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Waugh urges skippers to safeguard Tests

AAP logoAAP 2/11/2016 Rob Forsaith

Steve Waugh has called on cricket's three most influential captains to safeguard the future of Tests.

The relevance of the sport's oldest format has been a hot topic in recent weeks, with Shane Warne, Mark Taylor and Allan Border among many to suggest something must change.

Four-day Tests and scrapping the toss have been floated as two options that could help the format flourish in an age when Twenty20 is commanding more and more resources and attention around the world.

Waugh feels Steve Smith, Alastair Cook and Virat Kohli must show leadership on the issue and ensure Test cricket remains the pinnacle.

"Obviously there is money to be made in Twenty20 but it's up to the captains - Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Cook - they and their nations have to keep saying Test cricket is where it's at," Waugh told AAP on the eve of his Captain's Ride charity event.

"The leaders have to take responsibility, because then the young kids hear that message they want to play it.

"Whereas in the West Indies you had Chris Gayle saying he'd rather play Twenty20 and you see what's happened to their cricket.

"Test cricket must be the pinnacle. It's unique. It tests you physically, technically, mentally, socially and emotionally."

Smith, speaking on the eve of a three-match series against South Africa that starts on Thursday following a low-key build up, opined the Australian public cared as much about Tests as his team does.

Regarding the prospect of scrapping the toss and/or shortening Tests by one day, Smith sat on the fence.

"It's obviously pretty early days in the talks about that and I guess that's well above my pay grade," he said.

"We'll do what we are told and obviously we're always looking to try and improve and innovate in our game to keep it going as long as we can."

The advent of day-night Tests, which allow fans to attend a night session after finishing work or school, has made it easier for Cricket Australia to market a format that fails to attract big crowds apart from when England tour.

Players have been less supportive but Smith suggested he was pleased with how the new pink ball performed last week in the Sheffield Shield.

"It's not as unpredictable as the previous ball," he said.

"They've got the black seam on it, so I felt I could see that a lot easier than the previous ball."

Waugh is an ardent fan of day-night Tests and would have no issue with them becoming the norm in five or ten years.

"It wouldn't worry me ... if it makes Test cricket survive then all the better," he said.

"It's a great concept. It's exciting and it's creates a real buzz around Test cricket."

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