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Pakistan pace great Wasim Akram wants ODIs scrapped from international calendar

London, July 21 (IANS) Pakistan pace great Wasim Akram wants one-day internationals (ODIs) to be scrapped from the international cricket calendar. Akram, who picked 502 wickets in 356 ODIs and bowled Pakistan to victory in the 1992 Cricket World Cup final against England, also backed all-rounder Ben Stokes’ decision to retire from 50-over matches citing an “unsustainable” workload.

“I think so (on ODI cricket being 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.”

“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 in the last 10 overs. Another 100. It’s kind of run-of-the-mill,” said Akram on Vaughany and Tuffers Cricket Club Podcast.

Further talking about Stokes and his decision to retire from ODIs to focus on Tests and T20Is, Akram remarked, “Him deciding that he is retiring from one-day cricket is quite sad but I agree with him. 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.”

“T20 is kind of easier, four hours the game is over. In the leagues all around the world, there is a lot more money — I suppose this is part and parcel of 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 on for days. So players are focusing on the shorter format. And longer format obviously (with) Test cricket.”

Despite T20 cricket having tons of fan-following and pushing ODI cricket out of the limelight, Akram, who picked 414 wickets in 104 Tests, still believes that Test cricket is the most prominent format of the game as this is where legends of the game are made.

“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.”

“OK money matters — I understand where they are coming from — but they should also remember (Test cricket) if they want to be recognised as one of the greats of the game.”

–IANS

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