Tests remain 'true test' of skills - Pollock

Despite the growing popularity of Twenty20 among fans, Shaun Pollock said he would "hate" to see Test cricket losing out to the shortest form of the game.

"The traditional game of Test cricket and the 50-over game needs to be preserved", Pollock said while admitting that Twenty20 was bringing more and more spectators to cricket. "Twenty20 has caught the imagination of the cricketing world. And with India doing well in the World Cup [the World Twenty20 in South Africa], the country has taken to it." Pollock was speaking on the sidelines of the Mumbai Indians' first practice session.

As for the IPL, Pollock had no doubt about its impact. "It's going to have a big influence on international cricket", Pollock said. Pollock believes in the new scenario the administrators would need to "to find place for Twenty20 to fit in. I am sure schedules will change to accommodate all forms of the game and everyone can enjoy it."

Pollock, who retired from international cricket recently after a 13-year stint for South Africa, felt tournaments like the IPL have come as a boon for the ageing cricketer. "It does give another avenue for the older guys who can just get through the shorter version of the game to continue and extend their career."

Pollock did not, however, agree with an Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) survey that said 47 percent of the country's cricketers would opt for premature retirement to play in the Twenty20 leagues in India, whether the IPL or the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League.

"Maybe those are guys looking for an easy way out", Pollock said about the ACA survey. "The game of Test cricket has been around for many, many years. It is a true test of the game with regard to your cricketing skills. I'm not saying it is the most exciting form of cricket and the cricket that the public want to watch but I would hate to see us lose that."

Pollock said he understood the fact that in the age of the fast buck and the growing popularity of Twenty20 there would many more hands joining to create versions of the IPL. England and New Zealand have already suggested starting their own Twenty20 leagues.

"There is a demand for international cricketers who play in this form of the game so I can understand there would be negotiations happening," Pollock said. "But we will have to wait and see for things to get substantial. I can understand people trying to create an opportunity to viewers in their own countries."

Pollock feels the bat will dominate in the upcoming tournament. "There are going to be some high-scoring games and this format of the game will allow some guys to express their true abilities with the bat so you might see some flamboyant shots."

Meanwhile Sachin Tendulkar, the Mumbai Indians captain, said he was looking forward to opening with Sanath Jayasuriya in the IPL and facing Shane Warne once again on the field. "Sanath is an exciting batsman and I have always enjoyed his batting, Tendulkar told NDTV, a news channel. "Warney is a great competitor and at all stages of the game, he will try to come back at you. So I am looking forward to that." Tendulkar also said he hadn't expected to be named captain of the side but he anticipated it would be a fun challenge.