Senior sports journalist Lokendra Pratap Sahi said the International Cricket Council (ICC) must work to protect and promote test cricket for the better future of the game.
He also suggested that the smaller cities should be allowed to host test matches so that its popularity increases across the country. He hoped Guwahati too will one day be a Test centre if the Assam Cricket Association manages to satisfy the ICC with its infrastructure and logistics.
He was delivering the annual 4th Pulin Das memorial lecture on ‘State of affairs in contemporary cricket and its future’ where he also appreciated Assam’s promising Indian Premier League batsman Riyan Parag and said he has a bright future which his parents and well wishers will have to help materialise.
Pulin Das was the pioneer of sports journalism in Assam who passed away in 2014 at the age of 96. Assam Sports Journalist Association (ASJA) has been organising a lecture series on his death anniversary since 2015. Earlier, former India hockey player and MP Dilip Tirkey, former India badminton captain Sanjay Sharma and Shillong Lajong FC owner Larsing Ming Sawyan had delivered lectures on the occasion.
Sahi, who covered the game for The Telegraph over the past three decades across the globe, said holding four-day day-night matches can be a good option to promote the longer version of the game.
“Test cricket is the real game. It brings out the best of a player. So, the ICC must work to promote test cricket. It should be mandatory for the respective boards to conduct and popularise the game. It can also be done by reducing it to the four-day and maximising the overs in a day. Day-night test match is one of the best ways to draw crowd to the stadium,” Sahi said.
Sahi termed it ridiculous to offer the World Cup title to host England on the basis of the number of boundaries hit.
On the role of the corporate, Sahi said that they must help in promoting the sport at the grassroots level.
The lecture was attended by state level advisory committee for students and youth welfare member secretary Lakhya Konwar, veteran sports journalist Premadhar Sarma, ACA secretary Devajit Saikia, Sports Authority of India Guwahati centre director Subhash Basumatary, a number of past and present cricketers and sports organisers among others.