Ravichandran Ashwin has recently shared opposing views to Ravi Shastri’s suggestion of limiting Test cricket to the top six nations will hamper the first-class structure. He further cited the example of West Indies saying the first-class in the country is almost gone due to emphasis on T20 cricket.
There has been a continuous debate regarding the rising significance of T20 cricket and the decline in the popularity of Test cricket for a long time. Various former cricketers and experts have shared their views on the issue. Ravi Shastri recently stated that to ensure Test cricket remains competitive, only five-six teams should play against each other. Now, veteran Indian spinner has shared contradictory views saying playing Test cricket is the only way to strengthen the first-class structure.
“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 on his official YouTube channel.
India are currently on a tour to West Indies for a five-match T20I series and Ashwin is included in the squad. West Indies has been considered a quality side in T20 but hasn’t been very successful in the longer formats. Ashwin cited the example of West Indies saying the first-class cricket in country is almost gone courtesy of focus on T20 cricket over the red-ball cricket.
“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,” he explained.