India's 'Wall', Asian greats hail T20 era's exciting Test batting

By: AFP      Published: 06:46 PM, 11 Jun, 2020
India's 'Wall', Asian greats hail T20 era's exciting Test batting

Asian cricket greats including Rahul Dravid believe modern Test batting has become a thrilling spectacle thanks to Twenty20 smash-and-wallop fests such as the Indian Premier League.

"I actually believe Test batsmanship is a lot more exciting, lot more positive now than ever," batting legend Dravid said in video chat with fellow Indian Sanjay Manjrekar on ESPNcricinfo.

"People are playing more shots even in Test cricket which is great," he said.

The 47-year-old Dravid was renowned as one of the most technically correct batsman of his era, averaging 52.31 in 164 Tests from 1996 to 2012 and was nicknamed the "The Wall" because of his robust defence.

"Of course I wouldn't have survived today if I batted the way I did in my days," Dravid, who had a strike rate of 42.51 in Tests and 71.23 in ODIs, said.

"Look at the strike rates today. One of the great things for India is that Virat Kohli values Test cricket so much. Players like Virat have shown how one can excel in all three formats.

"Obviously I can't compare myself to Kohli or Rohit Sharma because they have blown the ODI paradigm to an all new level."

'T20 is like instant noodles' 

Sri Lanka's World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga credits limited-overs cricket for adding aggression to Test batting.

"Let's say 10 or more years ago, batsmen in Test matches waited for the perfect loose ball to hit, but today when they see a half-good delivery they go for a shot," the 56-year-old Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to win the 50-over World Cup in 1996, told AFP

Ranatunga, who averaged over 35 in both Test and ODIs between 1982 and 2000, said he will always find five-day cricket more satisfying.

"Test cricket is like a meal made by mother, prepared with a lot of love, care and patience -- wholesome food. T20 is like instant noodles," he said.

Former Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar said Twenty20-style batting and flat wickets have contributed to a glut of runs in the longer format. 

"In the past team were satisfied with (scoring) 150 to 200 runs per day, now teams want at least 300. This is why we were seeing more results in Tests," Bashar told AFP.

"Another reason is flat wickets, rarely do we see green-top wickets. The biggest reason is of course more limited-over matches."