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Graeme Smith: Shelve T20Is, focus on marketing Tests

Graeme Smith chats with Hashim Amla during a net session Gallo Images

Graeme Smith, the former South Africa captain, will do away with T20 internationals if he had the power to, while focusing on improving marketability of Tests to preserve the longest format.

"Maybe the ICC needs to look at six months of T20 cricket domestically and six months of international cricket," Smith said at an event in Mumbai, according to Hindustan Times. "I don't think T20 cricket should be played at the international level. My opinion is to retain domestic T20 competitions and have international cricket - Test and ODIs - and have a World Cup every couple of years."

Smith, who played 117 Tests in a 12-year international career, felt one way of increasing visibility of marquee tours and "historic Test series" like the Ashes.

"There needs to be investment," he said. "Maybe spend more money marketing Test cricket. So much money is spent in marketing the T20 format. Maybe there can be money marketing the stories and histories in Test cricket.

"What's great for the game is someone like [India captain] Virat Kohli who wants to do well in Test cricket and be successful and set standard for everyone else. As long as people like him consider Test cricket valuable, it's important for the rest of the world."

Smith called for balance in the international schedule, the only way to ease pressure on players. He cited AB de Villiers' example in saying a cramped calendar might have had a part to play in his sudden retirement from international cricket last week.

"There are not many players who have played for 14-15 years that can travel nine, 10, 11 months a year, deal with the pressures, plus the family pressures, it's very, very difficult," he said, according to Reuters. "The guy has played international cricket for around 15 years.

"More than anything, he has the right to decide when he's had enough. He will have his own reasons for that, you got to respect that."