Sydney, Jan 4 (UNI) Raging success of Twenty20 will eat into the 50-overs format and the game has to be rejigged to make it viable in the longer run, asserts former India skipper Ravi Shastri.
''I think Twenty20 will eat into 50-50, no doubt about that,'' Shastri said.
''It is just a question of striking the right balance.
''You might not have 50-50, you might have 40-40. It gets the game over a little quicker,'' Shastri said.
The cricketer turned commentator said Test cricket's future appears assured, the same cannot be said about the 50-over game which has looked tired in recent years.
Last year's World Cup held in West Indies lacked sparkle and interest, while the inaugural Twenty20 championship in South Africa was a runaway success.
Shastri, who is playing a key role in organising the Indian Premier league (IPL) that has signed about a dozen of Australia's top players, said the bite-sized format is no passing fad.
''No question about it, we have to go with the times,'' Shastri was quoted as saying by the Herald Sun.
''We have to keep the popularity of the game going, get new people interested in the game.
''Having said that, for all the people who play the game, Test cricket will be the real stuff.'' IPL has so far offered some of world's best players a staggering amount of money to take part in the 44-day tournament that begins on April 18.
Australia's leading players have signed letters of intent, but have yet to commit to full playing contracts, which could reap about 500,000 dollars by the time the eight franchises finish their bidding.
The Aussie's had been expected to miss the next two years of competition because of international commitments, but that could change if the proposed tour of Pakistan is scrapped.
Shastri said he expected the likes of Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds to play -- however briefly - if the Pakistan series was axed.
''If they don't go (to Pakistan), there is no reason why they shouldn't be playing,'' he said.
The 45-year-old Shastri said the IPL, which is officially sanctioned by the International Cricket Council (ICC), posed no threat to international cricket.
''It is just 44 days of cricket. How is that going to ruin the game?'' the former all-rounder said.
''It's in the months of April and May. Barring a couple of countries, there is no cricket happening in the rest of the world, so what's the problem?'' Shastri said the competition would enliven India's domestic structure.
''Currently, under the BCCI, only 15 players can travel the World and play for their country,'' Shastri said.
''Here the opportunities will be plenty for the franchises and (financially) it will be very good, and not just for the players but other people wanting to get involved with the game as well.
''It opens a lot of avenues for physios, coaches, managers.'' UNI XC TB YA SSC1305