Graeme Smith wants no more of T20 internationals
To safeguard ODIs and Tests, shortest version should be domestic affairs only, says ex-SA skipper
With a surge in the number of Twenty20 leagues enveloping cricket, there's a growing concern about the other, longer formats — ODIs and Tests. And former South Africa skipper Graeme Smith, who became the youngest skipper of the Proteas at just 22, feels that in order to preserve Tests, T20s should be only be played at the domestic level.
"The ICC needs to look at six months of T20 cricket domestically and six months international cricket. I don't think T20 cricket should be played at the international level. My opinion is to keep T20s as a domestic-based competition and include only Tests and ODI cricket at the international level. Then maybe, have the ODI World Cup every two years," Smith said on the sidelines of the CEAT Cricket Awards on Monday.
Chennai's players celebrate after winning the T20-11 title at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday
'Pitches are key for Tests'
Since taking up the reins in 2003, Smith led the Proteas to the zenith of their power, with 52 wins from 108 Tests as skipper. Asked to suggest some changes to prevent the longer format from extinction, Smith added: "Pitches are key. I don't think we can have flat, boring draws anymore. Pitches need to be providing exciting cricket that people need to watch. There needs to be investment into that. Maybe spend more money marketing Test cricket. So much money is spent marketing the T20 format, may be there can put money into marketing the stories and histories of Test cricket."
Adelaide Strikers' Peter Siddle holds the Big Bash League trophy in February. Pics/PTI, Getty Images
Smith suggested Team India skipper Virat Kohli's attitude towards Test cricket as a huge positive. Kohli had decided to skip the June 14-18 home Test against Afghanistan and instead travel to the United Kingdom to play county cricket for Surrey in order to prepare for India's crucial Test series against England coming up later this year. An injury however, has hampered his plan. "What's great for the game is someone like Virat Kohli who wants to do well in Test cricket and be successful and sets a standard for everyone. As long as people like him see Test cricket as valuable, it's important for the rest of the world," he said.
Finally, Smith touched about the controversial topic of possibly doing away with the toss in Tests to reduce the home team's advantage. "It would be sad to see home grown advantage go. "When you tour England, you've got to deal with the swinging ball, their press, crowds, you come to India, you know it's going to spin and be hot. That's what makes the game unique — winning in all these places.
Home advantage necessary
"Home advantage happens everywhere. Look at football. Liverpool like a fast pitch. Other teams like it slow. The problem now is that teams are touring badly. Some of the greatest memories of my career are when I drew two series in India [2008 and 2010], won twice in Australia [2009 and 2012], won twice in England [2008 and 2012] and won in Pakistan . "Memories of winning in those tough situations are hugely rewarding. I'd hate to see that get out of the game."
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