Ponting fears for Test cricket's future

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/p/ponting.jpg' class='caption'> Australia skipper Ricky Ponting says the future of Tests is at stake under the onslaught of Twenty20 cricket.

Updated: March 13, 2009 12:08 IST
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Australia skipper Ricky Ponting says the future of Tests is at stake under the onslaught of Twenty20 cricket, fearing the huge cash offered by tournaments like the Indian Premier League could draw players away from the traditional five-day format.

"There's a really dangerous thing going on at the moment," Ponting said.

"I gave the Bradman Oration last year and I stated that what I want for the next generation of Australians is to do what I've done: play 150 Tests and represent their country for a long time.

"But something in the back of my head says that their focus could switch from that to being attracted by the glitz and glamour of Twenty20 and the money that might be around," he told 'The Wisden Cricketer' magazine.

Ponting's fears escalated when a survey conducted by the Australian Cricketers' Association among the 25 contracted players revealed that only a minority feels Test cricket as the ultimate achievement.

Almost half the players felt "balancing playing for your country and competing in the new Twenty20 competitions" as the most important issue facing world cricket, while a third thought Test cricket, in its current form, would become obsolete in 20 years' time, the magazine reported.

Ponting also voiced his concern about the hectic international schedule which is ultimately responsible for player burnout and feels authorities should try and work out a solution.

"Administrators just don't see burnout. Players are the only ones who know when they can get themselves up to 100 per cent.

"As an international sportsman, you don't want to be playing when you're not at your absolute best," said Ponting, who missed several key players during the series against South Africa last year due to injury.

Ponting cited Michael Hussey's example saying the batsman seems to have been worn down by playing continuous cricket. "In the last few months quite a few of our players have been on the edge of not being able to get themselves up to 100 per cent all the time.

"Someone like Mike Hussey would have played as much as anybody around, I reckon," he said.

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