Too much of cricket hurting the game, says Kapil

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2002, 19:56 [IST]
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New York: Former Indian Test cricket all-rounder Kapil Dev, one of the sport's all- time legends, said international cricket is being played too much and the quality of play is starting to suffer.

Dev, 43, said on Tuesday that with cricket being played more than 10 months a year, the standard of the game was being hurt. He said that he would like to see 10 Test matches and 20 Limited Over games and that this was "the right combination" to be played by each country every year. Dev, attending a gathering of global sports greats, said the quality of the game was being affected because players were injured as a result of the many games that were now being played. "When the top players are injured and can't play, then the quality of the game is affected," he said. Asked why so many extra games were on the schedule, Dev said, "It appears that the administrators do not want to stop them. Perhaps the reason is money. There has to be a benchmark." Dev, the top all-rounder in India's rich cricket history, scored 5,248 runs, averaging 31.05 when he retired had taken 434 Test wickets at 29.64, which at the time was a world record. A cricket purist at heart, Dev said he is enjoying his retirement from the game. Asked if cricket had settled down following allegations of rigged matches, which had tainted a sport that was always known as a gentleman's game, he said, "I hope so. But I doubt it will be known as the gentleman's game. "The game is changing, the spirit of the game is changing. It is now more competitive and ruthless on the ground. It is not the gentleman's game that it was 30 years ago." Cricket playing countries have gradually played an increased schedule of Test matches and Limited Over contests since the breakaway World Series cricket competition made peace with the established cricket administrators more than 20 years ago. Before, countries usually played a five Test series once a year or in some cases once every two years. But with network television taking a bigger interest in cricket, countries now face a much heavier schedule of international matches. Dev also spoke about the conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, saying there should be peace and past disagreements between the two countries should be forgotten.

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