Azhar Mahmood has played in numerous T20 leagues around the world © Getty Images
Azhar Mahmood has played in numerous T20 leagues around the world © Getty Images

Dubai: Oct 19, 2014

Former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood on Sunday said he disagreed that T20 cricket was spoiling younger generations of batsmen and is a threat to Test and one-day cricket. The 39-year-old was speaking at the launch of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) nine-day camp in the United Arab Emirates for young players to learn how to play the shortest format of the game.

Mahmood quoted the example of South African batsman AB de Villiers who he said adjusts to all three formats with consummate ease. “Look, you need basic technique to bat and if your technique is good, then you can easily switch the gears like de Villiers is doing so wonderfully,” said Mahmood, who played 21 Tests and 143 one-day internationals for Pakistan.

“I don’t accept that Twenty20 is threatening for future generations in terms of batting techniques.” T20 cricket has been Mahmood’s speciality, having played a key role in Surrey’s county win in England when the shortest format was introduced in 2003.  He is one of only 13 players to have featured in more than 200 T20 matches at all levels, with 213.

Mahmood said T20 complimented the five-day game. “When one-day cricket started (in 1971) people used to say that it will hurt Tests, but it didn’t and now Twenty20 is an innovation and it compliments Tests,” said Mahmood. “Look at the number of Tests ending in draws before Twenty20 came into being and now, Tests are bearing more results than before, so Twenty20 is helping.”