Australian Adam Gilchrist is circumspect about the future of the Indian Premier League (IPL), but believes the Twenty20 format is the only way through which cricket can take roots in other countries.
"Twenty20 is a vital product for the growth of the game in countries less familiar with cricket. China has a great market and they are trying to learn the game. The new version of the game draws people. It will make them sit and watch the game," Gilchrist said.
He said cricket is still played in a handful of countries and it was important that other nations start playing the game.
"Unless we open the doors of cricket to the new audience, it will not grow. The inaugural T20 world cup was a success and it brought new audience to the game," noted Gilchrist.
The wicket-keeper batsman, who just retired from international cricket, believes the future of IPL can be known in a few years but noted that the concept was "unique".
"It is a unique and interesting concept. Lot of people will have slight uneasiness with it at the beginning. But let's give it some time and let's not be pessimistic about it. We will have to see where it goes in a few years and then only the picture will be clear," Gilchrist said here Saturday.
Gilchrist said players will represent different clubs in IPL but their allegiance to their countries will remain.
"I was brought up in News South Wales (NSW) but I played domestic cricket from Western Australia. I had to move because there was no place in NSW team and it gave me a chance to get into the Australian team. You have to make these decisions sometimes but the allegiance with the national team will remain."
He feels that the Twenty20 extravaganza will provide more opportunities to youngsters, but pay cheques will only come with performance.
"It (IPL) will throw more opportunities to the youngsters. I believe money will come as long as a player in performing. You are not going to rake them just like that."