Veteran cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle said that India captain Virat Kohli is the most important man in Test cricket as his backing of the format helps bring newer audience and fans.

Test cricket is losing ground rapidly among youngsters and the five-day format struggles for exposure and audience in many countries. But Bhogle said a player like Kohli wanting to play more Tests acts as a bridge for the younger generation to connect with the oldest format.

“The most important man in Test cricket today is Virat Kohli, simply because he is going out and saying: ‘I want to play Test cricket.’ He is acting as a link between the Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar generation and the 12-year-olds in India today,” Bhogle was quoted as saying in an interview with The Guardian.

“Those 12-year-olds are only talking about Test cricket because of Virat Kohli. Otherwise, why would anyone want to play Test cricket in India, when it’s so much easier to play 20-overs cricket?” he added.

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The seasoned cricket expert said that he believes the longest format is in trouble because of the modern and quicker means of entertainment freely available. “Nobody has the time. It’s not that T20 is impacting Test cricket; it’s lifestyles – Netflix, WhatsApp and the internet, all the easy entertainment options that are available. Would someone want to watch a batsman playing and missing, and scoring 12 runs in an hour?” he said.

But he added that T20 cricket is also helping bring a new set of viewers to Test cricket. “T20 is looking after Test cricket. It’s getting people into the game and showing them the joy of Test cricket.”

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Another aspect of cricket on the rise in India is the women’s game that has grown in exposure after the Indian team finished as runners up and the 2017 One-Day International World Cup and more recently attracted record-breaking numbers at the T20 World Cup in Australia.

Bhogle said that the women’s version of the Indian Premier League is not too far away, especially after the runner-up finish earlier this year. “There’s a lot of talk about a women’s IPL and I am almost certain we are no more than two years off a women’s IPL. I don’t know how much money will be in it, given that a lot of our players come from small towns, and given the orthodoxy, but it will come through eventually,” he said.

The 58-year-old said that the women’s cricket in India will grow because of the country’s passion for the game, which opens up the field for the players.

“Women’s cricket will do well because of the broad acceptance of cricket in India and the possibility that these players can earn good money. We’ve always had good women athletes in this country. The base of numbers might be small, but the standard has always been very good,” he explained.

You can read the full interview here.