Former Australia cricketer Dean Jones has claimed the Boxing Day Test match at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on December 26 should be promoted as the premier sporting event of the year by Cricket Australia (CA) and International Cricket Council (ICC).
"We have a great opportunity to make the Boxing Day Test Australia's biggest sporting event. It could be ranked among the world's best yearly sporting events if we get our thinking caps on," Jones wrote in his column for the Sydney Morning Herald.
"Every Test cricketer worth his salt hopes he can one day play in an MCG Boxing Day Test. It is the place where Test cricket started and it is the only Test in the world where the public will come in huge numbers to watch for the whole five days," he added.
"Cricket Australia and the ICC should market and promote the December 26 encounter as the biggest Test of the year. What I mean is that if any country wants to play in the Test, it has to earn its stripes to be there. In other words, countries need to qualify to be invited to play there," he said.
Jones added: "I do not have to sell you on the MCG as a sporting venue. It is simply the best in the world. But the Boxing Day Test as a sporting event has elevated itself to a new level."
"The Boxing Day Test is a bucket-list event that all sporting and cricket fans must attend before they die. It needs some sexy marketing and I believe promoting the Melbourne Test as the "place to be" is what Test cricket may need," he further wrote.
"Today, not many countries want to play Test cricket. But if the ICC and Cricket Australia put up, say, 25 million dollar prize money for the winner, that might encourage countries to play more Test cricket throughout the year.," he added.
"With the MCG's magnificent history of 105 Test matches, every cricketer dreams of playing there and making a hundred or getting a bag of wickets," he concluded. (ANI)