Former England skipper Michael Atherton, while praising the Indian Premier League (IPL) for providing great opportunities to players, observed that the cash-rich league was a “disruptive influence” in the game’s community.

Atherton was talking at the launch of his cricketer friend, former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly’s book ‘A century is not enough’ at Lord’s. Former England player Mike Gatting and former Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara were also present at the event.

IPL IS HAMPERING CRICKET

“Like any other industry running, cricket has been distorted. IPL has been the reason for this disruption, giving players more options and new opportunities to explore,” Atherton said, talking about the future of Test cricket at a time when T20 Leagues’ are becoming more popular and which also provides players handsome money.

“We still play Test cricket here in England. The grounds in India may look empty (during Test matches) but we also need to keep this in mind that those are much larger grounds. The game has always been enjoying and will continue to be so. Hence, I remain hopeful about the future,” he said.

TEST CRICKET HAS LOST IT’S CHARM

Ganguly batted for more day-night Tests to cater five-day cricket to audiences. “It is difficult for working people to spend the whole day away from work at a cricket ground,” he said. Sangakkara emphasised that Test cricket needs to be “financially feasible” to be able to survive in future. “There is still a great love for Test cricket. But ultimately everything changes. Change is inevitable. We will just have to learn to move on and change our mindset, “he said.

Gatting added: “It is very sad that nowadays, fans do not watch many Test matches in India. But I still believe there will be good days for Test cricket”.

SOME MEMORIES TO CHERISH

Ganguly also recollected the day when he made his Test debut at Lords way back in 1996 against England side led by Atherton.

We could see this would become the beginning of a new generation of Indian players coming through; the onset of great middle order said, Atherton.

After winning the Natwest trophy at Lord’s in 2002 Ganguly spin his jersey in the air.It is still inscribed in the memory of all his fans but when asked to recall that moment, the former India captain replied, saying it was an extremely warm day”