Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has presented an opposing front to the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) restrictions against the bowlers and believes that those are heavily titled towards the batsmen.
Rules such as the powerplay fielding restrictions, free hit, shorter boundaries on most grounds, two new balls, allowance of big heavy bats, have made significant impacts on the game, especially white-ball cricket in the past decade.
Shoaib Akhtar, one of the most fearsome fast bowlers of his time, asserted that these restrictions have resulted in only a handful of fast bowlers being able to bowl over the speed of 150 kmph. He acknowledged that while all this has brought in a major surge in the television audience, the “characters” are missing on the field.
“How can the sheen remain the same? You see the deterioration all around the world. How many fast bowlers can clock more than 150 kmph consistently? And how many people are allowed to play according to the new restrictions(sic).
“ICC has put a lot of restrictions. What do you want? You want TRP, you get it. But if you want to see the characters on the field, you need to lift the restrictions. There is an embargo on cricket,” Shoaib Akhtar told Sportskeeda.
Stop comparing Sachin Tendulkar to Virat Kohli: Shoaib Akhtar
In the same breath, Shoaib Akhtar said that Sachin Tendulkar shouldn’t be compared to Virat Kohli, or any batsman of the current generation as the level of bowlers in the previous era – Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shane Warne to name a few – was much higher than the ones in the current era.
He pointed out that there weren’t any powerplay rules, and the ball used to reverse swing sooner in Tendulkar’s time – now there is hardly any conventional swing (with the new ball) and reverse swing available due to two balls.
“I mean…give Sachin Tendulkar credit and stop comparing him to Virat Kohli. He did not play the era of Sachin Tendulkar, which is like the single (field restrictions) era of 50 overs, and then the reverse swing starts literally after 10 overs.
“Face that with Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and the spin of Shane Warne,” the ‘Rawalpindi Express’ said.