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We need to be a bit more proactive with Test cricket, says HD Ackerman

Former SA cricketer HD Ackerman tells mid-day that the longest format of the game should be marketed like Twenty20 cricket; says player-related concerns over day-night Tests are valid

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is eager to experiment with day-night Test cricket after Australia successfully organised a twilight Test match involving New Zealand last year.

Former SA batsman HD Ackerman at Payyade Sports Club in Kandivali. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Former SA batsman HD Ackerman at Payyade Sports Club in Kandivali. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

But former South African batsman Hylton Deon Ackerman, voiced concerns over the concept. Ackerman, Cricket South Africa's batting consultant, is in the city with eight SA spinners and six batsmen for a week-long spin bowling course conducted in association with Global Cricket School.

"I love Test cricket the way it is. If they feel it would bring people to the game or it will bring more television viewers because people will be at home and can watch it on TV or it will lead to a rise in television rights revenue, then great.

"But they need to ensure that the players are comfortable and can perform at their optimum with the ball, the conditions, sight-screens and all those type of things. Let's not compromise the game. There's still a lot of uncertainty around certain things and if we can solve these (issues) then it will be great," said Ackerman, who played four Tests for South Africa in 1998.

Maintain balance
The 43-year-old felt a balance should be maintained for the experiment to flourish. "I am not saying there should be a four-match series and three of the Tests must be day-night, but I see value in having three day Tests and one day-night Test.

Ackerman advocated stronger promotion for the five-day format. "T20 cricket is here to stay. To blame it for the demise of the longer format of the game is unfair. Test cricket is great entertainment — we see more runs scored and skill levels have gone up. What people should do is market Test cricket more. We have sat on our laurels because Test cricket is so popular, but when it comes to T20s, we have all the advertisements and Test cricket is ignored," rued Ackerman.

"We need to be a bit more proactive with Test cricket. It's funny. When you ask players which format they like to play, they say Test cricket. So, the players recognise it too, but we don't portray it enough to the public for them to realise it."

Ackerman, who has 55 domestic T20 caps to his name, wants to try his hand at coaching in the Indian Premier League. "I'm eager to coach an IPL team, but I don't want to rush things and make a mess of it. I want to start off as an assistant coach and learn a bit," he said.

No restrictions for SA commentators: HD Ackerman

HD Ackerman, who had a stint in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as a commentator, was reportedly sent back home during the 2013 season for introducing Virat Kohli as the captain-in-waiting. Ackerman was aware about the controversy surrounding Harsha Bhogle, who was not signed up as a commentator in this year's edition.

"I sent Harsha a message to say that I was sorry to learn that he was not a member of the IPL commentary team.

"Such things don't happen to us back home. In South Africa, we are not told to say this or that. We are encouraged to promote the game. If there is something bad, say it, but try and look for the good (side) before going down that road," he said.

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