New Delhi, May 16 (UNI) With a view to assert Test cricket's hold on the growing popularity of Twenty20 cricket, Indian coach Gary Kirsten has suggested that a league needs to be put in place for the five-day games with an annual champion so that people can remain glued to it.
''I believe the time is right to create a world league system for Test cricket. The game needs to have a world champion every year,'' Kirsten said on his website garykirsten.com.
''I believe that Test cricket is the backbone, or the foundation, of this great game. Without it, the game would lose its soul,'' he said.
He outlined a format that would help the ICC to make Test cricket ''more interesting and involving'' for the fans.
''The idea of an annual Test championship comprising one-off Test matches between the nine or 10 Test-playing nations, I believe would create global interest.
''Four home games one year, five the next. It would mean every Test playing nation would play nine or 10 tests per year which would count towards the championship,'' he said.
The former South African opener added that such a kind of championship would not bring an end to important series like India-Pakistan or the Ashes series.
''Iconic series like the Ashes or India against Pakistan could still be included in the programme, as playing up to 14 or 15 Test matches in the year would still fit into the world cricket schedule,'' he added.
He was also in favour of a bonus points system being introduced in Test cricket like the ODIs to make the longer version ''more meaningful''.
The left-handed opener further claimed that though the Twenty20 format has proved to be exciting not only the fans but also for corporate world, Test cricket will continue be the mother of all forms.
''The game has produced a shortened format that has satisfied the stake holders of this sports entertainment era. It has produced a new type of cricketer armed with a variety of exciting skills.
''It is filling the stadiums and generating an interest never seen before. IPL has introduced a powerful new franchise club system driven by big business,'' Kirsten pointed out.
He said the time has come that Test cricket goes through a few innovations and holding on to the past the five-day game would be at risk of remaining perfectly intact while also being perfectly irrelevant.
''The successful innovations in the IPL and 20 over version of the game give indications as to where Test cricket needs to go,'' he added.
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