Collingwood says players could opt for T20 rather than ‘mental torture’ of the Ashes

May 5th, 2009 - 7:35 pm ICT by ANI  

London, May 5 (ANI): England Twenty20 captain Paul Collingwood believes that future generations of players could choose to play T20 cricket rather than go through the ‘mental torture’ of an Ashes series.

In a major feature interview in the June issue of The Wisden Cricketer magazine, Collingwood says: “My generation saw Test cricket and playing in the Ashes as the ultimate. That was my dream. I gave up the one-day captaincy because it was affecting my Test game and I wanted to keep my Test place. Maybe in the future today’s young players will prioritise one-day and Twenty20. We have to be careful. If you can get 10 times the money for playing a few weeks of Twenty20 than for months of mental torture in the Ashes, then I’m afraid to say some people would take the first option.”

“We have to make sure the pay and bonuses for Test cricket and Twenty20 are closer, otherwise players will concentrate on Twenty20 from an early age,” he stresses. “If that’s the way we want to go as a world sport, then fine, keep it as it is. If Test cricket is the ultimate, then we are going to have to do something about remuneration.

“A select few get mega-deals through Test cricket. If you do well, things come along but, playing in the IPL, your profile shoots up. To me the IPL is a bonus and I really hope young players coming into the game will think the same way.”

Collingwood also believes there needs to be more financial incentive for county players to seek England contracts. “At the moment some county cricketers have basic salaries not far off England contracts. Plenty of county players now earn more than 100,000 bucks and that’s for six months. Our contracts (England players) are for a year. I’m not having a go, because we do fantastically well, but shouldn’t the gap be a lot further apart so there is a real incentive to get one of those England contracts?”

Money aside, he praises the ‘enormous skill levels’ needed to succeed in T20. “I thought Twenty20 had something right away. People picked up on the crowds because they were obvious - they were there, you could see them. Now they are starting to appreciate the enormous skill levels. Test cricket is about the mental side. As a batsman you apply yourself to make a barrier in front of the wicket. I seriously think 20 overs is more skill-based. It’s a fantastic game with immense pressure. You couldn’t keep up that intensity for a whole day,” he tells the magazine.

The June issue of The Wisden Cricketer, the world’s best-selling cricket monthly, is on sale at leading outlets from May 8. (ANI)

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