KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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Kumar Sangakkara has revealed why he jumped at the chance to join MCC's World Cricket committee (WCC).
Sangakkara officially joins the WCC following its upcoming meeting in Cape Town and also hopes to attend discussions following the conclusion of the third Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Newlands.
The 34-year-old becomes the second current international to sit on the committee, alongside India's Rahul Dravid.
Speaking to Lords.org, Sangakkara explained why accepting the offer from WCC Chairman Mike Brearley had been a simple decision.
“When Mike spoke to me and told me how involved the WCC would be in cricket’s future and how they would like me to be involved, it was an instant ‘yes’ on my part," he said.
"I think the WCC is a great initiative and there are some great people on the committee that can positively influence the very life and spirit of cricket going forward."
The WCC was established in 2006 as an independent lobby group and is committed to the game of cricket worldwide.
And Sangakkara is convinced the committee has a key role to play on the world stage.
He said: “I think they can influence many parts of the game, from suggesting changes in the rules of play; ensuring the spirit of cricket stays very strong; ensuring that corruption is addressed quickly at all levels, from players to administrators to officials in every country.
"Also the way spectators respond to cricket and how cricket responds to spectator interest is important, because cricket cannot exist without spectators.
“Cricket needs to continuously refine its image and appeal to spectators. Especially the appeal to children who should be encouraged to pick up the game.
"Players should also keep playing the game in the most entertaining fashion that they can.
“The WCC should safe guard the primacy of Test cricket, but also ensure that one day cricket and T20 cricket have there own places and there is a balance between cricketing formats.
“The WCC should work to ensure that the game itself is nurtured and enhanced.”
Day/night Test cricket
The WCC has also worked hard to promote day-night, first-class cricket using a pink ball in an effort to encourage new ways of marketing Test cricket to spectators.
Dravid has been a key supporter of the format and his thoughts on its progress will be assessed by the committee in Cape Town.
Sangakarra agrees that more avenues should be explored to ensure the preservation of the longest form of the game: “I think Test cricket without doubt is the ultimate format to play, especially for players.
“Having said that players need to advertise that fact by the way they speak, the way they carry themselves on the field, and the way they play the game of Test cricket to ensure that spectators are still there.
“But at the same time I understand that day/night Test cricket could be an option, but we need to see more of how it will work and whether it will appeal more to spectators than the traditional day games.
“There are many ways in which we can approach the game of Test cricket and to safe guard its financial viability going forward, especially for cricket boards in the current economic circumstances of the world, he added.
“Day/night Test cricket is one, but we must also ensure that we look at other things around Test cricket.
“Different ideas have been in the mix for a long time, but maybe now it’s time to try them out and see.”
World Test Championship
The WCC has also lobbied for increased context for the Test game, with the introduction of a form of World Test Championship among the suggestions.
The ICC had scheduled the Championship for 2013, but this has now been put back until 2017 at the earliest.
Sangakkara said:“I can understand the financial considerations that might have come into play, but as a player it is disappointing that it’s been postponed for so long.
“It would have been great to have been battling it out for a place in the top four. And then play against the best sides in the world and test yourself.
“To win that Championship would have been an amazing feeling, knowing that in the traditional, most ultimate format of the game you are the best in the world."