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Only T20 should have been staged: Iqbal

Former Pakistan captain feels one-day series was out of place

Gulf News

Sharjah: Former Pakistan skipper Asif Iqbal feels that the ongoing Pakistan-Australia series should have been confined to only Twenty20 matches.

Speaking to Gulf News from London, Iqbal said: “One can understand the Twenty20 matches being played in UAE as the Twenty20 World Cup is only a few weeks away and both teams would welcome the chance of some good practice games before the mega event gets under way. But the reason for staging the One Day Internationals remains entirely elusive, to the extent that there is no point in all this apart from making money. And while making money is a laudable motive, it is difficult to justify putting players into a veritable oven to further that purpose.”

Iqbal fears that players’ fitness can be affected by playing the one-dayers in hot weather. “The danger about playing in such hot weather for reasons that are not clear is that players stand a much higher chance of becoming unfit. Water and salt loss from the system is high in such heat, leading to a higher chance of muscle injuries and health problems,” he added.

Iqbal feels that a series of five Twenty20 matches instead of three one-dayers would have been ideal considering the weather. “It would have made much more cricketing sense to have a series of say five T20 matches as it would give both sides more of the relevant practice they need and it would also be infinitely kinder for the players, exposing them for a shorter period of time to the extreme weather. It might also suit the fans rather better who, in any case, seem to prefer the T20 format to anything else,” he said.

“The one-day series, from a cricketing point of view, has little importance, as nothing depends on it. I only hope that the players – on both sides – come out of it unscathed, and at the end of it all are none the worse for it. It will be testing their fitness to the maximum and all that I can is say that my sympathies are entirely with them,” he said.