Former Pakistan batsman Ramiz Raja has urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to set aside a two-month window solely for Test matches in a bid to preserve the longest form of the game. While crowds for Tests in countries such as England remain strong, Raja, a member of the influential MCC World Cricket Committee, fears interest in Asia is "dwindling" thanks partly to the rise of lucrative domestic Twenty20 competitions such as the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Raja said national governing bodies such as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had to play their part as well.
To drive home his point, Raja cited the cases of former India captain MS Dhoni's Grade 'A' contract.
"You have to acknowledge and respect the status of Test match cricket and it has to come from the cricket boards, in Asia specifically.
"For example, MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket yet got the A-grade contract from the BCCI, Shahid Afridi retired from Test cricket yet got the A-grade contract from PCB.
Indian cricket fans were not amused by Raja's remarks and went on to have some fun at his expense.
@iramizraja please bother about Pakistan cricket. Now i know y Pakistan cricket is behind. Seniors r bothered about other cricketers— Nishant (@Nishant88714020) July 6, 2017
@iramizraja who the hell are u questioning about MSD's A contract...don't repeat it.. celebrate Pakistan icc CT win until 2060— Smriti Mandhana FC (@FcMandhana) July 5, 2017
@iramizraja you have no right to question d pay contract of MSD. Kindly mind your own Business and care about ur commentary fee— bigb (@Nik_2109) July 5, 2017
"It is under a lot of stress in Asia but if we have a properly planned Test match championship, that's the way out of this, otherwise we will be struggling to put aside as much money as is available for the T20 leagues," Raja insisted.
Meanwhile the committee, whose members also include such illustrious names as Ricky Ponting, Brendon McCullum, Sourav Ganguly and Kumar Sangakkara, has come down against reducing Tests from five days to four days after it was suggested a shorter game might be more fan-friendly.
Ramachandra Guha, who quit the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) last month, had in his resignation letter questioned Dhoni getting a Grade A contract from the cricket board in spite of quitting Test cricket.
(With inputs from AFP)