With spectator interest in Test cricket on the decline, Harbhajan Singh has spoken up for the longer form of the game, saying he would like to see more Test cricket being played.
“As a cricketer, I want more Test cricket and would love to see more Tests being played,” said the off-spinner. He expressed hope that the buzz around five-day cricket be increased to attract fans, citing the instance of the high interest in the recently concluded Ashes series in England. “The crowd coming each day to watch the Ashes series was similar to attendances for Twenty20. It is all about how you present it,” he said.
“I would like to play 12-15 Test matches a year, though we end up playing more ODIs and T20,” he said, on the occasion of the launch of Neo Sports channel’s cricket telecast plans. “The schedule is fine with me. I am young so can take on the load. My job is to go out there and play.”
On England’s triumph over Australia in the Ashes, Harbhajan said: “It is good to see other sides getting better and giving Australia trouble. For a long, long time Australia had been the top Test team.”
He also spoke about his own learning experience as a cricketer. “Like every human being, I’ve made mistakes and have paid a huge price, not only money-wise but also in losing out on big matches,” he said, recalling his suspension from IPL-1.
In the upcoming 12-team Corporate Trophy, Harbhajan will turn out for Air India Blue, with the likes of M.S. Dhoni and V.V.S. Laxman for team-mates. “With M.S. Dhoni and Mohd Kaif on the team, we have a good side and I hope to do well,” he said.
Neo Cricket’s telecast schedule: The Sahara BCCI Corporate Trophy and the Irani Trophy (Sept.), the India-Australia ODI series (Oct.-Nov.), the Challenger Trophy (Oct.), the Ranji Trophy League (Oct.-Dec.), the India-Sri Lanka (Nov.-Dec.), the India-Sri Lanka-Bangladesh tri-series (Jan. 2010) and the India-South Africa (Feb.-Mar. 2010).