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T20 is hamburger cricket... Can’t bear to watch it: Imran

Calcutta: Imran Khan, among the most inspirational of cricketers of all time, is no fan of the T20 format, which is eating into the space traditionally occupied by Test cricket and ODIs.

“I can’t bear to watch it... For me, T20 is hamburger cricket... Dished out quickly and tasteless,” Imran, a World Cup-winning captain, told The Telegraph on Saturday.

After being in the city on a two-day “private visit,” Imran left for home, via New Delhi, a short while later. Incidentally, he’d made a land crossing, at Wagah, on Friday.

Imran, who is back as a member of the National Assembly and whose party (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) is in power in one of the provinces, added: “The administrators need to get the balance right...

“If the balance isn’t right, then where will you find match-winning bowlers like Mitchell Johnson? The less said about the bowling in T20s the better...

“You could watch T20 occasionally, but the connoisseurs will find it difficult to sit through a match... Of course, there’s improvisation while hitting and good fielding, but you’ll miss match-winning bowlers.”

Nowadays, Imran “rarely” watches cricket, but did see bits and pieces of the recent Ashes action.

“My sons (Sulaiman Isa and Qasim) were with me in Islamabad and I did watch some of the Ashes with them. Johnson showed the difference that a strike bowler could make...

“In fact, Johnson’s bowling reminded me of the days of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis... But how many such bowlers do you have now? T20 isn’t helping...

“Johnson was just terrific, helping force one of the most dramatic turnarounds in international cricket... Less than five months after being thrashed (0-3) in England, Australia made it 5-0, at home... Thanks largely to one man,” Imran lauded.

Adjudged the Man of the Series, Johnson finished with 37 wickets, 15 more than the second-most successful Ryan Harris.

Asked if Sulaiman Isa and Qasim, who stay with mother Jemima, in England, were upset with the performance of Alastair Cook and Co., Imran replied: “Actually, they enjoy good cricket and Australia played very well.”

Sulaiman Isa is 17, while Qasim is 14.