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Holding: 20/20 is destroying Test cricket

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CNN talks to Michael Holding
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • West Indies bowling legend Michael Holding talks exclusively to CNN
  • Holding believes that 20/20 cricket is threatening to destroy the Test game
  • Holding also feels that the ICC should introduce a two didivisionest system

(CNN) -- West Indies pace bowling legend Michael Holding has launched a passionate defence of Test cricket, claiming that the 20/20 version of the game is threatening to completely destroy the five-day format.

Speaking exclusively to CNN, Holding -- who has just released his autobiography "No Holding Back" -- admitted he disliked the limited-overs game so much that he turned down television work on the recent world 20/20 championship in his native West Indies.

"I am not interested in 20/20 at all. Maybe I am an old fogey but I think it is destroying Test cricket," said Holding.

Blog: 20/20 broadening cricket's appeal

"Kids should be playing Test cricket and then maybe progressing to 20/20 once established. But now, with all the money available in 20/20, top young players are not going to be interested in playing the five-day game.

"When you can earn $800,000 for playing six weeks in the Indian Premier League (IPL), why waste six years trying to earn that sort of money in Test cricket?

"If this isn't controlled properly, Test cricket will die. When I was playing, people said: 'Test cricket is too slow,' so they brought in 50-over one-day cricket. Now it's down to 20-overs. What happens next? 15 overs? 10 overs?.

Basically, the ICC are governing cricket so badly that soon nobody will pay any attention to them at all.
--Michael Holding

Holding also believes that Test cricket is not being helped by the way the sport's governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is managing the game.

"The ICC needs to see how football's governing body FIFA runs things. The ICC are letting the Indian Cricket Board (BBCI) dictate how cricket is run and that is all wrong. India is where the money is in cricket at the moment but that doesn't mean they should have a say in how cricket is governed.

"FIFA wouldn't let Brazil dictate how to run football and cricket shouldn't let India have more of a say just because they have money there.

"Basically, the ICC are governing cricket so badly that soon nobody will pay any attention to them at all. If Test cricket is boring it is because the ICC are handling the calendar all wrong.

"Bangladesh are playing a series in England soon, but who cares?. Imagine there was a two-division system, six teams in each, with promotion and relegation. India to face Pakistan with the losers being relegated to Division Two -- now that would be a Test series to watch!"

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Holding also told CNN that he would suspend any player found to have been betting on matches, although would stop short of banning them for life.

"No cricketer, in fact no sportsman, should be betting on matches -- to win or lose. If there is irrefutable evidence that a player has been caught betting on matches, they have to be banned.

"However, not for life, I believe in people getting second chances, but if it happened twice -- then ban them for life."