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India, Sri Lanka stars plead for more Tests

Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara on Sunday joined Indian great Sachin Tendulkar in calling for more Test cricket, saying the lop-sided schedule needed to be changed.

cricket Updated: Nov 15, 2009 11:27 IST

Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara on Sunday joined Indian great Sachin Tendulkar in calling for more Test cricket, saying the lop-sided schedule needed to be changed.

"It's really a shame that we are being deprived of Test cricket," Sangakkara told AFP ahead of the three-Test series against India that opens at the Motera stadium on Monday.

"The young guys in our side are desperate to perform at the highest level, and that means Test cricket. They are just not getting enough of it."

The International Cricket Council is working on a Future Tours Programme (FTP) for international matches post 2012, juggling to fit in Test matches amid an explosion of one-day and Twenty20 cricket.

Sri Lanka have just one Test series scheduled next year -- against the West Indies at home in November -- forcing world bowling record holder Muttiah Muralitharan to abandon his dream of claiming 1,000 Test wickets.

Muralitharan, 37, who has claimed 783 Test wickets, has already said he will retire from the five-day game after the West Indies series, with no hope of reaching the 1,000-wicket mark.

"At one time, I could have gone for it, but for that to happen we needed to play more Tests and that is just not happening," the off-spinner said.

Sangakkara said there was no point in talking of a proposed world Test championship till each of the nine Test nations -- Zimbabwe are currently playing only one-day matches -- got to play more Tests.

"Ideally, there should be eight to 10 Tests a year for every team, that needs to be worked out first," the Sri Lankan captain said.

Sangakkara's grouse followed a similar appeal from Tendulkar, the world's leading batsman in both Test and one-day cricket, who begins a third decade in international cricket on Monday.

"We should play more Test cricket for sure. It is obviously not great news that we are only playing five Tests this (2009-2010) season," Tendulkar said at a media event in Mumbai on Friday.

"A team will grow by playing more Tests because that is what real cricket is. And since it is played over five days, at the end of each day it allows you to regroup, re-think, come up with fresh ideas and plan for the next day.

"Sometimes in Twenty20 and one-dayers, even before you realise, the match is over," said Tendulkar, who last played a Test series in March-April against New Zealand.

Since then, it has only been one-day and T20 cricket for Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men, culminating in a one-day series against Australia that ended in a 4-2 defeat last week.