Sachin Tendulkar is not given to hyperbole. So when he shares an idea, it is usually accepted with a token of respect. The batting maestro, who was at the launch of Harsha Bhogle's latest book on cricket-- Out of the Box-- on Tuesday, emphasised the need to take school children to Test cricket to if it is to stay popular.
“I started playing cricket when I was five-years-old. But the first time I watched a Test in a stadium was when I was 10. India was playing the West Indies. It is clearly ingrained in my memory and that is one experience no kid will forget. The more we invite kids to the game, the more the sport grows,” said Sachin who wanted free entry to Tests for children.
The debate featured IPL chairman Lalit Modi, Bhogle, former cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar and TV man Rajdeep Sardesai. Modi, who was bombarded with questions on the possibility of IPL pushing Test cricket to its deathbed, stressed that the mega event is no threat to the game's longest format.
“One of the suggestions I gave to the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) was to make Test cricket a day-night affair to allow people to come and watch it after their duty hours,” said Modi.
“IPL's popular because we have marketed it well. Other sports in India have failed to keep pace with cricket since they have not been marketed well. Cricket over the years was dying due to lack of viewership. This success today is because we have given more importance to the consumer above anything else,” said Modi.