Sport

Steve Waugh urges ICC to save West Indies and preserve Test cricket

Steve Waugh has compared the International Cricket Council's apparent lack of action to drag the West Indies out of their downward spiral to the unlikely scenario of rugby allowing the All Blacks "to wither and die on the vine".

While the former Australia Test skipper has dismissed critics who say Twenty20 is "bad" for cricket, Waugh urged the ICC to save the West Indies to ensure Test cricket remains the ultimate format - especially at a time when it was feared South Africa's AB de Villiers could abandon it.

Calling for action: Steve Waugh believes the ICC should be doing more to help the West Indies and Test cricket.
Calling for action: Steve Waugh believes the ICC should be doing more to help the West Indies and Test cricket. Photo: Ben Rushton

"Someone has to step up and say: 'We can't let this happen to the West Indies'," Waugh said. "It's a bit like watching the All Blacks wither and die on the vine. Do you think rugby would let the All Blacks die?

"We have to ensure the West Indies are a force to be reckoned with because you can't play Test cricket between three or four decent nations. Someone must ensure they get back to the level they were [once] at."

Waugh, who described the poor crowds attending Test matches as cricket's biggest issue, suggested a uniform payment for all Test teams, saying that was something the ICC could impose.

"I think the ICC needs to put a fee on Tests and ensure everyone is paid equally," he said. "They have to do that if they want to save Test cricket.

"The danger is if an AB de Villiers says 'I've had enough Test cricket I'm going to play Twenty20', that would be catastrophic for Test cricket if a player of his calibre [left]."

Waugh said the people who have described the Big Bash League phenomenon as "bad" are not seeing the bigger picture.

"The more people exposed to any form of cricket has to be good for cricket," he said. "Many of these people [at BBL games] probably haven't been to cricket before and if they say: 'We love this game' it's likely they'll watch a one-dayer and a Test."

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