Harmison voices Twenty20 concern

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Steve Harmison believes that cricketers could start shaping their technique for Twenty20 cricket rather than Tests.

Test match cricket has traditionally been the pinnacle of the sport, but Harmison feels that the money in Twenty20 could change priorities.

"I have no problem with the people who play Twenty20 being rewarded financially," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"But it might (lead to) young players not wanting to play Test cricket and honing their skills for Twenty20."

Harmison, who has retired from England's one-day side, made his comments just a day after England team-mate Kevin Pietersen said that Twenty20 could spell the death knell for 50-over cricket.

Sir Allen Stanford's creation of a 50m, winner-takes-all annual series between England and a 'Super Stars' team in Antigua, coupled with the unveiling of a Twenty20 Champions League with a 2.5m first prize have created massive interest in the shortest form of the game.

However, Harmison believes that while one day internationals might be a casualty, cricket as a whole will benefit from the injection of cash and interest that Twenty20 cricket has generated.

"Anything that is raising the profile has to be good for the game irrespective of money involved," he said.

"What's happened now is that people are talking about the game. Around the cricketing world you get kids of 10 or 12 who are playing football or basketball and pushing cricket aside because the financial gains are not there.

"Now people are looking at Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff rather than looking at Steven Gerrard or Michael Owen.

"It's just started and it's only going to get bigger and better because the Indians are competing, Stanford is competing so it could be a battle of who has the most money."

Although Twenty20 is often played to full houses, Test match cricket around the world is often played in near-empty stadiums.

And Harmison argues that something needs to be done to increase the appeal of Tests.

"All the concentration that's gone into Twenty20 could move onto Test cricket and how we can make that better," he added.

"Maybe (we should) play less against the same team in a series and more against other countries - an around the world league basis to throw an idea in.

"You might get Test cricket being watched a bit more."

Harmison, however, has no plans to return to the one-day international fold or to try to force his way into the Twenty20 team, concentrating instead on winning back a Test place.

"I think I might have played my last one-day game (for England), but I love playing Test cricket and that's what I stopped playing one-day cricket for," he said.

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