Former West Indies batting great Brian Lara has said that the introduction of T20 leagues around the world has basically put an end to the monopoly that cricket boards earlier enjoyed over their players.
Lara, who scored 11,953 runs at an average of 52.88 across 131 Tests and is regarded as one of the greatest ever to have played the game, is very much aware of the contemporary issues hurting the International game.
He spoke about one of them in an interview given to Khaleej Times and said, "T20 moves into not just playing international matches but franchise cricket with IPL, Big Bash, CPL and quite a few leagues around the world, which is great. It takes that monopoly that cricket board have on players," he added, "Players are now associating themselves with franchise owners, which is good. Before it was kind of tough for the players in terms of playing regular cricket. If you were playing international cricket, it was tough for you to play anywhere else. So I believe this has spread game of cricket to all corners of the world, which is great as well,"
However, Lara is confident that the popularity T20 is by no means going to put an end to the game's traditional format - Test Cricket - in the years to come.
He said, "Test cricket is always something that is very strong in some countries and not so strong in others. If I was to speak for West Indies alone, I remember going to Test match in 1979 and you couldn't even get inside the park. Up to about five years ago I was handing a cap to a debutant player and there was nobody in the stadium," he gave an example from his own early experience and added, "In some places, the desire from the public to come out is lost. They no longer feel that is something they want to see. So having T20 is great. I don't see any problem with it. Five days of cricket has always been tough."
In conclusion, Lara reiterated that Test Cricket will "never die" and added, "Australia versus England for the Ashes, Pakistan versus India is going to always create excitement. South Africa and West Indies love Test cricket. But something should be done if you want people to come."