Test cricket deserves to be protected: Dravid

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 14, 2011 12:40 hrs

Canberra, Dec 14 (IANS) Former India captain Rahul Dravid feels Test cricket should be preserved and said day-night Test matches should be seriously considered by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to bring fans back to the oldest form of the game.

Dravid, while delivering the annual Bradman Oration at the Australian War Memorial here Wednesday night, said it was important to find the best way Test cricket fits in the 21st century.

'What we have to do is find a way to ensure that Test matches fit into 21st century life, through timing, environments and the venues they are held in,' said Dravid, who was the first foreign cricketer to deliver the Bradman Oration.

Dravid said it was not possible for all the three versions of the game to be played in equal amounts, but none should be allowed to die out.

'Cricket must find a middle path. It must scale down this mad merry-go-round that teams and players find themselves in: heading off for two-Test tours and seven-match ODI series with a few Twenty20s thrown in,' he said.

Dravid described Test cricket must be preserved since it is the form most players want to play.

'Test cricket deserves to be protected, it is what the world's best know they will be judged by,' he said. 'Where I come from, nation versus nation is what got people interested in cricket in the first place. When I hear the news that a country is playing without some of its best players, I always wonder, what do their fans think?

'People may not be able to turn up to watch Test cricket but everyone follows the scores. We may not fill 65,000 capacity stadiums for Test matches, but we must actively fight to get as many as we can in, to create a Test match environment that the players and the fans feed off. Anything but the sight of Tests played on empty grounds.

'For that, we have got to play Test cricket that people can watch. I don't think day-night Tests or a Test championship should be dismissed. In March of last year I played a day-night first-class game in Abu Dhabi for the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) - and my experience from that was that day-night Tests is an idea seriously worth exploring. There may be some challenges in places where there is dew but the visibility and durability of the pink cricket ball was not an issue,' he said.

Dravid also said that the proposed Test championship, which has been postponed by the ICC, would encourage every team and player. The ICC had plans to host the inaugural ICC Test championship in 2013 but postponed it until 2017.

'A Test championship, with every team and player driving themselves to be winners of a sought after title, seems like it would have a context to every game. Keeping Tests alive may mean different innovations in different countries - maybe taking it to smaller cities, playing it in grounds with smaller capacities like New Zealand has thought of doing, maybe reviving some old venues in the West Indies, like the old Recreation Ground in Antigua,' he said.

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