T20 only business, ICC must balance calendar: Ranatunga warns

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Chennai, July 17 (UNI) Criticising the T20 format as business and exhorting players to give priority to playing for the country although, earning money was important, a, Sri Lanka Cricket Board chairman Arjuna Ranatunga today appealed to ICC to evolve a proper mix in the international calendar of Tests, ODIs and other domestic competitions in each Test playing country.

''I want cricket to be more a game rather and merely a business.

Unfortunately, it has become business now'', Lanka's former World Cup winning captain said, answering questions at a function to inaugurate a special tourism package between India and Sri Lanka to take cricket lovers to Sri Lanka for the upcoming Test and ODI series between the two nations in the island nation.

Arjuna, who complained that Sri Lanka was not getting to play enough Test matches said balancing the itineraries was the great challenge before the ICC.

However, the Lankan Cricket Board is planning to invest whatever it would get albeit only a small percentage, for Test cricket.

''We played just five Tests in the last sesason. In my view, 12 to 15 Test matches should be played in a year. But with many dometic tournaments and the T20 matches like IPL intervening, I think the ICC has a great challenge before it'', he said.

Answering in the affirmative when asked if the T20 format was diluting Test cricket with the players preferring to play more in IPL with an eye on the huge money on offer, Ranatunga said ''playing for the country comes first.'' ''Playing in IPL does not give money to the Board. IPL is only a league tournament. I am not a great fan of T20'', he said sarcastically.

Asked about the controversy over Lankan players preferring IPL over the England tour next year, Ranatunga said ''we are discussing the issue with the players. I am confident that the issue would be sorted out in the coming weeks.'' He said it was upto ICC to think and work out how many Tests, ODIs we can play in a year.

''A player normally lasts ten to eight seasons playing for the country. Now with so much cricket being played he may not last that long'', he also warned.

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