While the smaller nations are not playing enough Test cricket, India, Australia and England are effectively driving the longest format (Pic: AFP)
Star Australia batter Steve Smith on Monday expressed his concern over the future of red-ball cricket ahead of the high-profile World Test Championship (WTC) final against India beginning on Wednesday. Cricket, as we know, is undergoing the most significant revolution in its long and storied history. The rapid growth of franchise cricket around the world has put pressure on the international schedule.
While the smaller nations are not playing enough Test cricket, India, Australia and England are effectively driving the longest format. It was, though, ironical that Smith spoke about the uncertain future ahead of the biggest game in Test cricket, i.e. the WTC final.
"Yes, I am slightly concerned. But, hopefully Test Cricket still stays alive and well. I think it's in a good place at the moment. Some of the games we've seen recently have been pretty amazing. So, for me as, I suppose, a traditionalist, someone that loves Test cricket, I hope it still remains at the front of all the Board's mind and stays alive and well for some time to come," said Smith ahead of the title clash against India.
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Talking about the WTC final, Smith said he expects the Indian attack to pose a stiff challenge irrespective of the combination they go with.
"I think they've got a good mix obviously of quality seam bowlers. Shami and Siraj, probably their two main guys who have really good skills and I think the Dukes ball suits them nicely. And then obviously their spinners as well, who bowl really well in all conditions. So, I think they're a good attack and yeah, we're going to have to play well against them this week," he said.
Smith has been part of the ODI and T20 World Cup-winning Australian teams but unlike those events, the WTC final is a one-off game in a two year cycle.
Asked if he feels the same as he did while playing the big finals in the shorter formats, he said: "I haven't thought too much about it in that aspect. It's obviously been a good couple of years of Test cricket and to play in a final of the World Test Championship is pretty special. But yeah, I don't know, until we sort of go out there and get started, I don't know how it'll feel. But it's been a good build up the last few days. We've had some good days training down in Beckenham and we get to have a hit at the Oval today and tomorrow."
(With PTI inputs)