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T20 is entertainment, Test cricket is education - Arjuna Ranatunga

Arjuna Ranatunga in action
For Arjuna Ranatunga, Tests still remain number one
©REUTERS / Action Images

Sri Lanka's World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga admits he's not the biggest fan of Twenty20 cricket, but he reckons his 1996 World Cup side would have been pretty handy at the shortest format of the game.

When we asked him how well he thought the side he led to World Cup glory in India in 1996 would go in T20, he began by revealing his thoughts on Twenty20 cricket.

"I'm not a great fan of of Twenty20 cricket," he admitted.

"I'm a big-time Test cricket and one-day cricket lover. I always feel that Twenty20 is more like entertainment, and for me Test cricket is education," he added.

For the first time this year, the soon-to-commence Asia Cup will be played as a Twenty20 competition, giving the five competing sides plenty of match practice ahead of the ICC World T20 in March.

It is another example of the game's development, and as Tests were first complemented by One-Day Internationals (which themselves evolved from 60, to 55 and then 50 overs per side), now Twenty20 is part of the modern game.

For Ranatunga though, Twenty20 has a role to play, but it mustn't impinge on the other formats of the game.

"I think a lot of people wanted entertainment as well so you need to accompany Twenty20 but not ruining Test cricket and the 50-over tournaments."

Sri Lanka's current side are the reigning ICC World T20 and Asia Cup champions and while they now have fine players such as Tillakaratne Dilshan and Lasith Malinga leading the way, Ranatunga reckons his team would be more than a match for current sides.

And with Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana opening the batting, further support coming from Ranatunga himself, then Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muraliatharan keeping things tight with the ball, it is hard to argue with him.

"I think, coming back to my side in Twenty20, we might have done pretty well because we had a very strong batting line-up, we were very consistent in our bowling and we were a brilliant fielding side.

"I'm sure we might have done pretty well but it's something I haven't thought about...until you asked this question!"

What do you think? Who would your money be on if Sri Lanka's 1996 side took on the 2016 side?

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