India are guilty of holding back Test cricket, says Mark Waugh
Calcutta: India's refusal to play Day-Night Test cricket is holding back the future of the game, says Mark Waugh.
India earlier this month ruled out playing Australia in a Day-Night Test match at the Adelaide Oval in December. Only Bangladesh and Ireland - who this week played their first-ever Test - have not played a Day-Night Test match. Waugh said the decision was not just disappointing, it was also selfish given the falling popularity of Test cricket around the globe.
"It's a little bit selfish from India's point of view because we need to revitalise Test cricket," the Cricket Australia website quoted him as saying on Wednesday.
"Day-Night Test cricket in some countries is going to be one of those ingredients that could transform Test cricket back to where it should be."
The former Australian batsman, who will stand down from his duties at Australia's T20 selector in August, said although Test cricket was the pure form of the game it had fallen away in many cricketing nations, including the West Indies and South Africa.
"So it's really only Australia, India and England where Test cricket is alive and well," he said.
"For me that's a concern."
Waugh said he didn't understand why India was reluctant to play Day-Night Test cricket given their playing depth.
"Their team is pretty well suited to Day-Night cricket, they've got a string of fast bowlers, so they don't just rely on the spinners, and their batsman are technically very good as well," he said.
"So for the greater good of the game, I would have loved to have seen that as a day-night Test."
Waugh welcomed Ireland's introduction but warned challenges lay ahead despite their impressive showing in their maiden Test which saw them run Pakistan close.
"Their challenge will be to bring some younger players through, because they're a pretty old team," Waugh said.
"The depth of Irish cricket is going to be key there. The same for Afghanistan, who play their maiden Test against India next month.
"They've got a lot of talent, some fine young players. They've got two of the better bowlers in the IPL tournament in Rashid Khan and Mujeeb-ur Rahman.
"So there's countries coming into the frame of Test cricket around world, but they can't come in for just a little while and hope they do well, they need infrastructure and some depth in their playing ranks and that's going to be pushed in the coming years."
Cricket Australia attracted criticism after a Test series listed on the ICC's Future Tours Programme for August was postponed. The tour is instead expected to be re-arranged to provide both countries more T20 matches ahead of Australia hosting the World T20 tournament in 2020.