Pietersen wants more D-N Tests
Calcutta: India are yet to play a Day-Night Test, but having the matches in the evening will help save the longer version that faces a threat because of the T20 dominance, feels Kevin Pietersen.
Being the first-ever from overseas to deliver the Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi Lecture, in Bangalore on Tuesday, the former England captain emphasised that having D-N matches would help bring the fans back to Test cricket.
"Day-Night games have demonstrated the enormous leaps that are possible. The IPL doesn't play its biggest fixtures when many of its staunchest, wealthiest fans are at work. Neither should Test cricket.
"It will only be by pushing the marketing dial to a maximum that we will see if the Test game has true potential. Let's make every game count. Push the profile of the World Test Championship. Develop marketing opportunities. Offer cheaper seats in the ground to provide a better spectacle for TV viewers.
"Is there a game anywhere quite like Test cricket in which so many people are passionate despite rarely attending a game in person? We need to get them back through the turnstiles. It's better for the players, the sponsors and television.
"Let's get the fans back... Let's throw equal marketing clout behind the Test game before we succumb to the lazy assumption that Twenty20 rules.
"To those who hear this and remain cynical... Who question the entertainment value of Tests... Who believe that I am wistful about something that will soon be associated with black and white television fax machines and telegrams. I say, let's create a fair comparison.
"Let's not compromise entertainment. Let's put the Test fans first. Let's make Test cricket a spectacle... ," was Pietersen's emphatic statement.
Despite the challenges the format faces, Tests remain the "supreme form of the game", Pietersen emphasised. "... In my humble opinion a hard-fought five-day Test match remains the greatest all-round challenge in modern-day sport...
"Because, having played every form of cricket in every corner of the cricketing globe, I remain 100 per cent convinced that the five-day Test remains the supreme form of the game...
"This may surprise some of you. After all, I am not known as a traditionalist... Twenty20 provides the thrill, the noise, the speed and no little genius. It has taken fielding to a new level and has redefined batting. But it offers the cricketing buzz without the full sting," he said.
Pietersen saved his closing words for Afghanistan, who will be making their Test debut on Thursday at the Chinnaswamy. "Play in the spirit of the great Tiger Pataudi," was his advice to them.
"You guys are sitting on the very edge of history. The doom mongers say this is a dying form of the game, but you have it within your grasp to keep it alive.
"The headline writers around the globe are waiting... You are changing the perception of your country that has been in the news for the wrong reasons for far too long."