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‘Day-night Tests a possibility’

cricket Updated: Apr 09, 2009 00:26 IST
Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Wherever cricket is being played in the world, the best players are regrouping to head to South Africa. The IPL was conceived as a domestic Twenty20 event, but clearly has become much larger. Just how will it impact world cricket? International Cricket Council president, David Morgan, has a few answers:

Has the popularity of T20 put Test and one-day cricket under pressure?

I don't think so. We're extremely fortunate to have the three forms. There will be some changes in the regulations in 50-over and Test cricket. There is a huge desire to play Test cricket in a day-night format. I see that coming quite quickly.

Is that something you would welcome?

If you had asked me a year ago about day-night Test cricket, I would have been lukewarm about it. But I've spoken with some interesting people with a good background in the game and business, and I am convinced that day-night Test cricket in certain territories at certain times of the year would be a good thing.

Do you look at it as another way of attracting crowds to Test cricket?

Test cricket in some countries is extremely well attended. For example, the Ashes in England and Wales this summer is sold out. Admittedly, the grounds in UK are not as large as they are in India and in some parts of Australia. But there is a desire amongst the members to work out a system that will reinvigorate and popularise Test cricket.

We are certain from our consultations with cricketers that it is Test cricket that promising players aspire to play because it is at that level that they prove their full skills.

There are some challenges ahead, different issues in Zimbabwe, Pakistan, the T20 leagues in India.

I don't think cricket is terribly troubled by these differences. When the ICC decided to have the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007, not all countries wanted to participate. They didn't think they'd be ready for it.

So, we made the first mandatory participation event 2009 in the UK. But as the South African event drew nearer, all parties decided they wanted to participate. It was good the ICC did that because it established ownership of the T20 game internationally.

Security is a big challenge and the ICC is learning from its mistakes and extrapolating from its strengths rather than from its weaknesses. We learnt a great lesson in moving the Champions Trophy from last year to this. Last year, we didn't allow ourselves enough time; we took the decision too late.

This time, we positioned it in September-October and we've taken the decision in plenty of time that it can't be in Pakistan and that it can't be in the back-up location (Sri Lanka) because the change of date hits the wrong climactic conditions.

There have been mixed reactions to the growing pull of T20

I think many people are afraid of it. John Carr, the cricket operations director at the ECB, developed T20 in its present form. What we wanted was a short-form game identical to other forms of cricket, but a much quicker event. It's brought massive interest and it's brought a new audience. That new audience will, to some extent, graduate to the longer forms as well.

There is a feeling that the Champions Trophy has been diluted, especially with the advent of T20.

We need to be careful about that premise. If the Champions Trophy is diluted, then the World Cup is diluted, and thereon, 50-over cricket is diluted. I don't believe that to be the case. The Champions Trophy has suffered from a poor image. When it is played this year in a single-city environment over a short period of time, with only the top eight teams, you will see a top-class event.

Is this an admission that things could have been done differently in the past as regards the CT?

Yes, it is an admission. We've re-branded it. And that is an admission that things were not as right as they might have been.

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