Mumbai:The Twenty20 wave is posing a threat to one-day cricket's existence but Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Tuesday disagreed with Australian spin legend Shane Warne's suggestion that the 50-over format should be scrapped altogether.
"That's his personal opinion, but I feel 50 over games should remain (in the cricket calendar). People have started loving Twenty20 matches. But I feel more Test matches should be played. I would personally like to play 12-15 Tests in a year," the combative off spinner said here on Tuesday.
Warne had asked for scrapping ODIs to make way for only Twenty20 games and Tests in the calendar as he felt the shelf life of 50-over ties had long expired.
Harbhajan, the second-best Indian spin bowler after Anil Kumble in the number of Test wickets taken, was here to promote Neo Sports channel's six-month bouquet of Tests and ODI cricket, other than the Cricket Board's Corporate Trophy, from next month.
The Indian spin spearhead wanted more effort to be put in by the cricket authorities to promote Test cricket and echoed Sachin Tendulkar's views that the gates should be thrown open to school children on week-ends when the five-day matches take place.
"The Ashes series (between England and Australia) has been drawing capacity crowds. A marketing buzz needs to be created to attract the crowd into the stadium. Gates should be free for children on week-ends", Harbhajan said.
He pointed out how crowds throng the stadium when Tendulkar takes part in Ranji Trophy ties.
The feisty bowler wants India to snatch the number one Test spot vacated by Australia following their 1-2 defeat to England in the Ashes contest that concluded on Sunday.
"We have not played much Test cricket because of the schedule, but we can go towards gaining the number one spot by knocking off Sri Lanka 3-0 instead of 2-1", he said.
India will host Sri Lanka in a three-Test series in November-December, their first contest in the traditional form of the game since beating New Zealand away from home in April.
Harbhajan also said the entire Indian team was keenly looking forward to the season ahead, during which they would also face Australia.
"We are to play against my favourite team Australia in a seven-match ODI series (in October-November) and I hope we can beat them 5-2. Australia have long been on top and now other teams have beaten them. We have done well against them over the last four years. Now the victory in the Ashes is good for English cricket," he said.
Harbhajan said the Kumble's retirement has presented a big opportunity for his leg spin successor Amit Mishra to make his mark in Tests.
"I have enjoyed bowling with Anilbhai and learned a lot. He is retired now and it has given a great opportunity for Amit Mishra to be successful at that level," he said.
"In the opportunities he's got so far he's done well. He is hard-working and I'm sure he will do well," the senior bowler said.
Harbhajan conceded that the absence of Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan would affect the team on the forthcoming tour to Sri Lanka and in the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa, but the team was strong enough to get over the handicaps.
"It will make some difference, but we still have a strong batting and bowling line up to do well," he said.
He also welcomed the scheduling of the Corporate Trophy from September 1-8 and felt it would be a good platform for the youngsters to showcase their wares and for the experienced players to get into the groove for the season ahead.
"It provides the youngsters a good opportunity to do well against the top players. They will learn a lot. It's a great opportunity for us also before the Sri Lanka series," said Harbhajan, adding he would lead the Air India (Blue) team that has India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and RP Singh in it its ranks.