Champions Trophy, a litmus test for ODIs: Bhogle

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> After Shane Warne's six-point plan to save cricket, Harsha Bhogle offered his views on what should be done to ensure all forms of the game remain popular.

Updated: August 19, 2009 16:23 IST
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With the advent of Twenty20 cricket, many cricket experts have started to fear for the health of the game, especially Test cricket.

Shane Warne came up with a six-point plan to save cricket, Sachin Tendulkar said children should be allowed free entry to watch Test matches, and now veteran cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle offered his views on what should be done to ensure all forms of the game remain popular.

Bhogle said the shortest format of the game should have longer boundaries to keep the battle between bat and ball alive.

"Since T20 is the next big thing, the one thing I would go for is longer boundaries. The quicker the boundaries come in, the shorter it will become and the quicker it will die out because at the heart of cricket is a contest between bat and ball. The day you make one of them irrelevant, it's not cricket any more. So for T20 cricket make the boundaries distant," said the author of the book 'Out of the box'.

Though Bhogle sounded concerned for the future of one-day cricket, he said the next month's Champions Trophy will be like a litmus test for the ODIs.

"We need to find a way out for limited-over cricket but I won't write its obituary just yet. The Champions Trophy will be the laboratory for limited-over cricket. I will wait for the Champions Trophy to get over to pass any judgement.

Bhogle also said the franchise cricket was the future as it provides more opportunities.

"Franchise based cricket will become as important. I know it might seem blasphemy to say that. It's franchise cricket that drives you because it allows more people to play the sport," he added

Like Warne, Bhogle too said sporting pitches should be made to keep the interest alive in Test cricket.

"I think you don't need to worry about Test cricket at all as long as you produce sporting pitches because the history of the game will tell you that good pitches produces good cricket and bad pitches produce bad cricket," Bhogle said.

Bhogle also revealed his concern for the Indian cricket and young cricketers, who are prone to losing their focus after they get fame and wealth.

"My 5th plan for cricket is particularly true for India, which is to somehow find a way to ensure that for young Indian cricketers' the opponent's bat and ball becomes their greatest opponent rather than their fame and wealth."

"I fear we are treading towards an area where fame and wealth are becoming a greater opponent than a cricket bat and ball and that's something that worries me enormously. We have extraordinary talent but for far too many young players the enemy lies within," Bhogle signed off.

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