Akram voices concern over IPL, ICL

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Lahore, Apr 25 (UNI) Legendary fast bowler Wasim Akram has said the lucrative IPL, with its muti-million dollar contracts, will prompt players to prematurely retire from the game.

''I still believe that the IPL and Indian Cricket League will create problems in international cricket. You will see players retiring prematurely from international cricket to play in these lucrative leagues,'' Akram said.

Despite admitting that players need to be paid well, the former pace spearhead stuck to his stance.

''Suppose I am a 34-year-old bowler with an uncertain future in the national side,'' he explained, ''I would retire prematurely to play in IPL or ICL, rather than risk being dropped from the team.'' The 41-year-old former left-armer held the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the national boards responsible for the present crisis.

''All players in the IPL and ICL are professionals and they will go where they would get paid well. All cricket boards and the ICC should have thought about improving pay structure of the players 10 years ago,'' he said. ''If this had been done, such leagues could be held officially by the ICC itself.'' Akram also expressed concerns that the craze for Twenty20 cricket might affect the popularity of the one-day game saying the rules could be altered to allow only two players out of the circle during the 20-35 over period.

''I think the ICC and member boards need to think of changes to make the middle overs (in an one dayer) more interesting,'' he suggested. ''People change channels during the 20-40 over period as the game slows down due to the batsmen scoring slowly and cementing the innings. It is the onslaught in the final 10 overs that interests viewers.'' He was, however, confident that the game will continue to prosper in future.

''Cricket will improve. I am a fast bowler but I support batsmen because the viewers want action,'' he said.

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