Veteran India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin shared his thoughts on Ravi Shastri’s comments about restricting Test cricket to only the top three-four countries. The former India head coach was sharing suggestions to keep the longest and oldest format of the game relevant. Ashwin, India’s highest wicket-taker in Test cricket among active cricketers, however, did not agree with his former coach. The crafty off-spinner, in fact, had a different take on Test cricket.
“Recently Ravi bhai said Test cricket should be made as a format that only 3-4 nations play. But when 3-4 nations play, teams like Ireland won’t get won’t get the opportunity to play,” Ashwin said on his YouTube channel.
Ashwin, who is currently with the Indian T20I squad playing a five-match series against West Indies, said there is a relationship between Test cricket and T20 cricket and only the countries with strong first-class structure go on to produce top T20 cricketers.
“You can ask me what’s the relationship 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 mold their game according to T20 cricket. That’s how cricket has shaped up,” Ashwin said.
The Indian off-spinner gave the example of India, England and Australia to elaborate his point.
“You can see that from the top three strong Test-playing nations. of course, you can make that four of five… 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 County cricket. Likewise, is there an opportunity for foreign players to come and play Ranji Trophy? These questions are also being raised,” he added.
“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. There are multiple T20 tournaments,” Ashwin said.