London:The England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) strategic advisor Andrew Strauss warned English cricket chiefs on Monday not to “bury their heads in the sand” as the Twenty20 era pushes the sport into a period of unprecedented change.
With lucrative Twenty20 leagues taking more space in the cricket calendar, the traditional dominance of the five-day Test format is under threat.
Players are increasingly being forced to choose whether they want to specialise in the short or longer forms of the sport.
Former England captain Strauss, who is chairing a high-performance review at the ECB in his role, acknowledges the need to adapt to changing times.
“The game of cricket has changed and evolved and developed since the beginning of time but it definitely feels like, right at the moment, the rate of change is increasing,” Strauss told reporters ahead of this week’s first Test between England and South Africa at Lord’s.
“The proliferation of T20 leagues and the shifting tectonic plates is a very live issue - the cricket world around us is changing unbelievably quickly.
“Every day, every week, every month, we’re seeing a new example of how that world is changing around us. And I suppose one thing that we’re having to ask ourselves the questions of in this country is, where does our game fit into all of that?”
Some pundits believe it is impossible for Test and one-day international cricket to continue in their current versions given the amount of T20 matches scheduled across the world.
But Strauss is hopeful all formats can co-exist if the authorities move quickly to create a schedule that caters to the players’ needs.
“I think one of the things that we need to be conscious of in the game in this country is we have to be nimble and adaptable. We can’t afford to be slow moving and have our heads in the sand,” Strauss said.
“I think that’s really important that we set ourselves up in this country, we set the game up in a way that allows us to be flexible and adaptable.
“Because if players have got many opportunities, which some of our players have, they will always look at those opportunities side by side won’t they and decide what’s best for them and you don’t hold that against them.”