Shane Warne has called for a golf-style revolution in Test cricket in order to secure the future of the red-ball game.
The former Australian leg-spinner said Test cricket needed to adopt what the PGA Tour in the US did with the FedEx Cup, which sees the best golfers compete annually in a play-off for a prize of USD$10million (£7.6million).
Warne said the International Cricket Council (ICC) should offer a pot of USD$20million (£15.18million) in order to energise the five-day game and called for better marketing of Test cricket.
“I would love to see the ICC say for the team over a cycle where you play everyone home and away, there is a prize of USD$20million and they can give it to charity, grassroots cricket or whatever,” Warne said.
“I also think we have got to hope that the best players in the world take responsibility and say they want to test themselves against the best, to be the best, and the best arena to do that is Test cricket.
'It was the happiest time of my life, we're still friends now' says cricketer Shane Warne commenting on his relationship with model, Liz Hurley. pic.twitter.com/S8vZlGkcrg— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) October 9, 2018
“The best team will always win over five days and the drama unfolds. You see some amazing draws where people hang on right until the end. Those are some of the most exciting games we have seen where the team hangs for a draw.”
Warne said they marketing of cricket focused too much on the Twenty20 competitions, such as the T20 Blast, the Big Bash or the IPL.
“It’s always the Twenty20 cricket that gets the big dollars thrown at them,” he said.
“So I would like to see people get re-educated about Test cricket and why it is so great and get the best players talking about it, do documentaries about Test cricket.
“The other side of the coin is are we ramming it down people’s throats that don’t want it?
“I hope it is not the case, I hope players take responsibility and say, ‘I want to play Test cricket’ and we will see Test cricket live on forever.
“When we think of the best players that we’ve ever seen, we always talk about what they did in the Test match arena and not what they did in Twenty20.”
Warne, who was speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival to promote his autobiography No Spin, also said he thought Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were treated “too harshly” in the fallout from the sandpaper ball tampering scandal.
“I think all of us in the cricket community were appalled by the behaviour of the Australian cricket team. It was embarrassing to see,” Warne said.
“I can’t believe it would get to that stage. I was really disappointed with the Australian team’s win at all costs attitude.”
Warne said that the uncompromising, aggressive attitude of the current Australian team had annoyed the other Test sides and the cricket authorities had wanted to “nail” them.
“I think the sandpaper… when the opposition captain at the same time had been done twice and never missed a match… it was a bit weird,” Warne said.
“I am not condoning it in any shape or form. I don’t believe that a 12-month ban, sacked as captain and vice-captain was appropriate. That was too harsh.
“If you work it out to a monetary amount it was about 10million Australian dollars (£5.42million) for Steve Smith and David Warner. That’s a significant amount of money.
“Steve Smith as a captain is not an idiot and he’s just made a huge error in judgement.”
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