Test cricket is fortunate to have a player like Virat Kohli: Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar heaped praise on India skipper Virat Kohli, stating that the longest format of the game was fortunate to have him around at an hour when one is searching for the right ingredients to keep it popular.Updated: Oct 01, 2018 22:38 IST
“Today’s Test cricket is played in front of empty stands and IPL in front of a frenzied 50,000+ and millions watching on television. And guess what! It pays better too!”
Speaking at the ninth Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture here at the Cricket Club of India on Monday, former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar slammed the trend of cricketers opting to play the shorter formats of the game as against the traditional five-day Tests, stating: “Nowadays, it’s like playing the IPL at all cost and player injuries surface only before and after the IPL. IPL offers you fame as well as money. Now who will say no to this? So it’s a no wonder that many are choosing T20 leagues over Test matches. More and more players are training themselves to be good white ball players.”
He also advocated for more day-night Test matches, a criterion the Indian board hasn’t been too keen of. While a day-night Test between India and Australia was expected to take place later this year, a CA spokesperson was quoted as saying back in May: “We can confirm that we have received advice from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that it is not prepared to participate in a proposed Day-Night Test in Adelaide this summer.”
This, Manjrekar felt didn’t fit in the right spirits to promote the game. “Why aren’t we playing more day-night Test matches when it’s a no brainer that it would attract more viewership? An offer was recently rejected by India. Because the players are wary of it, wary of the pink ball, the dew factor etc. I always believed that conditions are never unfair if it’s the same for both sides,” Manjrekar said, before chipping in with a local analogy. “Who will know this better than Mumbai cricketers sitting here who played in the Kanga league where along with the ball one had to sometimes handle the muck that came flying with it.”
As the audience broke into laughter, Manjrekar was quick to turn the attention on the administrative problem. “So what’s basically happening is we want to give perfect playing conditions for the players to play in, even if it means no one is watching the game. There were times when India players were at the mercy of the BCCI and the relationship between players and the board was uneasy for a long time. Thank God all that is in the past, but we must be careful to not go to the other extreme and try and keep players happy come what may,” he added.
Manjrekar, a veteran of 37 Tests, heaped praise on India skipper Virat Kohli, stating that the longest format of the game was fortunate to have him around at an hour when one is searching for the right ingredients to keep it popular. “Test cricket is so fortunate that today’s cricket’s biggest brand Virat Kohli loves Test cricket and puts his heart and soul into it. To my eyes, he’s most driven when he’s playing Test match cricket,” he said.