Kumble convinced T20 has improved quality of Tests

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The Independent Online

The former India captain Anil Kumble believes Twenty20 cricket has improved Test cricket. Kumble says that the attacking nature of the shorter form of the game has spread to Tests.

The quick thrills of Twenty20 are thought by many to detract from the traditional five-day format, but the veteran leg-spinner, speaking in South Africa where he is a guest of the national board, insists that five-day cricket remains at the pinnacle of the sport.

Kumble, who turns 40 in October, still plays 20-over cricket and will again be in the country next month when he captains the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Champions League Twenty20.

"There is no doubt that the best form of the game remains the Test cricket format," he said. "At the same time, T20 cricket has helped significantly boost the image of the longer version of the game.

"Just a couple of years ago, 250 was a good score to post at the end of a day's play in a Test match. Now, Virender Sehwag can score those runs in a single day's play. It has certainly made the Test cricket offering more attractive."

Kumble quit international cricket in 2008 after an 18-year career that saw him take 619 Test wickets in 132 matches. He called for greater investment in youth cricket. He said: "There needs to be a lot of mentoring. The pressure facing international cricketers is immense. It is not easy to stay composed, if a cricketer does not have the right support."

Kumble, who revealed recently that he planned to launch a spinning academy with Muttiah Muralitharan, praised the work being done with slow bowlers in South Africa. He said: "There are some good young spinners coming through the system in South Africa, and I was impressed by the enthusiasm shown, and the talent on display."