Andy Flower has spoken that ICC faces a serious challenge in striking a financially viable balance between the thriving T20 leagues and international cricket over the next decade. He also feels it is important for stars likes Indian skipper Virat Kohli to keep talking about the importance of five-day format- Tests over comparatively newer shortest versions limited overs ODI and especially T20 cricket.
With the introduction of T20 cricket in 2003, several T20 global leagues have bloomed at every country playing cricket starting with Indian Premier League in 2008. Led by the BCCI-backed IPL, most ICC full members have their own T20 product and the rapid growth of franchise-based cricket has put more stress on the international cricket calendar and its viability, leaving the big three — India, Australia and England — aside.
Andy Flower Says There Is Still Interest In Test Cricket Especially India, England And Australia And Five Day Format Offers Lot To Broadcasters
Speaking from Dubai, Andy Flower, who is making his IPL debut as assistant coach of Kings XI Punjab this season, said the recent series in England against West Indies and Pakistan showed interest in Test cricket remains but the format needs to be managed wisely alongside the T20 boom.
“It is a serious challenge for the ICC to make a fine balance between viable international cricket and the burgeoning franchise world.”
“I still think there is huge interest, primarily in three nations (India, England, Australia), in Test cricket. We have had two good series in England without spectators, as a TV product, the five-day format offers a lot to the broadcaster.”
“There is also interest among players to play Test cricket. The ICC has to manage all of that wisely,” the former Zimbabwe captain told PTI.
Andy Flower, who is now exploring the world of T20 leagues after 12 years in England cricket set-up, believes leading players like Virat Kohli have a role to play in lifting the profile of the five-day game.
Andy Flower Expresses Love For Test Cricket
The Indian captain has expressed his love for Test cricket on many occasions, saying nothing comes close to participate in a Test match while Andy Flower reckons interest must be generated in all three formats to make them more viable and successful.
“My personal opinion is that there is space and time and interest in all three formats to make them viable and successful.”
“I am sure he said that from from a genuine perspective and realization that it is the most difficult challenge for a professional cricketer.” said the coach who guided England to rare Test series wins in Australia (2010-11 Ashes) and India (2012-13).
He was also in charge when England won their first ICC trophy — the World T20 — in 2010.
While the mushrooming T20 leagues have provided players and coaches with an opportunity to earn a decent living, Andy Flower feels it has also enhanced their knowledge about the game.
“Coaching is a fairly new profession in cricket.”
“Then, in the 90s, coaching started developing into something more serious, and now with the expansion of franchise based tournaments around the world, it has given broader scope of opportunities for coaches to earn a living and broaden their experiences.”
On his evolution as a coach, he said: “I started coaching when I was in my early 20s and even when I was playing for Zimbabwe, initially we weren”t paid as players, we (including Grand Flower, Alistair Campbell and David Houghton) were paid as coaches,” Andy Flower added.
The South Africa-born cricketer-turned-coach could not be part of KXIP”s preparations from the start as he was occupied with the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League.
The IPL is being held in a strict bio-secure environment and Andy Flower said staying in it for two months is a challenge for the players as well as the support staff.
“It is a mental challenge for everyone (in the bubble).” he concluded.
IPL 2020 was postponed from 29th March and will be played in UAE from 19th September in bio-secure bubbles to prevent the spreading of the covid-19 pandemic.