Kevin Pietersen says the International Cricket Council needs to fund a war chest to keep coveted Twenty20 players such as Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum playing Test cricket for their countries instead of playing for Twenty20 franchises.
As the veteran prepares to again duel with fellow big-hitter Gayle, in Saturday night's Melbourne Big Bash League derby, he lamented the left-hander would be at the MCG rather than in Sydney preparing for the New Year's Test against Australia.
While Pietersen dismissed a plan by Australian Cricketers' Association president Greg Dyer for Test nations to be able to recruit rivals' out-of-favour players, such as him for a country other than England, he said change was needed to stem the "suffering" of Test cricket.
"There's some catch-up that has to be played. Some of us playing for other countries, I don't think that's a recipe for success - but something has to be done," Pietersen said on Friday after arriving back in Melbourne from England.
"You cannot have so many of the guys that are attractions to the younger kids playing just the shorter form of the game.
"Something has to be done for Test cricket to survive, because I know first-hand, having coached kids from all around the world about a month ago with my foundation in Dubai, that they've got no interest in Test cricket. None."
To get kids interested in Tests again, Pietersen said the longest form of the game needed the biggest names. Even though wages were paid by international teams' boards, Pietersen said the ICC should subsidise that as a means of bolstering Test cricket as a whole, by creating Test wages that trump what is on offer to players in competitions such as the Indian Premier League and BBL.
"The ICC controls world cricket and they should say: 'Right, we need Gayle, we need even [Kieron] Pollard, we need [Darren] Sammy, we need [Dwayne] Bravo, we need Andre Russell'. Andre Russell is bowling at 150km/h, whacking big sixes in the Big Bash. He should be doing that in a Test match, he shouldn't be doing it here," he said.
"It's just a sad state of affairs that these guys here, who are star attractions all around the world and they command big numbers from T20 franchises, it's just sad they're not playing the longer form of the game.
"Test players should be paid a hell of a lot of money. That's the only way they're going to get the guys back playing. They should get paid so much more money than we get paid playing domestic tournaments."
Pietersen said the potential for a record domestic crowd at the MCG to watch himself and the Stars against Gayle and the Renegades underlined the appeal of the format.
"If we get 50,000 here, that's almost as many as were here for Boxing Day," he said.
"It is a Melbourne derby. It is sort of a religion in this city, sport, and that's why it's so amazing. As much cricket as some of us have played throughout our career you still get those goosebumps feelings and still look at stadiums like this and say it's an honour and a privilege to turn up and play in front of a load of people."
The Stars and Renegades have each signed a replacement player and, as per tournament rules, they have been elevated to the squad for the first match following their signing.
The Stars have signed left-arm paceman Jackson Coleman while Scott Boland is with the Test squad. Coleman is in the squad for wicketkeeper Tom Triffitt, whose place in the XI will be taken by Pietersen. Peter Handscomb will again take the gloves. They are also hopeful John Hastings will overcome a shoulder injury to replace Boland in the team.
The Renegades have signed wicketkeeper-batsman Ben McDermott, the 21-year-old son of Australia bowling coach Craig McDermott, in place of injured batsman Callum Ferguson. He comes into the squad in place of spinner Nathan Hauritz, who has been dropped after conceding 0-29 off two overs in the loss to Perth on Wednesday.
STARS (from): David Hussey (c), Michael Beer, Jackson Coleman, James Faulkner, Evan Gulbis, Peter Handscomb, John Hastings, Ben Hilfenhaus, Glenn Maxwell, Kevin Pietersen, Marcus Stoinis, Luke Wright, Adam Zampa.
RENEGADES (from): Aaron Finch (c), Tom Beaton, Dwayne Bravo, Tom Cooper, Xavier Doherty, Cameron Gannon, Chris Gayle, Ben McDermott, Nate Rimmington, Matthew Short, Chris Tremain, Matthew Wade, Cameron White.