West Indies batting great Chris Gayle on Thursday (May 5) expresses his concern about the future of Test cricket, urging the International Cricket Council (ICC) to provide support to the lower-ranked nations so that they can play the longest format of the game consistently.
Gayle, who represented his country in 103 Tests, pointed out that the big three nations – India, England and Australia – get to play more Tests against each other leaving behind lower-ranked sides.
“Test cricket is in a bit of trouble. I’m worried more for the lower ranked teams. They are not getting the full support. The game is such a business now and you have the lower ranked teams getting one or two Test matches," said Gayle on TalkSport radio.
“It’s always about England, India and Australia. Those are the big teams who play four or five Test matches against each other, we don’t get that chance with the lower ranked teams. It’s a struggle for us. We are always going to be down at the bottom and that’s not good for the sport. It’s going to be a big challenge and the ICC need to look into that. That’s very key."
Widely regarded as one of the greatest T20 cricketers, Gayle said he hadn’t thought the shortest format would gain popularity in such a quick time.
“At first, I was looking at the easy way out. Shorter format, you can finish quicker. I wasn’t really looking in the future. What is happening today, I wasn’t really expecting that. Since that game, the Stanford game, the $20million game. That changed everything within the sport of T20."
“That’s why you see so many leagues now. The IPL is the biggest one and pays out more. You can get a future out of this game. T20 cricket is a life changing aspect, it changes a lot of lives. It has for me. I’m really happy where it’s at today."
For Chris Gayle, all-rounder Ben Stokes is an ideal choice to take charge of the England Test team. Stokes was appointed skipper after Joe Root relinquished the Test captaincy following the Ashes debacle and a series loss in West Indies.
“I think it’s the best choice to have a guy like Ben Stokes, he’s been around world class players and is a proper all-rounder. I think he’s the best choice to captain the England side. It was tough for Joe Root to step down, but I’m sure he (Stokes) will get the full support from Root and the rest of the players."
“He’s a guy, based on what he has said, who is more focused on England cricket right now, which is good. He’s looking to accomplish more in the sport, within the international side of things,” Gayle remarked.
(With IANS inputs)