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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Modi for Test cricket under lights

Is Test cricket boring? The verdict might differ from person to person but a discussion on the matter was very lively when some top cricketing brains of the country converged here on Tuesday.

If only the International Cricket Council was listening to what the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Lalit Modi, Harsha Bhogle and Rajdeep Sardesai had to say on the matter, it would have got a few clues as to how to save the oldest form of the game from the onslaught of the newest form - Twenty20.

Joining the panel discussion on Cricket in Changing Times on the occasion of Bhogle's book (Out of the Box - Watching the game we love) launch, Tendulkar said there was a need to instill passion among youngsters. "When I was 10, I had gone to see West Indies play India. I think the BCCI should do something to develop the passion in youngsters. They can tell schools to get their best students in academics or sports and watch the Test matches which will be an incentive for them and also instill some passion in them. I am sure every youngster is eager to wear an Indian cap," the Little Master said.

IPL chairman Lalit Modi, typically,came out with a formula that will attract more eyeballs. "Test cricket has to be marketed well. Today people have many options but little time. You can do that by making Test cricket a day-night affair. We also have to get a Test match schedule right in place."

Manjrekar felt Test and ODI formats have to be made action packed just as T20 cricket. "There is a sporting excellence needed in every form of the game. T20 provides you cricketing excellence. I think one-day cricket need to be tweaked a bit. Test cricket is different and exciting. A spectator expects it to be more action packed," observed Manjrekar.

Noted journalist Sardesai said cricketers want an IPL cap. "People don't want an Indian cap. They want to play in IPL."

Billiards legend Michael Fereira came up with the issue of other sports not getting their due. Modi said it was because other events have to be marketed well. "We need to get the results at the top and it should be taken to the consumers that's how they will get sponsors and TRPs. Media should also give good coverage to other sports too," Modi said.

Bhogle felt T20 has opened up new cricketing skills but Test cricket will continue to exist irrespective of T20's soaring popularity. His book was a compilation of his columns in a national daily.

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