MUMBAI – West Indies bating great Sir Viv Richards says he had once feared that Test cricket would die a slow death due to low turnout of fans but the advent of the Twenty20 format has instilled a fresh lease of life into the game.
“At one point, I felt that Test cricket was dying a death all around the world and especially in India. India was one of the front-runners where attendance at Test matches was the most you could find in the world. And that started to go down at a real pace,” Richards, who is working with the Delhi Daredevils franchise in the IPL said.
“Ever since T20 cricket, it may be a shorter version of the game, but the name doesn’t spell differently, it is still cricket. It has given cricket such a new lease of life. There are folks who like Test matches and there are folks, the new clientele, who obviously like T20 cricket, which I think is a great advantage for the game with the kind of followers,” the legendary Antiguan said in Mumbai.
The most destructive batsman of his era, Richards said Test cricket would always remain the “universe” to him and to understand the game and its beauty, the younger generation should go through the rigours of the longer format.
“All the administrators and governing bodies now realise that there should be a common understanding for an avenue for which they need the greatest format of the game if you need to understand the game itself, which is Test match cricket. You can’t change that. Test match cricket is the universe in my opinion.
“The youngsters should understand the game at its fullest in terms of Test matches. When they are successful at that, then there is an avenue also where everyone can represent at IPL, the Big Bashes around the world and I guess you would have a magnificent combination,” said the 61-year-old.
Richards said he loved Indian vice-captain Virat Kohli’s aggression on the field and what many people perceive as arrogance was actually his confidence.
“I have always felt what you see as arrogance, I see it as confidence. Virat Kohli has an aggression that regardless of whoever I am going to face, I will have the time over there. It is important to stamp your presence as early as possible, if you want a start,” he said. (windiescricket)††