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First-class structure will only improve by playing test cricket, Ravichandran Ashwin proclaims

Ravichandran Ashwin recently shared opposing views to Ravi Shastri’s suggestion to limit Test cricket to the top six nations which will hamper the first-class structure. He further cited the example of the West Indies saying that the top class in the country has almost disappeared due to the emphasis on T20 cricket.

There has been ongoing debate regarding the growing importance of T20 cricket and the decline in popularity of Test cricket for a long time. Various former cricketers and pundits shared their views on the matter. Ravi Shastri recently said that to ensure Test cricket remains competitive, only five to six teams should play against each other. Now, the veteran Indian spinner has shared conflicting views saying playing Test cricket is the only way to strengthen the top-class structure.

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“Recently, Ravi Bhai also said that Test cricket should be designed as a format that only 3-4 (sic) nations play. But when 3-4 nations play, teams like Ireland won’t have the opportunity to play.. You may ask me what is the relationship between test cricket and T20 cricket. Only when you play test cricket will your first-class structure improve. And this is not that when your first-class structure is good that people will have more opportunities. And players who do well in first-class cricket shape their game according to T20 cricket. That’s how cricket took shape”, Ashwin said on his official YouTube channel.

India are currently on a tour of the West Indies for a five game T20I series and Ashwin is in the squad. West Indies were seen as a quality team in the T20 but didn’t have much success in the longer formats. Ashwin cited the example of the West Indies saying that top class cricket in the country has almost disappeared thanks to the emphasis on T20 cricket over red ball cricket.

“I am currently in the West Indies and here we can see that top class cricket is almost gone. Because there is no basis for first class cricket. Everything is cricket and T20 leagues their test cricket has dropped significantly and as a result world cricket results are down. Since the 2016 T20 World Cup, their cricket has gone no further. So the foundation of first-class cricket is really important,” he explained.

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