Speaking at the ninth Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture at the historic Cricket Club of India on Monday (October 1), former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar raised the alarming issue of various cricket boards and even players preferring the shortest forms of the game over the tough realms of the Test match cricket. Manjrekar expressed how important then it is that the best and the most popular player in the world, Virat Kohli, continues to behold this 141-years-old format close to his heart.
“Test cricket is so fortunate that today’s cricket’s biggest brand Virat Kohli loves Test cricket and puts his heart and soul into it. To my eyes, he’s most driven when he’s playing Test match cricket,” said Sanjay and added, "Nowadays, it’s like playing the IPL at all cost and player injuries surface only before and after the IPL. IPL offers you fame as well as money. Now, who will say no to this? So it’s a no wonder that many are choosing T20 leagues over Test matches. More and more players are training themselves to be good white ball players."
"Today’s Test cricket is played in front of empty stands and IPL in front of a frenzied 50,000+ and millions watching on television. And guess what! It pays better too!"
This is when the veteran, who played 37 Tests for the country, also suggested a major change in approach and acceptance towards the Day-Night Test Cricket, so that more people can watch the format at the grounds and on television and other digital platforms after the daily working hours.
Manjrekar said, “Why aren’t we playing more day-night Test matches when it’s a no-brainer that it would attract more viewership? An offer was recently rejected by India. Because the players are wary of it, wary of the pink ball, the dew factor etc. I always believed that conditions are never unfair if it’s the same for both sides,” before giving an example from his own experience of playing local club cricket in Mumbai, “Who will know this better than Mumbai cricketers sitting here who played in the Kanga league where along with the ball one had to sometimes handle the muck that came flying with it.”