Former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri controversially suggested that Test cricket should be restricted to only the top three or four nations in cricket. Veteran Indian off-spinner R Ashwin expressed a disagreement with the former Indian skipper’s suggestions and opined for the Test cricket for all countries. Ashwin is currently the leading wicket-taker in terms of spinners in red-ball cricket among active players, and he has been one of the stalwarts in the IPL.
R Ashwin believes Test cricket is essential for the growth of T20 cricket. He reckoned that the first-class structure helps in the improvement of Test cricket and a nation can only improve in the shortest format of the game when the cricketers get more opportunities in FC cricket to mold their game for the T20 format.
In the recent video on his Youtube channel, R Ashwin said, “Recently Ravi Bhai said Test cricket should be made as a format that only 3-4 nations play. But when 3-4 nations play, teams like Ireland won’t get won’t get the opportunity to play. Only when you play Test cricket, will your first-class structure get better.”
He further added, “And only when your first-class structure is good, people will get more opportunities. And players who do well in first-class cricket mold their game according to T20 cricket. That’s how cricket has shaped up.”
The Indian off-spinner who made his return to the Indian T20I side after a huge gap of eight months has looked in prime touch in the Caribbean and also talked about the state of affairs in the Windies. He highlighted the lack of first-class cricket on the island nation as the country has shifted its focus from Test cricket to limited-overs cricket and, as a result, has slumped in ODI and T20I cricket.
Elaborating the same, R Ashwin said, “How will you strengthen first-class cricket? For that Test cricket needs to be relevant in your country. If Test cricket is not relevant, they won’t play it with full interest. I’m currently in West Indies and here we can see that first-class cricket is almost gone. There are multiple T20 tournaments.”