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Test cricket has priority, says Strauss

ENGLAND captain Andrew Strauss last night hit back at West Indian counterpart Chris Gayle insisting Test cricket should remain the most important form of the game.<br /><br />Strauss sparked the row in the build-up to the first Test at Lord&rsquo;s last week, criticising Gayle for joining his West Indies team-mates just two days before the series begun because of his Indian Premier League commitments.<br /><br />Gayle responded by insisting Strauss &ldquo;shouldn&rsquo;t sleep with Chris on his mind&rdquo; before adding he didn&rsquo;t care about the future of Test cricket.<br /><br />But Strauss grabbed the final word ahead of the second Test which gets underway at the Riverside today, standing by his criticism of Gayle and reiterating his stance that the five-day format remained an integral part of the future of the game.<br /><br />&ldquo;I believe firmly it&rsquo;s a primary form of the game and something that deserves respect in the way you prepare for it,&rdquo; the Middlesex opener said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s quite a personal situation for him because he only came back a couple of days before the first Test match and he&rsquo;s had some criticism for doing that.<br /><br />&ldquo;If I was a team-mate of his and I was walking out to play a Test match tomorrow you probably don&rsquo;t want to hear your captain saying that he doesn&rsquo;t value Test cricket very highly.&rdquo;<br /><br />Gayle&rsquo;s comments came after his side slumped to a heavy 10-wicket defeat in the opening Test at Lord&rsquo;s, prompting questions as to his commitment to the series. But while the Windies skipper refused to be drawn into a war of words with his England counterpart yesterday, he stood by his comments on the future of Test cricket.<br /><br />&ldquo;That&rsquo;s my personal view pertaining to me and my relationship with Test cricket,&rdquo; Gayle added. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know how long my future will last with Test cricket, taking into consideration a lot of cricket I&rsquo;ve been playing and this Twenty20 game which has come on board and has just been brilliant.<br /><br />&ldquo;Test cricket will always be here but it&rsquo;s all about me and my own future and that is how it was meant to come across.&rdquo;