Ranatunga urges players to realise sanctity of Tests

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New Delhi, Jul 16 (UNI) In a bid to preserve Test cricket, former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga has urged players across the world to focus more on the longer version of the game so as to thwart the threat posed by the popularity of the Twenty20 cricket.

''I strongly believe that you need Twenty20 to get more money, but ultimately you have to realise that Test cricket is the major thing,'' the legendary Sri Lankan captainsaid here today.

Ranatunga, who led his country to its only World Cup title in 1996, said the Twenty20 cricket can fetch money because of its nature but Tests will always remain the pinnacle.

''It's very important to preserve Test cricket. When it comes to Twenty20, it's more like a business as far as I am concerned,'' Ranatunga added.

Ranatunga, who is also the chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), appealed only a few days after his country's cricketers asked for next year's hastily-arranged Test tour of England to be rescheduled as the dates clashed with the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The tour that was accomodated after England suspended its bilateral cricket relations with Zimbabwe, includes two Tests, three one-dayers and four warm-up games and will go on from April 21 to May 30.

The inaugural edition of the IPL had at least 13 top Sri Lankans, including captain Mahela Jayawardene and star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and the second season is due to be played between April 10 and May 25 next year.

The tour was formalised between the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Sri Lanka Cricket chief on the sidelines of the International Cricket Council meetings in Dubai earlier this month.

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