Anurag Thakur was elected the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India…
“Test cricket will survive. Don’t talk about its death,” said former India captain and present coach Anil Kumble at the launch of ‘India 500 Tests,’ published by The Hindu Group of publications at a function here on Sunday.
“If we keep talking about the death of Tests, then one day it will happen,” said Kumble, the leading wicket-taker of the country, at a star-studded event graced by legendary players like Bishan Singh Bedi, V.V.S. Laxman, and Virender Sehwag.
Laxman said some steps should be taken to make Tests popular again. “The BCCI is giving Test cricket importance and trying to popularise it by taking it to smaller towns. It should be a day out for families to be popular.
“If you ask any youngster, he wants to watch and play T20 cricket. They want instant results. But they also want to see icons and once they see them in Test matches, I am sure there will be a clamour for the longer version of the game which has a great digital market.”
Sehwag made a valid point when he appealed for preserving the current format. “The BCCI is doing a fantastic job of taking Test cricket to smaller venues. That is the way forward. There is no need to change the format, with the pink-ball experiment. When England and Australia come later, I am sure the crowds will fill the stadiums.”
Lauding The Hindu and Sportstar for bringing out the book to commemorate 500 Tests, Board president Anurag Thakur said, “The Hindu Group of publications have come out with a book which tracks India’s journey from Test 1 to Test 500. It is a treasure trove of facts, with a breathtaking pictorial back-up.
“The BCCI is indeed glad to be associated with the release of this book as it has come from The Hindu stable.
In order to attract more fans to the venues, Thakur promised to make the stadiums more spectator-friendly. “We can’t force people to watch a certain format but can make it attractive for them to come and enjoy Test cricket.”
About the current state of affairs involving the BCCI, Lodha Committee and the judiciary, N. Ram, Chairman, Kasturi & Sons Ltd., said: “We all respect the highest court in the land. It can give directions on reform, preferably broad directions, but the BCCI must be allowed autonomy to attend to the nitty-gritty of cricket administration and implement reforms. As a result of the process, it has already brought in many welcome changes.
“Whose interest will be served if suddenly a panel of unelected and unrepresentative administrators descend, like gods from the machine, to replace the elected office-bearers of the BCCI? Certainly not the interest of Indian cricket and the players,” he added.
Sehwag, Kumble and Laxman joined Thakur in the panel discussion on “Future of Test cricket’, moderated by cricket columnist Suresh Menon.
The event, compeered excellently by Jatin Sapru, was attended by a galaxy of cricketers from the city and outside as Thakur launched the book. Among those present were N. Murali, Co-Chairman, Kasturi & Sons Ltd., and former Delhi Police Commissioner, Neeraj Kumar.
A few members of the Indian team — Gautam Gambhir, Amit Mishra, Umesh Yadav, and Jayant Yadav — were present; so were the National selectors M.S.K. Prasad and Devang Gandhi.
The book traces India’s wonderful Test journey — starting with the Lord’s Test in 1932 when England shockingly lost three wickets for 19 in the first session of the contest before recovering and eventually winning the match in three days.
The book, a collector’s treasure, chronicles some of India’s greatest moments in Test cricket with rare pictures from the archives of The Hindu making it a rich addition to the fans’ cricket library.
Apart from contributions from some well-known cricket journalists, the book is embellished with articles from Test players Madhav Apte, G.R. Viswanath, Bedi, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Laxman, Sehwag and Virat Kohli.
The cricketers have shared their views on the decade they have been part of, taking the reader on a tour of the early days as well as the present.