While T20 has been the new go to format for a large number of cricketers and fans, newer shorter formats in ‘T10’, ‘Sixty’, and ‘The Hundred’ are also witnessing a growing spree.
Sri Lankan Captain Angelo Mathews, however, says “Test format is the pinnacle of cricket”.
The shorter formats of the game have grabbed a lot of limelight in the past few years especially after the introduction of franchise cricket.
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Despite playing all around the globe in different leagues, Mathews who is presently featuring in the Abu Dhabi T10 league feels that Test cricket is the number one format of the game and the World Test Championship has added more colour to it.
“I don’t think so [that Test cricket is dying]. For most of the cricketers love Test cricket and for me, that is the number one format. Obviously, these T10, T20 and all these leagues are very lucrative but the pinnacle of cricket is Test cricket. I would trade anything to play a game of Test format. The Test Championship itself has added some colour and glamour to the Test format. It (Test format) was going away from all of us but the WTC has added a bit more colour, following, and vibe,” Mathews said during an exclusive interaction.
T10 format can become bigger & better
While Mathews advocates that Test cricket is the best form of the game, the right-handed all-rounder also put his weight behind the T10 format.
Talking more about the T10 game, the Sri Lankan cricketer explained that it’s not really difficult to play this format as the players have been playing a lot of T20s these days.
“Absolutely. This is a whole new format and you see the cream of international stars taking part in this competition. It’s a great tournament to be a part of, lots of fun and within a short period of time, you get over with the game as well. So yeah, it will definitely get bigger and better.”
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“I think, it’s not really a big deal to play T10 cricket because we have been playing a lot of T20s as well. It’s all about adaptation. So, you exactly know what is expected of you and how you go about the things in T20 (format). It’s just that it’s (T10) is faster and ends quicker. I think, it has got the same kind of vibe that we get in the T20s,” Mathews further added.
The swiftness of the format can also become a drawback at times, owing to frequent and almost daily games in the tournament. Mathews feels that this is one of the challenges and the players have to be very strong mentally and physically.
“Being a bowler and being an all-rounder is quite challenging especially if you are playing on really good wickets. You bowl to high quality batters. It’s very demanding physically and mentally. You have to play matches almost everyday. For instance, we have played about 4-5 games in a span of 7 days. Physically also, it’s quite challenging but as cricketers, we have to adapt to it,” he said.
The right-hander lauded the kind of wickets that they have got in this edition of the tournament which has kept a good balance between bat and ball.
“This year, the wickets have been quite even except for one or two games which were high-scoring. There has been something for the seamers with the overall conditions, having a little bit grass on the wicket, it was kind of 50-50 wickets for bowlers and batters especially in this tournament. It’s important to have that challenge between bat and ball,” he added.
Mathews’ franchise Northern Warriors started the tournament with two wins in two games, but have slipped with four consecutive defeats subsequently. The 36-year-old did express his disappointment and admitted that losing a couple of close games have certainly changed the equation.
“After the first two games, the last two games that we played were very close and crucial for us. If we had won those two fixtures, it could have been an entirely different story for us going into the next two games. In the last game, the kind of start we got with the bat, the top three batters gave us a platform that middle-order could go out there and finish it off but unfortunately, we couldn’t do it. I would take the blame for that on myself. We were so close of winning that game.
“Even in the previous game, we got a good total and then started off really well in terms of bowling but we lost our way in the middle. So, it’s quite disappointing,” Mathews highlighted.
SL players can take the world by storm
Meanwhile, Mathews was all praise for Sri Lankan youngsters including Kusal Mendis, Matheesha Pathirana, Maheesh Theekshana and added that the young crop can take the world by storm in the future.
“We have got a few players actually. We have Kusal Mendis who is extremely talented. We have Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Pathirana, Theekshana. We have got plenty of players who will take on the world by storm. It’s just that they haven’t played much and time should be given to them,” he concluded.