Wasim Akram put in bluntly: India are playing too much cricket. And that could hurt the team in next year's World Cup.
Speaking at the Hindustan Leadership Summit on Friday, Akram said: "The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should cut down the number of matches India are playing."
"They are playing New Zealand now and will go to South Africa. They have already played Australia and Sri Lanka. They will come back and play their first match on February 19 in the World Cup. That's too much. They won't get time to recover. They will be tired, especially the bowlers. Too much cricket is another reason for frequent breakdowns of fast bowlers," said the 44-year-old former Pakistan skipper.
Akram said the 50-over World Cup was far ahead of the T20 World Cup in terms of quality. "Your skill is not tested in T20. You just have to whack the ball. In the 50-over format, you can slip in bouncers and your batting skill is tested."
For Akram, Test cricket is the ultimate thing. "It's here where all your skill is tested," he said. "The International Cricket Council must do something to save Tests."
Asked for a solution, he said: "Preparing sporting wickets is the only way we can bring crowds back to Tests." He also said that ICC should cut down the number of T20 matches and play more Tests.
Akram said cricket's lost ground in Pakistan due to match-fixing controversies. "It's sad. But the PCB must act. If some players have been accused, they should not be playing for the country. I have seen players against whom action has been taken playing for the country again in six months. That should not happen. The team managers and coaches too must play a crucial role in grooming young players."
As for Pakistan not hosting any World Cup match, Akram said, "It is sad. We were not hosting cricket for a while. This way the new generation will not get to see star cricketers in action, which will motivate them to take up the sport. The sport will lose its popularity."