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Warne wants the ICC and governing bodies to improve marketing of the Test format

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ONE of Wisden’s five cricketers of the 20th century has called on the International Cricket Council to fix Test cricket before it is too late.

Shane Warne, who is the latest addition to Fox Sports’ star-studded commentary line-up, believes the longest format needs assistance to survive long-term, but stopped short of sharing Brendon McCullum’s doomsday sentiment.

The ex-New Zealand captain declared the traditional version of the game “won’t be around in time because there’s only so many teams than can afford to play” earlier this week.

Warne, who took 1001 wickets for Australia across Test and one-day international cricket, was “disappointed” to learn India had rejected Cricket Australia’s proposal for a day-night Test in

December, but suggested the onus should be on the ICC to mandate a marketable product and keep the sport afloat.

“I think Test cricket can survive, but the ICC or the governing bodies aren’t marketing it the right way,” Warne told foxsports.com.au in an exclusive interview.

“To me there is a lot more that should be done on marketing why Test cricket is the hardest form of the game to play and why the players absolutely love it.”

“I think it can survive. We just need to do it better.”

This is not to say Warne wants Test cricket to thrive at the expense of the shorter forms. Having played in Australia’s 1999 50 overs per side World Cup win, the spin-king still appreciates the subtleties of one-day cricket.

Likewise, the T20 circus that has drawn new fans to the game over the past decade has seen Warne play for the Melbourne Stars and act as a coach and mentor in the Indian Premier League.

But it was Test cricket — specifically the Gatting ball — which catapulted Warne to global stardom and he remains as passionate as ever about its existence and prosperity.

The 48-year-old used Indian skipper Virat Kohli as an example of the game’s continued growth. Despite earning millions playing T20 cricket, Kohli has elected to bypass his country’s Test against Afghanistan in order to join the County circuit with Surrey, under former Aussie batting coach Michael Di Venuto.

Kohli’s Test record speaks for itself. He averages 53 and has peeled off 21 hundreds since debuting in 2011. But his numbers in England are underwhelming and doubtless a blotch on his otherwise near-flawless career.

In the UK, the right-hander averages just 13 from 10 innings ahead of this year’s series against Joe Root’s team.

“Why is Virat Kohli giving up a Test against Afghanistan to go and play county cricket?” Warne asked.

“It’s because he wants to prove he can play in England against the swinging and seaming ball. If we have the captain of India doing that then it’s a great thing.”

But Warne was also critical of India’s refusal to play the now customary day-night Test in Adelaide later this year.

“It’s such a shame India is not doing that,” he said.

“The ICC should help in that area. Everyone bows to what India want, so it’s disappointing they said they don’t want a day-night Test.

“If we want Test cricket to be around for a long time, then we need to try things like this. India might love it, who knows? The Indians then can do it over at their home and they might start loving Test cricket again.

“It’s very disappointing that India decided not to do a day-night Test.”

Warne was unsure whether Tim Paine could captain the Test team in the long-term, but was happy for the Tasmanian to fill-in while Australian cricket is finding its feet again.

Warne, who won 10 of 11 one-day international matches as skipper but never got the opportunity to lead the Test team, also forecast the national coaching job would eventually be split into multiple gigs.

“I’d say it to Gilly face to face, I don’t think keepers make good captains,” he said.

“I think they make good deputies and are fantastic vice-captains to bounce off to set the standard of fielding.

“I don’t think Paine is a long term option — even though he’s done a great job in the short time he’s been there — but right now we just need to take stock. We have Justin Langer doing all forms, which is great. Eventually I think that will branch out to a red ball and white ball coach and we may have different captains in different forms of cricket.

“At the moment it’s about trusting the Australian cricket team again.”

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