England coach Andy Flower has urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to do all in its power to preserve Test matches as the sport’s premier contests.
Flower is concerned leading international players may follow the example of Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga,who gave up playing five-day Tests to concentrate on his one-day career including the lucrative Indian Premier League,a Twenty20 competition.
“There’s a great danger. The rewards out there for playing less cricket are obvious,” Flower told The Independent.
“The ICC have to address that as a serious problem looming in the future. They have to act very responsibly and make decisions on what’s good for the game in the future. I’m not sure that’s the case at the moment.”
Former Zimbabwe star Flower is also worried that while one-day international series are often as long as seven matches,some Test campaigns such as the one currently ongoing between leading nations South Africa and Australia are restricted to just two fixtures.
“The intent behind creating the fixture list has to be addressed,” Flower added.
“We want to find out who the best side in the world is and we want to have them competing in exciting conditions and exciting series but at the moment the intent is a financial one and that’s why the fixture list is comprised (as it is).”
England’s next series is against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates early next year.
It will be the first time the teams have met since former Pakistan captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were jailed by an English court for their roles in a ‘spot-fixing’ betting scam during the Lord’s Test between the two nations in August last year.
However,Flower did his best to play down any lingering tensions by saying: “I envisage us playing a good series,played hard but played in the right spirit,and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t be the case.
“There’s been a very public trial and a very serious trial for these young men and it’s a sad story.
“None of us are perfect and we’ve all made mistakes of varying degrees over the years. We should not sit too high on our pedestals.”