Gambhir bats for taking Test cricket to smaller towns

New Delhi, Sep 16 (IANS) Seasoned opener Gautam Gambhir reckons that the best way to pull crowds to Test matches is to promote the longest format in smaller towns where it is not being played much today.

The southpaw, who doesn’t seem to be a big fan of the pink ball, said that just by changing the colour of the ball or playing at night, one cannot expect the stadia to be full houses.

At a time when a lot of international cricketers and experts are discussing the viability of using the pink ball for day-night Test matches, Gambhir feels that any experimentation should be carried out only in the limited overs formats.

“One should play Test cricket in smaller towns, where people do not get to see much of it,” the 34-year-old told IANS.

“If you are bringing the pink ball just to pull in the crowds it’s not good. Yes, if games are not result-oriented or boring then you can change the colour of the ball or play under lights, but just to pull in the crowds, then I don’t think its right.

“At the same time we can keep at least one format the way it is. You can experiment in ODIs and T20s but not in Tests. We can promote Test cricket in the right way. You can see the audience in Australia, South Africa, England — it’s huge and I don’t think the colour of the ball will affect them much,” he added.

Gambhir, who last played for India in a Test two years ago, scored four back-to-back half-centuries while leading the eventual Duleep Trophy winners — India Blue (with the pink ball being played) — but his performance was once again overlooked by the national selectors for the upcoming three-match home series against New Zealand.

Disappointed at the axe, the Delhi batter left it on the five wise men in the selection panel and asserted that he will continue to fight for his place in the team.

“My job is to score runs and get the team a win, that’s it. It’s the selectors’ job to pick players. You play to win, not for your selection,” he said.

“The thing which I have posted on Twitter was that I will keep fighting till the end. My aim was to let people know that obviously I am disappointed but at the same time I won’t give up and will keep fighting.”

The Indian squad for New Zealand Test series was picked on Monday — the third day of the Duleep Trophy final.

Finding himself out of the reckoning yet again, Gambhir on Tuesday took to Twitter to vent his anger.

“I’m disappointed but not defeated; I’m cornered but not a coward. Grit my partner, courage my pride…for, I must fight, I must fight,” he wrote.

Asked about the mini Indian Premier League (IPL), which the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to host overseas every September, Gambhir said: “It’s a good thing to promote cricket in the US or in Dubai. There are only 10 Test-playing nations, so if you promote the game overseas it is good.”

(Gaurav Sharma can be contacted at gaurav.sharma@ians.in)

–IANS

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