New Delhi: Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar urged cricket administrators to allow young fans free entry for Test matches to put a brake on the dwindling interest in the longer version of the game.
"My suggestion is that a couple of stands in the stadium should be thrown open, absolutely free, to the school and college students on Saturday and Sunday," the Indian batsman told an Indian newspaper Friday.
"It is very important for them to get a feel of Test cricket. Their first memories of Test cricket will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
"Gradually, they will begin to appreciate the nuances of Test cricket," he added.
"We have to focus on the next generation that has been exposed to one-day and Twenty20 cricket."
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has been concerned over dwindling crowds for Test matches, particularly after poor turnouts during Australia's series in India last year.
Indian cricket officials bussed in school children in Mohali to boost attendance during the second Test against Australia.
ICC president David Morgan hailed South Africa's 2-1 upset series win in Australia this week, urging everyone involved in the game to sustain the buzz around Test cricket.
"The whole Australia-South Africa series and a host of other matches around the world over the past few weeks and months are ample illustrations of the continuing value and relevance of Test cricket in the modern era," Morgan said in a statement.
"For sustained drama, no format of any other sport can match it. The players clearly want and enjoy Test cricket.
"It is the yardstick by which they measure themselves against past and current players and the records will be there in years to come."