premier League (IPL) to the International League (ILT20), these T20 competitions are gaining widespread acclaim. Their popularity is resulting in the downfall of international cricket as many players and fans have started losing interest in the longer formats, especially ODIs. Due to the emergence of such leagues, players are prioritising franchise cricket over international commitment. Recently, former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar stated that players prioritise these leagues to look after their financial needs.

Akhtar, who is the brand ambassador of the ongoing ILT20, stated that the franchise cricket is gaining popularity as the majority of the audience is interested in T20 format these days. 

“We will have to see the priorities. The players now have to plan their year according to their national team and the league schedules at the same time. It is difficult for the players to manage their careers because they are playing way too much T20 cricket. But this is the way forward, right? And this is the way forward for broadcasters. Because they are demanding the shortest format of cricket,” Akhtar told Hindustan Times.

“The interest of this generation has been reduced to one or two hours. As I said, the priorities have changed. But I’m glad that cricket is growing; I want this game to be global rather than a couple of regions,” he added.

The legendary Pakistan pacer also said he is relived that he is not playing in this era. 

“If I was still playing? Thank god I’m not playing in this era! The way the batters insult bowlers these days, I wouldn’t have tolerated that. Having said that, it would’ve been difficult. I used to get warm-up in four overs. In a season, I used to bowl around 800-900 overs. I would’ve played around 20 leagues in a season,” he said. 

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