Five is too small a number: Zaheer Khan on Virat Kohli’s suggestion of dedicated Test centres

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Zaheer Khan has vouched for dedicated Test centres, but insisted that five is too small a number for a large country like India.

Former Indian left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan has endorsed Virat Kohli ‘s idea of having “strong” Test centres across the country to bring in more fans to the stadium. However, Zaheer feels that five, as mooted by Kohli, is too small a number considering the size of India and that’s why more such venues can be considered to host a Test match.

“(Strong Test centres) It makes things easier. In theory, it sounds good. But, maybe on the whole, the number can be debated. I feel five is just too small a number with regard to the size of the country,” Zaheer said, on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi T10 league.

“I am also in line with that thought process where you have dedicated Test centres are the criterions are met keeping in mind what is best for Test centres,” he added.

Test cricket is still popular in India but it somehow doesn’t manifest in the number of people that actually turn up to watch the game at the stadiums. The series against South Africa which India won 3-0 didn’t see a great footfall from the fans, forcing Kohli to root for strong five Test centres across the country.

However, Zaheer feels Test format remains to be the pinnacle of cricket and will not be impacted by the advent and growing popularity for the shorter versions of the game.

“As I have said earlier also, I don’t think so Test cricket is facing any kind of problem by the advent of the shorter formats of the game. Test cricket is the highest and the purest form of cricket and it’s been going on since ages. Every cricketer wants to enjoy cricket and Test matches are the highest level where players have a lot to prove,” said the 41-year-old.

“I think going in the future, you will see a lot of tri-series and quadrilateral series in the ODI and T20 formats which should be the way forward to keep the game more interesting for the fans,” he added.

“Day-night Test is a method of trying to make the red-ball cricket more interesting,” Zaheer, a veteran of 92 Tests, said when asked about the pink-ball Test between India and Bangladesh set to be played at the Eden Gardens from November 22.

The former left-arm pacer also said that he has high hopes from current BCCI President Sourav Ganguly to take Indian cricket forward.

“We all have a lot of hopes from Sourav Ganguly. He did a great job when he was leading the Indian team. Since then, he has not lost contact with cricket and has been passionately working for the growth of the game. He did a great job with CAB.

“Now, he is the president of the BCCI and I am sure he will do a great job in taking the Indian cricket forward,” he added.

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