Former Pakistan fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar wants express fast-bowlers, including Dale Steyn, to quit Twenty20s and focus on Tests and One-Day Internationals instead.
Akhtar, who retired at the 2011 World Cup, termed the shortest format of international cricket ‘ruthlessly cruel’ for fast-bowlers where rules were stacked heavily in favour of the batsmen.
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Akhtar took 19 wickets in 15 Twenty20 internationals at an economy rate of over eight and deemed the absence of the ‘fear factor’ in the format as another reason for fast-bowlers to opt out.
“For me, the format is ruthlessly cruel for fast-bowlers,” Akhtar said at a press conference in Doha. “I’d say that fast-bowlers such as Dale Steyn should not play Twenty20 cricket because the fear factor has been taken away as well. The batsmen can easily smash you back over your head, cut you or pull you with ease.
“It has become a batsman’s and a spinner’s game, fast-bowlers have nothing going for them in there. They get beaten up really badly in the format.”
Pakistan’s fast-bowler Umar Gul is second in the list of highest wicket-takers in T20 internationals with 80 scalps, five behind off-spinner and compatriot Saeed Ajmal. Lasith Malinga, Stuart Broad, Steyn and Morne Morkel complete the top-10.
Steyn, meanwhile, has the best economy rate among pacers in that list, giving away 6.45 runs per over after having taken 55 wickets. He also took nine wickets in the recently concluded World Twenty20 but the economy rate of almost eight was much higher compared to the spinners who dominated the event.
“Steyn bowled really well on the tour of New Zealand but I suggest that if you really want to or need to, play the T20s for practice only and concentrate of Tests and ODIs.”
Akhtar also backed the idea of having a fast-bowler as captain in international matches, including Tests and ODIs.
Malinga lead Sri Lanka in the final phase of the World Twenty20 after regular captain Dinesh Chandimal opted to sit out.
“A fast-bowler as captain is different, he’s always aggressive and result-oriented. Fast-bowlers are match-winners and have the instinct to win games very quickly.”