London: A day after England`s Test captain Andrew Strauss raised concern over the future of the classical format, former Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan said that the longest version of the game will continue to struggle unless backed by more number of ODIs and Twenty20s.
"You have to balance it financially. Play a little bit more one-dayers and Twenty20, then play Test cricket," said Muralitharan.
The tweaker, who bid adieu to international cricket after the World Cup, rued the lack of crowd for the longer format and said the game was suffering financially.
"India versus Pakistan or England against Australia makes money - but playing other teams it doesn`t.”
"If Sri Lanka play Test cricket you lose money and if you play one-day and Twenty20 games you generate money," the bowler was quoted by media.
"You need one-day and Twenty20 games to pump the money in because commercially it has to be viable - otherwise your cricket board goes bankrupt and you can`t play any cricket," he added.
Muralitharan, who has record 800 Test wickets to his credit, suggested that Test cricket would continue to find it difficult to attract crowds and television rights.
"In one-day cricket you play at the weekends and there will be a full house and the TV money is higher than for Test cricket. At the weekend, people will come and watch Test cricket but, for the other three days, there are no crowds.”
"In England you play cricket in the summer and people take time off to watch but, in Sri Lanka, there is no summer and you play cricket throughout the year. People would come on Saturday and Sunday but at other times they wouldn`t watch," the 39-year-old explained.
The bowler, who received an award for outstanding achievement in sport at the Asian Awards yesterday, insisted that he intends to stop playing cricket after the 2013 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and said he was satisfied with his two-decade long career with the Islanders.
"What I wanted to achieve I did and there is nothing more to do if you think about my one-day and Test wicket records. My body is not getting younger," he said.