Twenty20 might be a massive hit with the fans but former Australia captain Steve Waugh feels Tests will always remain a cricketer’s first priority and both the versions need each other’s support to survive and flourish.
“It doesn’t have to be one or the other. These guys out here now,they love playing Test cricket. It’s the ultimate test for them mentally,physically,technically. That’s why you train,and that’s why you take up the game. But the other game (Twenty20) is exciting and it’s a money-making arm of the game,commercially it’s successful.
Players have that challenge of modifying and adapting. The main thing is that people love watching it. There’s got to be room for both. They need each other,” Waugh told ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’,on the sidelines of the second Test between Australia and Pakistan at the SCG.
The 44-year-old former batsman had a word of advice for the game’s administrators,who are busy exploring various options to keep alive spectators interest in the five-day format.
“Test cricket has to cater to the crowds. You have to look after the people. The first day here,there was a lot of waiting around. Did we need to wait that long? Do we need to wait half an hour from the toss to the start of the game?”
“You have to get things moving. People want to see action. We have to be aware that you have to give value to the crowds,” explained Waugh,who has recently been inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame.
Waugh believes Twenty20 is a fascinating addition to the game,the popularity of which will only grow with time. “It came after my time but I would have loved to play it. It’s fantastic. Australia is getting a taste of it now,and it’ll get pretty big over the next couple of years,” he said.
Even though five years have gone by since he retired from the game,Waugh said he can still do a decent job if given an opportunity.
“I’ll always love cricket. I really do enjoy playing against my son in the backyard. He gives it to me. Sometimes you think,’Geez,I wonder if I could still handle it out there?’ The reality is that time has moved on. If someone was willing to give me the opportunity to play another Test match,I reckon I’d still do OK,” he said.
“Of course. Why not? I’d have to practice first to get the fitness up. But you always think you still have a bit of ability and wouldn’t mind having a go,” said Waugh.
“It was great to get back on to the SCG,out on to that field,feel the atmosphere again and hear the crowd and remember the amazing support I used to have here. Almost makes me want to get the creams out again,” he added.