Sangakkara calls for a balanced schedule

Sangakkara said global viewership of the sport had dwindled over the past year, despite a packed schedule of Tests, one-dayers and Twenty20 cricket.

“I am told about 40 percent of viewership has dropped for Tests,” Sangakkara said. “It has dropped for one-dayers and T20 too.”

According to Sangakkara, the rise of Twenty20 cricket has made the one-day and five-day games look like the boring siblings of the cricket family.

Sangakkara, 32, welcomed suggestions for jazzing up Test cricket through night games or a World Championship, which could attract viewers and sponsors. “We can’t just ignore the consumers,” he said. “Ultimately, it’s sponsorship that generates revenue for the Boards.”

The articulate Sri Lankan skipper called for more Test matches to be fairly distributed in the Future Tours Programme (FTP) that is being prepared by the International Cricket Council to govern cricket from 2012. He lamented the lack of Test matches for his own team, which would have played just two matches against the West Indies this year had India not agreed to a hastily arranged three-Test series starting next Sunday.

“All sides should have an equal opportunity to play Tests,” Sangakkara said. “We are lucky India are touring us, but the opportunity for Sri Lankan players to fulfil their Test dreams are getting more and more limited.” Sri Lanka have not played a Test series outside south Asia since the tour of Australia in 2007. They have not been to South Africa for a Test tour since 2002 and the Tests in England in 2011 will be their first there in five years.

“The FTP must be drawn up in a way that some of the best sides tour more than just once in five years,” Sangakkara said.

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