Former South African captain Shaun Pollock batted for Test cricket in the midst of fears that the Twenty20 or the India Premier League (IPL) will change the face of the game.
The 34-year-old told the media after the Mumbai team’s first full-fledged practice at the Bandra-Kurla Complex here on Tuesday: “I don’t know if this is going to change the future of cricket. The IPL is an exciting concept and with India doing well in the World T20, it has taken off well in India. There are local sides with international players in them. But tradition needs to be preserved. I don’t think the IPL will change the future but definitely the international calendar will change to accommodate the IPL.”
The Mumbai team, led by Sachin Tendulkar, sweated it out on Tuesday. Tendulkar, who is fighting to be fit in time for the first game against Bangalore at the Wankhede stadium on April 20, gave hints about opening with Sri Lankan veteran Sanath Jayasuriya. Jayasuriya, later, said that both he and Tendulkar would play their natural game if they went out to open.
Except for Harbhajan Singh and Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga, the Mumbai team was in full strength at the practice. Delhi left-arm swing bowler Ashish Nehra, who returned to competitive cricket in Visakhapatnam two weeks ago in the all-India one-dayers after an ankle surgery, showed no discomfort at all.
Pollock, bought for $550,000, said true supporters of the game would still follow Test cricket.
“It has been there for many many years,” he said. “It is the true test of a player. For batsmen, it is the test of playing short bowling and swing bowling and for a bowler, you have to get the best of batsmen out. It is a true test of cricket though it need not be the most exciting form of cricket or the kind of cricket that the public wants to watch. T20 is exciting to watch, it brings in people who are not true supporters of cricket. Guys who understand the game, its technique
and the intricacies of cricket will come and watch Test cricket.”
The former South African captain, however, said that T20 will provide openings for older players to play the shorter version. “You have to bowl only four overs.”
Pollock, retired from international cricket two months ago, believed that the IPL will see high-scoring matches by virtue of being held in the sub-continent.
“Twenty20 is not for the bowlers. I have not played too many T20s in the sub-continent. But in South Africa, there is something for the bowlers as there is early movement. Here, I am sure, it is going to be a high scoring game. Batsmen will express themselves and show their ability with the bat.”