Preserve Test cricket from T20 onslaught: Akram
Former and present Asian ace cricketers on Saturday called on cricket administrators to wisely use the Twenty20 format and make every effort to preserve Test cricket.
Speaking at a seminar organised by Pakistan Cricket Board on the topic "Asian cricket: past, present and future", former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram said administrators should realise that Twenty20 cricket was pure entertainment and should be treated as such.
"It's a great way to globalize cricket but care should be taken to avoid over-exposing it at the cost of Test or one-day cricket," Akram stated.
He made it clear that Asia, who has produced some great pioneers like Lala Amarnath and Abdul Hafeez Kardar who laid foundation for the growth of cricket, was now fuelling the growth of cricket and giving it skill, passion and finance.
"That is why Asian cricket in particular has a responsibility to maintain a fine balance between Twenty20 cricket and Test matches."
Declaring that he was not a great fan of Twenty20 cricket, Sri Lanka's World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga said administrators should exercise care in promoting it.
"Asia cannot sit back content with its new status and wealth. It has a responsibility to ensure that the opportunities that are presented to us today are not squandered," said the outgoing president of the Asian Cricket Council.
Sri Lanka star Kumar Sangakkara in a moving speech said the vibe, energy and skills of Twenty20 had enthralled fans and a new audience, who earlier viewed cricket as a boring sport, were becoming die hard fans.
Sangakkara in a moving speech said that the vibe, new energy and new skills of Twenty20 had enthralled fans and a new audience, who earlier viewed cricket as a boring sport, were becoming die hard fans.
"The emergence of T20, particularly the advent of Indian Premier League, another Asian triumph, has transformed the game.
"Players now have an avenue to learn new skills but also to ensure their financial security, of which their predecessors could only dream," said the articulate Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman.
"The IPL has shown cricket can evolve and change with success and be a global spectacle offering true entertainment for spectators of all genders and creating new opportunities to globalize the game beyond its traditional borders, creating new audiences in non-cricket playing nations," he said.
Sangakkara said for too long cricket's growth has been outpaced by the growth of other major sports.
"They have modernized and developed their sport aggressively and we must do the same," said the Sri Lankan star.
He also said administrators need to make sure they don't put national self interest before the global interests of the game.
PCB Chairman Nasim Ashraf said there was no Asian or European bloc in International Cricket Council and all the members were working together for one cause, which is to promote and develop cricket.
He also emphasised upon the need to retain the spirit of cricket despite the emergence of Twenty20 cricket and its razzmatazz.
Ashraf said if the budget allows, the next Asia Cup would be held in an associate member country.