Sachin Tendulkar was one of the many legends who was felicitated to mark India's 500th Test match, and while sitting back and enjoying his country and New Zealand slug it out in an intriguing contest in Kanpur, the great man spoke about Test cricket's future, the beauty of Kanpur as a venue and what the future holds for Virat Kohli's team.
India, after a bit of a lull, when the "Fab Four" retired, have made some waves in Test match cricket, in particular, of late, with Kohli bringing his aggressive captaincy to the fore, and guiding a talented unit to impressive victories against formidable opposition home and abroad.
And Tendulkar believes this India team have it in them to dominate cricket in all formats. "I think it's a fabulous combination that we have," Tendulkar, who played a staggering 200 out of India's 500 Test matches, in his glittering career, said in an interview on Star Sports as the match carried on.
"The best part about all these players is that they are all young, so they're going to play for a while. I see this team, see them playing together for eight-ten years and dominating world cricket. We have the firepower and the balance is really nice.
"If we continue to stick to these players – obviously there will be a few changes here and there – but if the players are able to keep themselves fit, in good shape and conditions, then Indian cricket, we've got bright days ahead of us."
Bright is not a word that many would use when discussing the future of Test cricket at the moment. With the advent of T20 cricket and the popularity that the limited-overs format of the game has in the sport, Test cricket has found itself marginalized. Apart from England and Australia, crowds do not really come in droves to watch the best and most challenging format of the game, throwing its future in doubt.
Tendulkar believes the only way to keep the Test cricket candle burning is by bringing balance back into the game, which means the bowlers having an opportunity to make their impact, just as much, if not more than the batsmen.
"I think the future of Test cricket has to be a nice balance between bat and ball," Tendulkar added. "I sometime see that the balance is not right, it's too much in favour of the batsmen. And I fell, to be fair, because in T20, the batters go after the bowlers and 300 is no more a safe total in one-day cricket.
There has to be a format where the bowlers dominate a bit."
The bowlers have found it tough so far in Kanpur, with the India batsmen taking advantage of a flattish wicket, with very little bounce and demons in it. While they did lose a wicket in the first hour, that of KL Rahul, who outside-edged one off Mitchell Santner, India have, largely, found it comfortable on Day 1 morning, something that doesn't surprise Tendulkar.
"It's a typical Kanpur wicket, not much has happened," the man who owns pretty much every batting record that matters said. "The first wicket that India lost, the ball spun a little bit and that is a good sign. When you know that New Zealand will bat fourth in the Test match, that's a positive sign.
But, a long way to go, not much has happened so far, a long way to go. Test cricket is all about knowing how to pace yourself, when to slow down and how to play a full match for five days. It's not just about bowling three overs, it is about going session to session."