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Miandad says T20 leagues 'a virus'

Former Pakistani international batsman Javed Miandad warned lucrative Twenty20 leagues were 'a virus' which threatened to kill off Test cricket.
By HT Correspondent | AFP, Karachi
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2010 10:23 PM IST

Former Pakistani international batsman Javed Miandad on Thursday warned lucrative Twenty20 leagues were "a virus" which threatened to kill off Test cricket.

Miandad said the leagues offered such good money that playing international cricket -- particularly the long form of the game -- was becoming less attractive, calling on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to step in.

"Twenty20 cricket is a virus and if the ICC doesn't restrict matches of this format it will finish Test cricket as leading players will no longer want to play for their country," Miandad, who played 124 Tests for Pakistan, told AFP.

Twenty20 cricket, the shortest form of the game, is rapidly gaining popularity among players and spectators, with huge money on offer in the recognised Indian Premier League (IPL) and the rebel Indian Cricket League.

"Some of the Australian players could have represented their country longer but retired to play T20 leagues two years ago," Miandad said.

"When Twenty20 cricket started I had smelled this format will damage cricket, now the game will not see quality players as they are now more attuned to play the big-hitting game than the traditional and classical way.

"With the introduction of Twenty20 leagues, the notion that 'country comes first' is also hit for six because when there is a choice between national duty and more money, players will choose money.

"I sincerely pray that T20 cricket is restricted, otherwise the game will suffer badly."

Miandad's reaction came after 11 Pakistani players were snubbed at the IPL player auction in Mumbai on Tuesday.

None of the eight Indian franchises bid for Pakistani players -- apparently because they were not sure of their availability due to visa and other problems.

"Pakistani players should not be bothered about IPL," said Miandad.

"They must concentrate on their national duties as country always comes first," added Miandad, who also voiced concern that India was becoming too powerful in world cricket.

"I fear a day will come when world cricket will be run by India alone, so I fear if Australia, England, Sri Lanka and the West Indies don't realise this, world cricket will be at the mercy of India," he said.

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