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Shakib Al Hasan on the future of Test Cricket

Al Hasan in action for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL
Al Hasan in action for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL

Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan discussed the future of Test cricket and the comparison between financial benefits in T20 tournaments to other forms of the game, whilst attending the MCC World Cricket Committee meeting in Sydney earlier this month.

His answers to the questions posed to him by the committee can be seen below. 

Does the financial lure of domestic T20 tournaments, in comparison to international cricket, cause tension with your international commitments?

There are instances of such tension between players and boards all over the world. My board at times has been supportive, but still there has been occasional uncomfortable moments too. It’s hard to deny the financial reality of T20 leagues but at the same time, I’m fully aware of my responsibility as an international cricketer and have never put the T20 leagues ahead of my international commitments. It’s the same for most international cricketers that I know.

Is Test cricket your priority?

Test cricket is one of my top priorities and I intend to carry on playing Test cricket as long as I can. If you ask me, Bangladesh still doesn’t have enough quality Test players, so I feel it is very important I continue to play as long my form and fitness permits. As a child, my dream was playing in whites for my country and that dream has an impact on how I look at different formats. But I’m afraid the younger cricketers might not necessarily have the same view and it’s no surprise some of them prefer the shorter formats.

Does your board incentivise you to play international cricket?

Well, the biggest incentive is being able to represent the country, but if you compare it in terms of financial incentives then it’s far from ideal. There is a huge difference between what’s on offer in the T20 leagues and board’s incentives. True, you can’t compare the two, but a balance is needed.

What do you think the future of Test and bilateral cricket looks like?

I’m very optimistic about the survival of Test cricket, as well as bilateral cricket. The audiences will make their choices and go with the format that enables players and teams to demonstrate skill, endurance and character, which only Test cricket does. But this also means that Test cricket needs to be played at the right intensity to match the demand of modern cricket followers.

What do you think the current players view is on day/night and four-day Test cricket?

It is difficult for me to make comment as I have not experienced it, but the prospect of day/night Tests sounds exciting. As far the game is concerned, the major challenges may be the effect of a change of conditions between day and night, and dew factors, amongst others. The other big challenge would be to bring the first-class game into the same structure. I think we need more time and some experience to make an assertive comment on this.

How could ICC help the poorer Test nations?

By building infrastructure, especially training facilities, providing technical support and by arranging international exposure for their ‘A’ sides and emerging players.

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