Strauss concerned for future of Test format

London: England Test captain Andrew Strauss fears cricket administrators are in danger of sowing the seeds of the sport`s downfall if the five-day format of the game is neglected.

Strauss, enjoying a break from the game while England conTest a one-day series in India, has led England to the top of the Test rankings since being handed the captaincy in 2009, but is worried about the way the game is heading.

Doubts over the International Cricket Council`s (ICC) proposed 2013 World Test Championship and the fact that the home series against South Africa next year has been slimmed down to three Tests have done little to allay Strauss`s worries.

"I have concerns about the state of Test cricket," Strauss said in an interview.

"I am very much aware that if we are arrogant and assume that Test cricket will always be there, we are sowing the seeds of our own downfall."

While English Test attendances have remained steady despite the increased demand for the more dynamic shorter formats, particularly Twenty20, crowds in cricketing hotbeds such as India have dwindled and the sight of matches taking place in front of swathes of empty seats is common.

Strauss believes administrators need to do more to protect the roots of the sport.

"The administrators are trying to recognise the primacy of Test cricket, but there is a real difference between saying it and making sure your actions follow it.”

"What I think is irrelevant, it`s not about me," added Strauss, who stepped down as England`s one-day captain in May to be replaced by Alastair Cook.

"There is a lot of cricket to fit in, but the responsibility is on the administrators to provide a product people want to watch.”

"I think there is room for all three forms of the game to co-exist, but you need to be clever about it and not only play games because they will earn you money.”

"The ICC needs to look at what is in the best interests of the game, not what is going to pay the most."

England will not play another Test match until January when they take on Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in a three-match series. They then face Sri Lanka in two Tests in March and April.

Strauss said he hoped his decision to skip the one-day internationals in Asia would leave him refreshed and ready to consolidate England as world number one after taking over from India during the summer series.

"Suddenly we are the hunted rather than the hunters, but we don`t have to do anything different" Strauss said. "We realised that we would only become world number one by winning, and that`s what we need to keep doing."

Bureau Report

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