Raina bats for different teams for 3 versions of cricket; Kapil says spice up Tests

New Delhi, Nov. 16 -- World Cup winning skipper Kapil Dev believes smart marketing rather than introducing day-night Test cricket will solve concerns the five-day game was on a terminal decline. Speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi Kapil Dev further said that money is if it is used in proper manner.

"The cricket authorities, instead of looking for the riff-raff to come and watch day-night games, should be smart. Like they do in golf and tennis in the US, they can introduce a lottery or something on those lines that will attract spectators," the man who inspired India to victory in 1983 said in a lively session "Spreading the Passion" at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on Friday.

Suresh Raina and Ajay Jadeja were the other two cricketers who were in conversation with Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief of IBN network, on topic 'spreading the passion'. For cricketer Suresh Raina coming of good money in cricket was important as one could look after their family members while playing the game. He said that though money was important playing for country was always more important than money for him.

Ajay Jadeja said that passion is what brings a person to the game as he starts playing at an early age of 10 or 12. He said that more money in game today has encouraged more number of people to continue playing the game while they grow up. He said this was good for the game as it increased healthy competition and more good players could emerge.

If Kapil reigned supreme in the late 1970s and through the 1980s, former India player Ajay Jadeja, whose best came in the 1990s said instead of bemoaning the proliferation of Twenty20 cricket, the five-day game should be seen as the pinnacle of the game.

Current India star Suresh Raina was very clear.

The athletic player who is regarded as a perfect fit for limited overs cricket pointed out that his dream is to establish himself as a regular Test player, to ensure his international career does not such bring in money, but earn him respect from every fan.

Raina was not averse to India having different set of players for the three versions of the game, but believed many of the current Test players were good enough to feature in all the formats.

All three players agreed that the future of Indian cricket belonged to players from small towns hungry for success at the highest level. While India has seen a steady stream of players from smaller cities - starting with Kapil Dev from Chandigarh to Raina and Indian skipper MS Dhoni himself - make it to the national side, Kapil believed in future these players would not hesitate to migrate to the bigger cities.

"The boys in big cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore increasingly find it difficult to manage their studies and training, but boys from small towns can do that and are also more hungry to succeed as sportsmen."

Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-Chief of CNN-IBN compered the session, encouraging the panelists to narrate many interesting anecdotes.

On the issue T20 becoming the future of cricket, Kapil said that if more marketing is done for the T20 cricket and TV channels only show T20 games, more and more players will choose the easy option of playing in T20 cricket. Kapil also said that cricket board should find a way to promote the Test cricket. He even talked about allowing a singer to perform during breaks in Test match.

Raina said for him Playing for India would always be more satisfying than playing for a IPL team.

Ajay Jadeja said that cricket is not just about numbers. We have to tell stories about cricketers to increase the passion for Test cricket. He said that each cricketer brings a different story to the game.

On the issue of players life being very routine these days as they have to play cricket all the year round, Kapil Dev said that at all the time in the game some players party late in night and come to the field the next morning.

Raina agreed that cricketers have to live a disciplined life these days if they have to play so many games. Jadeja said that generally cricketers are more fit today than in the past. He also said that cricket is not just about fitness, but much more.

Speaking on the more players coming from smaller towns now, than in the past, Kapil said that players in small time get more time to play than those in big cities. Ajay Jadeja also agreed that more players are coming from small cities now because infrastructure and coaches are also available in small cities and players get more time to practice.

On the issue of more players getting injured these days Kapil said that players are playing many more games these days and don't get time to recover.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.