'Obscene' Twenty20 money threatens Tests - Lloyd
Clive Lloyd has expressed disappointment and concern at the impact of Twenty20 on cricket's traditional format, fearing that Andrew Flintoff's retirement from Tests could set a dangerous precedent. Lloyd, the former West Indian captain and current chairman of the ICC's cricket committee, said Flintoff's retirement had set a bad example for younger players and that others would soon follow unless money was not pumped into Test cricket.
"Would some of these guys have retired if there was no Twenty20? It is obvious if I'm being paid $1.5 million and I don't have to put in too much work then, yes, I'll go the other way," said Lloyd on the first day of the ICC History Conference in Oxford. "It is a bit unfortunate that Flintoff has decided to leave Test cricket and he knows his body and know how bad his ankle is but he is a tremendous cricketer. But the point is he is not going to play for Lancashire - he will play for England in the ODIs and Twenty20. The point is it is destroying the fabric of the game."
"When a player retires in his prime and when you have poured all that money on him to get him where he is now and then he leaves that is a bother for me. Like Dwayne Bravo, if he decides to leave halfway [into his career] that is not a situation I would like. I would like a situation where people leave later on and there is a natural progression of young players into the cricket. But I can tell you there are a few more people coming up shortly to announce retirements if this goes on."
Cricket, Lloyd said, was suffering from the "obscene" amount of money being paid in lucrative Twenty20 tournaments, giving the example of West Indies, a good Twenty20 side but struggling to stay afloat in Tests. "We are suffering from that at the moment and I think other countries, too, might. Our countries are probably the second-best players in the world. We are paying guys an obscene amount of money - US $60,000 for one Twenty20 game when he might not bat or bowl. It is destroying the other two components of the game. If Test cricket is the type of cricket we want people to recognise the game by then we have to put a little bit more money into it so players are better paid. We can't just think it will chug along." .
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo