Former England captain Michael Atherton, while praising the big bucks of the Indian Premier League providing opportunities to players, observed that the cash-rich league was a “disruptive influence” in the game’s ecosystem.
Atherton was speaking on the sidelines of former India captain Sourav Ganguly’s book ‘A century is not enough’ at Lord’s. Atherton was joined by another former England captain Mike Gatting and former Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara for a discussion on cricket.
“Like any other industry, cricket has been disrupted. IPL has been a disruptive event, giving players options and opportunities,” Atherton said, talking about the future of Test cricket in the wake of the rising popularity of T20 Leagues which offer players big bucks.
“We still sell Test cricket well here in England. The grounds in India may look empty (during Test matches) but we have to bear in mind that those are much larger grounds. The game has always adapted and will continue to do so. I remain optimistic about the future,” he said.
Ganguly batted for more day-night Tests to cater five-day cricket to audiences. “It is difficult for working people to spend the whole day away from work at a cricket ground,” he said. Sangakkara stressed that Test cricket needs to be “financially viable” to be able to survive in future. “There is still great love for Test cricket. But everything evolves and moves on. We will just have to change our mindset, “he said.