ICC Needs to Find Balance Between Test Cricket and T20s, Says Shane Warne

Published October 14th, 2020 - 12:30 GMT
Shane Warne with Shyam Bhatia at the latter's cricket museum in Dubai. (Supplied photo)
Shane Warne with Shyam Bhatia at the latter's cricket museum in Dubai. (Supplied photo)

It's not often that Shane Warne, whose bewitching turn and flight bamboozled the best of the batsmen in his heyday, gets stumped. But Shyam Bhatia's iconic cricket museum in Dubai did just that to the world's greatest leg-spinner on an unforgettable Monday evening.

Over the years, Bhatia's museum that nestles elegantly in the backyard of his Jumeirah residence has left some of the most revered cricketers lost for words.

And on Monday, it was Warne's turn to join a list of visitors that includes names like Viv Richards, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Clive Lloyd, Steve Waugh, Anil Kumble, Hashim Amla, Graeme Smith, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Daniel Vettori.

"I have never seen a cricket museum like Shyam has put together here. The history of the sport, everything, from World Cups to Test cricket, every single country, bats, pictures, caps, books, some of the books are more than hundred years old. I have never seen anything like it," Warne, who is now the Rajasthan Royals brand ambassador and mentor, said during his visit to the museum.

"I am very proud to visit this place. Congratulations, Shyam, on what you have managed to create here. You have preserved the history of the wonderful game of cricket. Well done, it shows your passion."

Shane Warne with Shyam Bhatia and Ranjit Barthakur, Chairman of Rajasthan Royals

The iconic cricketer then appealed to the International Cricket Council (ICC) to find a balance between Test cricket and T20s.

"I love Test cricket. There is nothing like the drama in a Test match. You know the IPL is the best T20 competition in the world, and we love it," Warne said when asked if the traditional format of the game would survive the onslaught from T20 cricket.

"I can describe it (Test cricket) like this. We all love the Sunday roast, right? The three course meal, you have a conversation, it takes a while. To me that's a Test match. You can't have it every day. But then you drive through the McDonald's and have a big burger, that's your T20," he smiled.

"If you get your balance right, it will help each other. I think T20 has helped Test cricket become more exciting. Test cricket has given the players the foundation to play T20 cricket.

"You need both. If we have too much of one, then I think we are in trouble. So too much T20 cricket or too much Test cricket will not be good. So if we get the balance right, both can survive."

The ICC, according to Warne, can turn to Netflix to make Test cricket popular.

"The ICC needs to get a hold of all the superstars that play the game now, all the legends of the game and do a huge thing on Netflix, a three-four part drama to tell why Test cricket is so good," he quipped.

Shane Warne celebrates Rajasthan Royals' 2008 IPL triumph with his teammates

Arguably the greatest captain Australia never had, Warne led the unfancied Rajasthan Royals to an unforgettable victory in the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League, inspiring a bunch of unsung heroes with his leadership qualities and his magical leg-spin.

And the man who won two 50-over World Cup titles with Australia then revealed what bowlers in the T20 era needed to do to outfox the batsmen.

"The hardest thing for the young players today is, when we were taught bowling, we were taught to bowl the same ball over and over again, on the same spot. Now in T20 cricket, you can't bowl the same ball twice. You have to ball six different balls in one over. So, it's a lot harder for guys to have that consistency," he said.

"But what I would like to say is that the bowlers still need to outthink the batsman because there are no computers out there in the ground. You have to think on your feet, you have to adapt, you have to be flexible, you need to have the awareness of what's going on, the scoreboard, the pitch, the batsman you are bowling to.

"I think too many young players rely on other people, rely on coaches to tell them what to do, they rely on computers to tell them 'this is how this player gets out'.

"I think that's good to have that knowledge, but you still need to use your brain. So any tips from me for young players, will be to watch the batsmen and try to work out his weakness yourself because out in the middle you need to be able to work out how to bowl to someone rather than running off the ground, asking the coach what to do. So I think you have to think yourself!"

Warne's great rivals: West Indies legend Brian Lara (top) and Indian icon Sachin Tendulkar

Warne then opened up on his legendary battles in his 15-year Test career that brought 708 wickets.

"The two hardest batsmen that I bowled to in my era would be Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar," he said.

"Lara and Tendulkar were just outstanding against pace and spin. There have been other great batsmen, but Lara and Tendulkar were legends."

But none of them is the greatest batsman Warne has seen.

"In the 30 years that I have been around, I played for 23 years, I am watching the game now, and I watched cricket since I was 7, the World Series Cricket (1977-1979), and I am still involved now, which is like 43 years, so all these years, I have been watching the game, playing the game, commentating on the game, I am now the mentor at the Royals, so I think the best batsman I have ever seen was Viv Richards," he declared.

Warne then revealed the name of the player who is pushing the legendary West Indian.

"Now in white-ball cricket the player that has come close to Viv Richards is Virat Kohli, I haven't seen a better white-ball batsman than Viv Richards, but Virat Kohli quite possibly will take that mantle!"

By Rituraj Borkakoty

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