The overwhelming appeal and pageantry of Twenty20 cricket has borne a detrimental effect on Test Cricket and only someone of Sachin Tendulkar prestige can reverse the declining popularity of the sports "purest form", opines former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga.
Ranatunga showered praise on Sachin for not treating the game as merely a source of income.
"Sachin is an iconic figure. We need cricketers like him to save Test cricket. As long as Sachin is playing, I am sure Test cricket is safe," Rantunga told a leading news agency in Colombo while reacting to the champion batsman 50th Test century.
"He has been playing for more than 20 years now. I think he is a rare cricketer who does not consider cricket as a source of income. This is the secret of his longevity and phenomenal success as well," the cricketer turned politician said.
The skipper of the 1996 World cup winning Lankan team also believes that some of the chief characteristics of Sachin, like his commitment and passion for the cricket, are not being emulated by most cricketers of today.
"Sachin has sacrificed a lot to reach his peak. He has sacrificed playing T20 international cricket which is all about money and glamour.
"Young players, who do not hesitate sacrificing playing for the country for financial gains, should learn quite a few lessons from him," Ranatunga said taking an indirect dig at some senior Sri Lankan players who had refused to tour England to take part in cash-rich Indian Premier League.
Ranatunga feels that it's should solely be Sachin's decision as to how long he intends to continue playing in the international arena as his talent and ability have not diminished one bit.
"Once he retires, the cricket fraternity will need him even more as he will remain the biggest ambassador of the game," Ranatunga concluded.