File photo of Ravichandran Ashwin© BCCI
Former Team India head coach Ravi Shastri had made a comment saying 10-12 teams cannot be playing the longest format of the game, and in order to ensure that Test cricket remains competitive, only the top five-six teams should play against each other. Now, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has reacted to the suggestion, saying the existing system works fine and he explained his thinking behind the thought process.
Ashwin was speaking on his official YouTube channel and it was there where he spoke about the likes of Ireland and how the smaller countries need to be given chances to play the longest format.
"Recently Ravi Bhai has also said that Test cricket should be made as a format that only 3-4 (sic) nations play. But when 3-4 nations play, teams like Ireland won't get won't get the opportunity to play. You can ask me what's the relation between Test cricket and T20 cricket. Only when you play Test cricket, your first-class structure will get better. And only when your first-class structure is good, people will get more opportunities. And players who do well in first-class cricket mould their game according to T20 cricket. That's how cricket has shaped up," Ashwin said.
"You can see that from the top three strong Test-playing nations, you can add it and make it 4-5 as well. India, England, and Australia, the first-class structure of these nations is extremely strong. In fact, a few are suggesting whether India's first-class structure can be improved further because as we speak, Navdeep Saini and Washington Sundar have gone on and done well in county cricket. Likewise, is there an opportunity for foreign players to come and play Ranji Trophy? These questions are also being raised," he said.
Further talking about the same, Ashwin said: " How will you strengthen first-class cricket? For that Test cricket needs to be relevant in your country. If Test cricket is not relevant, they won't play it with full interest. I'm currently in West Indies and here we can see that first-class cricket is almost gone. Because there is no base for first-class cricket. Everything is T20 cricket and leagues, their Test cricket has come down drastically and hence world cricket results are going down. Since the 2016 T20 World Cup, their cricket did not go further. So the foundation of first-class cricket is really important."
Earlier, Shastri had said that if one wants Test cricket to survive, then there cannot be 10-12 teams playing.
"If you want Test cricket to survive you cannot have 10, 12 teams playing. Keep the top six, keep the quality of cricket going and respect quality over quantity. That's the only way you open up a window for other cricket to be played. Expand teams in T20 or one-day cricket if you want to spread the game, but in Test cricket, you will have to reduce the teams, then it does not matter if England does not go to West Indies or if West Indies does not come to England," said Shastri on Sky Sports.
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