Sunday, December 20, 2009

Test cricket won't die, says Bevan

Former Australian one-day cricket star Michael Bevan says Twenty20 will come to dominate the international game - but insists the struggling Test match scene can survive.

Bevan, who played 18 Tests and dominated the one-day game with a batting average of 53.58 from 232 matches, admits that the lucrative Twenty20 game will become the main form of cricket within a decade.

He told BigPond Sports Weekend the success of the multi-million dollar Indian Premier League was proof the shortest form of the game would dominate in years to come, and suggested cricket could follow the trend of the English Premier League in order to thrive financially.

"I think the players are starting to make a choice, or are having that choice put in front of them, where they can choose to play Tests, they can save themselves for the IPL," Bevan said.

"I think Twenty20 cricket is going to become more prevalent.

"I don't see a great prognosis for Test cricket, honestly.

"I think once the Twenty20 game is handed across to the business world and the finances really come into it, I think that will put on a lot of pressure.

"And I think the business model is very similar to what a sort-of English Premier League (model) would be. I think eventually it's going to go that way – they're going to have a lot of satellite Twenty20 competitions, which will own the players, and the players will go back and play Test cricket."

But despite prediciting Tests would be reduced to the sidelines, Bevan said the passion of the players would ensure the five-day game would live on.

"It will survive, they just won't play as much of it," he said. "The players will have a say as to how much they want to play, to a certain degree. But they won't play as much.

"I don't think it will die.

"It's very similar, I think, to the rugby league side of things, where they're just not getting paid enough. They (rugby league players) can go to rugby union, they can go overseas, where they can earn more than what they're doing.

"I think that will happen with Twenty20 cricket, where there will be so much money that the players won't be able to refuse that at some stage."

Bevan also defended one-day cricket, despite calls from the likes of Shane Warne for 50-over matches to be dumped in order to put more focus on Tests.

"A lot of players, and a lot of media, are saying that one-day cricket will make way. But the reality is one-day cricket is still making good money, probably making more money than Test cricket.

"So from a financial point of view it doesn't make sense for the one-day game to make way for Test cricket."

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