The public might be enchanted with the Twenty20 format but swashbuckling Indian opener Virender Sehwag prefers to play Tests and ODIs more than the shortest form of the game that has taken the cricket world by storm.
“Personally I would like to play more Tests and ODIs than T20 games, which I know have become extremely popular. I would like to play at least eight to 10 Tests in a year,” Sehwag said at the media conference here to announce the list of nominees for this year’s LG-ICC annual awards.
Sehwag batted for all three formats even as some past cricketers, including spin legend Shane Warne, have written the epitaph of the 50-over game. The England and Wales Cricket Board already scrapped the ODIs from its domestic schedule.
“The T20 game is big and in future may be everything but I would like to play more Tests and ODIs. The message I would like to give to the ICC is to introduce a World Championship of Tests.
“Every cricketer would like to play Tests against every other country and perform well. Test cricket is the true test (of a cricketers’ calibre),” he said.
Sehwag, one of the nominees for the ODI Player of the Year award, welcomed the idea of the ICC awards, which he felt give the cricketers an added incentive to do well and described them as the “Oscars of cricket”.
“I am hopeful this year also I can win an award. It’s an added incentive to every cricketer to be recognised for his performances and be a part of the World XI like I was last year,” Sehwag said.
The flashy batsman, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, expressed the hope he would be fit for the Champions League T20 where he would represent Delhi Daredevils.
“I’m hoping to be fit for the Champions League,” said Sehwag who is to miss the short tour to Sri Lanka for the tri-series as well as the ICC Champions Trophy.
Sehwag also said he was not against the ICC’s WADA-compliant drug-testing programme but was only apprehensive about the “whereabouts” clause of the Anti-Doping Code.
“We don’t want to disclose our programme (in advance), but we are ready to be tested anywhere and any time,” he said.
The International Cricket Council CEO Haroon Lorgat, said the issue over the controversial clause would be sorted out amicably with the Cricket Board.
“We are in touch with the BCCI and all other cricketers and I’m confident we will find a practical solution. All of us want a clean and drug-free sport,” Lorgat said.
Some top Indian cricketers, including captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar, have raised objections to the specific clause that makes it mandatory for them to inform their daily programme three months in advance to the drug-testing authorities.
Lorgat also backed the 50-over game and said it would remain the format at the international level even though England and Wales Board has scrapped it and changed it to a 40-over-a-side game for its domestic cricket.
“ECB has done it as it suits their domestic schedule.
But at the international level the 50-over format will continue. I’m happy that Virender Sehwag today (who backed Tests and ODIs) and Michael Clarke have supported the 50-over games. But we are open to changes if it works for the betterment of the game,” he said.
The ICC CEO pointed out that the Champions Trophy, in South Africa later this month, was the last major 50-over tournament before the 2011 World Cup in the sub-continent and said the event has been revamped to make it very interesting.
Lorgat also said at present there was no move to reduce Tests from five days to four days though this idea has been floated by ICC President David Morgan to make Tests more attractive to the spectators.
“Morgan must have been putting a thought on the table,” he explained.
Lorgat disagreed that the Indian Board was acting like a bully because of its financial clout.
“I don’t think so. Some of their ideas are accepted and some rejected by the other members of the ICC Board,” he said.
He said that the West Indies Cricket Board should be asked the question why its president Juliant Hunte had accused BCCI of trying to stop the World Championship for Test cricket.
“Initially both India and England had opposed the world championship,” he added.
Former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri, welcomed the end of Australia’s domination of world cricket and said England’s Ashes win was good for the game. “We don’t want one team to dominate,” he said.