KARACHI –– Veteran Pakistan batsman Younis Khan believes Twenty20 cricket is having a negative impact on Test cricket.
Khan, one of the greats of Pakistan Test cricket and who recently retired from ODIs after playing 265 matches, said the shortest form of international cricket was “stealing the thunder” from the longer format with players just focusing on the money.
“T20 cricket has been a big step forward for cricket but unfortunately it has been allowed unsupervised growth and that has had negative effects on the players many of whom now just think to just play T20 leagues and earn well,” Younis said.
He pointed that when he led the national side to the 2009 ICC World T20 in England, he had warned that the ICC and member boards needed to prevent unbridled growth of T20 cricket.
“Nowadays there are T20 leagues being played everywhere but the quality and big money is there only in IPL or perhaps the Big Bash. With so many leagues round the year, players are only focusing on this format and it is not good for Test or ODI cricket. There has been a decline in the growth of quality players because of this scenario,” he said.
Khan also called on the International Cricket Council to ensure uniformity of tracks in the longest format across the world. He criticized the standard of pitches in the recently concluded series between India and South Africa.
India won the four-match Test series 3-0 and handed the No.1 Test side their first overseas loss in nine years but the rubber was dominated by heated debates about the pitches with two games finishing in under-three days. The pitch in Nagpur, venue for the third match, received an official warning from cricket’s governing body on Monday.
“I don’t think it was good advertisement for Test cricket in the recent India and South Africa series that the ball was turning from the first day onwards. The element of competition disappears on such pitches,” Younis said.
Younis also noted that people talking about facing different conditions and pitches with a lot of bounce and movement when they play in England, Australia or South Africa were talking about the past.
“The pitches nowadays in these countries also are not the same as they were a decade or two ago. Look at Australia. You don’t see the same pace or bounce, similarly in England not all pitches now have lot of seam movement.”
The 38-year-old former skipper, who is Pakistan’s most successful run-scorer in 104 Test appearances, made it clear that he had not signed the contract with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to be considered for the draft of players in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
“If the PSL is held properly in a transparent and clean manner then it would benefit our domestic players a lot. I want to see that happen. But transparency in everything is required so that our league doesn’t face same problems we have seen in other countries,” Younis said.
He also advised the Pakistan cricket authorities to focus on channeling funds from the PSL to domestic cricket.
“We should be in a situation where a domestic player is able to earn at least 40 to 50,000 rupees per match,” he concluded.