Roach: Next generation’s love for test cricket is gone

West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach has called on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to do more to preserve Test cricket for more than just the financially secure cricket nations.

Roach was speaking in an interview with the Wisden Cricket Weekly podcast this week before Surrey’s home fixture against Northamptonshire at the Kia Oval which began on Tuesday.

The 35 year old seam bowler said “Of course, of course they should be doing more. They’re the governing board of cricket. A lot of articles are out that a lot of players feel this way. Ricky Ponting says he’s concerned about Test cricket and he’s one of the legends of the game.There’s a lot of concerning factors that should be taken seriously but it’s a governing body. They’re in charge of what happens next. We can talk as much as we want but if they don’t want to do anything about it, then that’s where we are.”

Roach confessed that he believes a younger generation of players have already lost their love for the longest form of cricket, with some players from “smaller” nations thinking it is not “feasible”.

“It is worrying. There are a lot of franchises around the world, cricket all year round in terms of franchise cricket. Let’s be honest,people are looking after livelihoods so they’re chasing money and it’s understandable. Cricket is a very short career. I can understand why people do that,” he said.

Roach continued saying “Test cricket now for the small nations like West Indies and I guess South Africa now, those teams aren’t getting much Test cricket. Only the big nations like the Indias, Australias and Englands get their 10 to 15 test matches a year. In terms of the smaller nations, some guys don’t think it’s feasible. You only play six test matches in a year. That’s not good. For me, my last test match was against India in July and I’m not playing another test match until January next year. That’s a long long layoff and if you’re going to Australia that is probably the toughest tour you can ever go on.”

In his opinion, there isn’t much of an emphasis on improving the format from those running the sport. “I don’t think people who are in charge of cricket are making an emphasis to improve it. Franchises have taken over and that’s the fact of it. Players are more going towards franchise cricket. I have a love for Test cricket. I think if you’re a good test cricketer you can play any format,” he concluded.

Kemar Roach will play the rest of the County Championship Division One season with Surrey Cricket Club as the defending champions look to retain their crown.Surrey currently lead the table on 205 points after 12 matches, 18 clear of Essex Cricket Club on 187 points.

Roach, who sits fifth on West Indies’ all time Test wicket-takers’ list with 265 wickets, will next don the maroon of the West Indies when the Windies travel down under to Australia in January for two test matches in Adelaide and Brisbane.

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