Karachi, Sept 23: Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad has warned that the continued promotion of Twenty20 cricket poses a threat to the traditional bastions of the sport, particularly at test level.
''They (the International Cricket Council) are turning cricket into baseball. In their bid to further commercialise and globalise the sport they are ruining its traditional character and spirit,'' Miandad told Reuters today.
Pakistan will face India tomorrow in the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup final in South Africa but the country's highest test run-scorer played down the team's achievements and insisted the shortest form of the game was not real cricket.
''This is not the cricket we played and are aware of. Winning any tournament is a achievement for any team but this is not real cricket,'' he said.
Miandad, who scored 8,832 runs in 124 tests, said if Twenty20 was allowed to flourish as one-day internationals had, sponsors and spectators would eventually turn away from test cricket.
''Why would a sponsor bother putting money into test matches when he can get more mileage in less time?'' the 50-year-old asked.
''Why would people come to watch test matches if they can get bang-bang action in four hours?'' Miandad said he was also concerned that if youngsters were introduced to cricket through Twenty20 games, the sport would eventually be deprived of quality players.
Former wicketkeeper and captain Rashid Latif agreed, saying there was a need to keep both forms of the game apart.
''It can be done but the ICC and national boards must guard against an overdose of Twenty20 cricket because it has the potential to destroy traditional cricket,'' he said.