Wednesday, October 14, 2009

'Woo kids and families for Test cricket'

MUMBAI: Test cricket is to return to the Brabourne Stadium for the first time since 1973 when Sri Lanka play India in December.

It was this befitting that the Legends Club meeting discussed the future of Test cricket in the presence of the club president Badal Mittal, and panellists Nari Contractor, Ratnakar Shetty and Ayaz Memon, the discussion being moderated by Milind Rege. The general opinion was that Test cricket would survive but one of the other two formats, 50 overs, might give in to T20.

The following points emerged:

Contractor said sustenance of interest for Test cricket would depend on the individuals. No one would forget the Bradman-Gavaskar deeds. Bapu Nadkarni reeling 29 maiden overs in a row was a sight that was equally enjoyed by people. The future of Test cricket could be varied:four days, two and a half days, day-night, limited-overs.

Shetty said the youth had to be wooed to watch Test cricket. Seats should be reserved for schoolkids, subsidised rates should be there for Tests. The likes of Sehwag had reinvented Test cricket. The trend would continue. He agreed with the view that Indian Test grounds were not as family-friendly as those abroad and the Test centres had taken the playing public for granted where facilities were concerned.

Ayaz Memon said the changing ethos had to be considered where Test cricket is concerned the eco-social aspect also. Watching cricket had to be affordable. It was going in the opposite direction.

The next Legends Club meeting, which is usually on the birth anniversaries of the three Vs--Vijay Merchant, Vijay Hazare and Vinoo Mankad-- will be on December 19, the birth anniversary of Raj Singh Dungarpur, the popular ex-president of CCI who passed away.

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