Don't ignore Tests, Ranatunga tells players

Published: Wednesday, July 16, 2008, 13:00 [IST]
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Colombo: Sri Lanka's legendary former captain Arjuna Ranatunga on Wednesday urged players to preserve Test cricket in the face of the challenge posed by the lucrative Twenty20 format.

Ranatunga, who led his country to their only World Cup title in 1996, also said the players needed to focus more on Tests.

"I am a great believer you need Twenty20 to get more money, but ultimately you have to realise that Test cricket is the major thing," said Ranatunga, who is also the chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket.

"It's very important to preserve Test cricket. When it comes to Twenty20, it's more like a business as far as I am concerned."

His comments came a few days after his country's cricketers asked for next year's hastily-arranged Test tour of England to be rescheduled as the dates clashed with the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The tour, arranged earlier this month after England suspended bilateral cricket relations with Zimbabwe, includes two Tests, three one-dayers and four warm-up games and runs from April 21 to May 30.

The IPL, which features at least 13 top Sri Lankans, including captain Mahela Jayawardene and star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, is due to be played between April 10 and May 25.

The tour was formalised between the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Sri Lanka Cricket chief on the sidelines of the International Cricket Council meetings in Dubai earlier this month.

Sri Lankan officials said they are negotiating with their England counterparts on the fate of the tour.

Sri Lanka are hosting India for a three-Test series from next week.


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