While recognising Twenty20 cricket's entertainment value and financial power, cricket legend Sir Garfield Sobers doesn't want to see the 'better game' die
Sir Garfield Sobers, the greatest living cricketer, is humble enough to admit that he may have not been a successful Twenty20 cricketer.
West Indies legend Sir Garfield Sobers. Pic/Getty Images
While answering a question as to whether he would have indulged in Twenty20 cricket had he been playing now, Sobers, said: "I didn't play a lot of one-day cricket. I might not have been good at 20-20, who knows? It's a different type of cricket."
Sobers figured in only a solitary one-day international towards the end of his career. He got out for a duck (caught Bob Taylor b Chris Old vs England at Leeds in 1973) before Old became his lone ODI victim.
Fear for Test cricket
And while the 78-year-old legend fears for the future of Test cricket in an age where the shortest form of the game is hip, there was an extra layer of stress in his words, "Test cricket should live forever."
Sobers is ambassador for the Limacol Caribbean Premier League. While speaking to a select group of journalists on Monday in the build-up to the CPL, Sobers said that while T20 cricket provides much entertainment and has enhanced the earnings of players, Test cricket must not die.
Do you fear for Test cricket in this T20 age, mid-day asked the great all-rounder, who played 93 Tests. "I definitely believe that Test cricket will suffer. Players are retiring from Test cricket to play 20-20 and you can't blame them from a certain point of view," he said.
"There is less cricket in 20-20. The bowlers just have to bowl four overs a game. They can play 20 games and bowl just 80 overs while you play three Tests and bowl 100-plus overs.
"I think the players are looking at it and thinking they've played Test cricket, they are getting older, they only have a couple of years left so why not play 20-20? Years ago, players did not have anywhere else to go. Things have changed. If there was no 20-20, a lot of players would have continued playing Test cricket."
If faced with a Twenty20 or Tests choice, Sobers said he would have opted for the latter. "If I had to choose between the two, I would probably pick Test cricket because I think the finance in both areas is quite good," he said.
Despite being the CPL's ambassador, Sobers put things in perspective for the third edition of the June 20 to July 26 event. "I don't think it has made a big impact as yet. It has only just started.
But it has helped to excite more people. A lot of people who didn't go to the cricket are going to watch 20-20. They may go to Test cricket too and that will help improve revenue for West Indies cricket.
Twenty20 cricket is going to bring in people because it is entertainment and it's already shown around the world that where 20-20 is played, the gates are pretty good," he said.