Kirsten questions T20 use

2011-06-15 14:00
Gary Kirsten (Gallo)

Singapore - Twenty20 cricket should be played less at international level to stop it diluting Test and one-day matches and more in domestic leagues to increase attendances, World Cup winning coach Gary Kirsten has said.

Kirsten, who stepped down as India coach to take charge of his native South Africa after leading the south Asians to 50-over World Cup success in April, was full of praise for the shortest form of the game but questioned it's use.

"I have always had a view that it is a great domestic product," Kirsten said in Singapore on Wednesday.

"Maybe you can look at the platform soccer works off, where they play mainly domestic soccer through the year and then they have a major tournament at a country level, maybe that's what Twenty20 can do.

"I think international cricket does really well with Test cricket and the 50-over format of the game and I feel Twenty20 cricket will dilute those products a little bit.

"I think it (Twenty20) is a great product, there are going to be teething problems as we go along as it's a new product to world viewership and world sporting entertainment, but it's done remarkably well over a short period of time."

Twenty20 cricket has been a big hit since its conception in 2003 in England but attempting to find space for it in an already crowded international calendar has proved difficult and extended tours to fit in matches have proved unpopular.

Kirsten, speaking on the sidelines of the Nomura Asia Equity Forum, believes something has to give.

"The future tours programme doesn't allow for that much Twenty20 cricket, they are trying to fit them in schedules and trying to find a space for them here or there," the former Test opening batsman said.

He said the International Cricket Council's only alternative would be to play more Twenty20 cricket at the expense of the 50-over game.

"You can't extend tours longer than six weeks and that has been an almost unwritten thing now that they want to keep tours as short as possible," he said.

The multi-billion dollar Indian Premier League (IPL) is the most successful domestic Twenty20 tournament.

Beginning in 2008 and featuring an auction for the world's best players to come and play for one of now 10 franchises, Kirsten believes it's success demonstrates his point that Twenty20 is a great domestic product.

"I know Australia are trying that now (creating a domestic Twenty20 league), England are trying that, South Africa have their own Twenty20 thing and there is great interest in it and it brings crowds to the game in the domestic format that other forms of the game don't.

"There is very little support for domestic four-day cricket and domestic 50-over cricket, so I think its great for the local game," said Kirsten.

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