Cricket June 11, 2012

Save Test cricket, sacrifice the one-day game

Jacob Astill
I don't think it's any coincidence that many international Test sides are experiencing batting fragility; a solid technique is often sacrificed in limited-overs cricket, in favour of a bit of extra power and the subsequent higher likelihood of boundaries
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I recently read an article from ESPNcricinfo's assistant editor, Sidharth Monga, entitled "Why pay lip service to Test cricket?", where he listed his very strong viewpoints about the possibility (or lack thereof) of successful coexistence between Test matches and Twenty20 cricket, specifically the IPL. Honestly, I found this article fascinating. As an Australian, I've never understood the IPL. I've never watched it, never had any interest in it, and genuinely could not even tell you if it's televised in Australia or not.

To hear an Indian vilify what many fanatical supporters consider to be the cricket world's entertainment centrepiece, though, made me sit up and take notice. Sidharth made many points that I inherently agreed with, specifically that Twenty20 cricket has ruined what are considered 'classical' cricketing skills. I don't think it's any coincidence that many international Test sides are experiencing batting fragility; a solid technique is often sacrificed in limited-overs cricket, in favour of a bit of extra power and the subsequent higher likelihood of boundaries being scored. The consistent line and length valued in Tests, meanwhile, supposedly makes bowlers easier to hit in these shorter games.

Sidharth then went further than I thought I'd ever see any Indian fan go when speaking of the IPL: he showed insight in stating that "Twenty20 is killing Tests", while also comparing the competition to a parasite, stating "the IPL is taking from Indian domestic cricket and is giving back nothing.

To end, Sidharth said with a hint of sarcasm that rather than 'pretending to care', we might as well let Test cricket 'die with dignity'. But why should the original format of cricket, the game from whence all other games stemmed, be the one to step aside? I liken this to asking the sophisticated, cultured, eternal genius of Sachin Tendulkar to step aside in favour of a brash, aggressive 17 year old who can plonk the ball over the pickets a couple of times a season, but who is ultimately is an unsustainable attraction.

For those of us who have an unblinkered view of the world of cricket, Test matches, when played properly, are the ultimate cricketing contest. The skills, stamina, and concentration levels of 22 players are tested to their fullest extent for five days. A close Test match (of which there are many examples if you know where to look) can be more exciting than a dozen close finishes in Twenty20 cricket.

On the reverse, the boundary rainfall that we inevitably see in Twenty20 cricket ends up becoming, well, boring. The bowlers end up looking like bowling machines for batsmen to have their way with, in what no one can deny is a lopsided contest between bat and ball. And while a last-over finish in Twenty20 may be exciting when taken individually, when you consider that the teams only have 240 balls in which to find a difference between themselves, then it's not surprising that these close finishes are a dime a dozen.

Now all this is not to say that Test cricket is faultless. There are boring Test series, but that has more to do with the quality of pitches than the bowlers. The Edgbaston Test match in England against West Indies has featured some interesting management of the playing-light situation, but we've still managed to see some enthralling cricket between a team looking to instil itself as the best in the world, and a West Indies side that is a genuine underdog.

One thing Sidharth neglected to take into consideration is that outside India and the West Indies, the vast, vast majority of Test cricketers would sacrifice their pay-packet from the IPL to be allowed to fulfil the highest honour: to represent the country in Test cricket. Yes, nearly every player 'desires' to play the IPL. But this desire is not a 'want', it is often a 'need'.

The West Indies and New Zealand boards seemingly don't pay their international players a decent wage, and therefore they need to play in the IPL. Australian cricketers don't play in the IPL because it has been a lifelong dream, but they do it because they can get a few hundred thousand dollars for eight weeks' work. Just because Virender Sehwag and some other Indian cricketers don't set any store in Test cricket that doesn't mean the rest of the world doesn't either.

While the IPL remains popular, Twenty20 cricket is most likely not going anywhere. And Test cricket should not be made to go. If the manufactured clash between these two forms of the game is not an ideological dispute but a genuine concern for player workload and welfare, then I present a compromise. We need to remove 50-overs cricket from the international schedule.

I consider the fact that the one-day form of the game has been neglected in the conversation about player workload means that it has been forgotten, because 50-overs cricket is absolutely not the format that is "here to stay". As I write this, the Australian side are preparing to head to England and Ireland for a few weeks, for six one-dayers in a four week period. No Test matches, just another meaningless one-day series. And this is after England play three one-dayers in a week against West Indies following the Tests. Nothing like England playing eight one-dayers in a month to lessen the oppressive workload on their players ...

This upcoming period is not the only example over the last few years of international teams neglecting the Test matches and playing just one-dayers. And don't think showpiece tournaments like last year's World Cup are untouchable. Yes, India won and they did very well to put all the pressure from their home fans aside, and it made us all feel warm and fuzzy deep inside. But the tournament took six weeks to conclude. Meanwhile, this year's Olympic Games will host approximately 300 events, packing them into just two weeks.

Australia's end-of-season tri-series seems to take twice as long as the World Cup, and what is the Champion's Trophy (which, mercifully, will be scrapped after the 2013 edition) but an excuse to try and get more cricket on the calendar every two years? All this and yet Australia and South Africa have to square off in a two Test series (predictably finishing 1-1).

Wise men like Kevin Pietersen have seen the writing on the wall, with the naturalised Englishman saying that he quit 50-overs cricket because he feared "falling out of love with cricket". He's still going to play Test cricket. Of those players who decide to pick and choose international formats when nearing the end of their careers, you don't see anyone opting not to play Test cricket if they actually believe they'd keep getting picked.

Since the commencement of Twenty20, the 50-overs version is no longer the cool younger brother to Test cricket, the format you take your girlfriend or your kids to while the national board sits back and counts the money. It has no potential to bring in new markets like Twenty20 does, nor does it have the gravitas of Test cricket, the traditional game for lovers of cricket.

In short, the 50-overs format is irrelevant, and it should be treated as such. Test cricket does need some work, with some experimentation with night-time Test matches hopefully coming soon. But those who consider the IPL be brilliant and faultless and the only way to entertain the cricketing public should remember there are others out there who still love their Test cricket. So why get rid of it?

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on February 3, 2013, 3:46 GMT

    That's rellay thinking at a high level

  • mor on June 28, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    I am not a fan of t20. I think OD is much more vital to cricket than t20 is. Someone else said scrap IT20 and just let them be the franchises. I agree with that. International T20 are just insignificant. Keep the Internation game with Tests and ODIs. If players want to play T20 there are enough franchises about for them to do so.

  • Dave on June 24, 2012, 0:37 GMT

    Keep Test Cricket. Do not get rid of the foundation of a sport. When T20 becomes boring and people don't want to spend 4 hours watching a game, will it then become T10 and eventually no cricket at all? Reduce the amount of ODI's to a max of 3 or 5 per comp and same for T20's. If T20 and ODI's over saturate the market people will stop watching. A huge amount of followers are just waiting for test cricket as it is sometimes a long time between matches and keeps the audience wanting it.

  • danoz on June 23, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    instead of the champions league 20/20 comp which is a waste of the cricket calendar the should have a allstar test series with the northern hemispere(england,sri lanka,india,bangladesh,pakistan and the west indies) vs the southern hemispere(australia,new zealand ,south africa and zimbabwe) played every 2 years altinating between the south and northern hemispere ie 1 series in england the next series in south africa and so on.

    have a 3 game 6 day test series.

    the teams look like this

    northern hemispere 1 gayle w.i 2 sewag ind 3 trott eng 4 tendulkar ind 5 pietersen eng 6 chanderpaul w.i 7 sangakarra s.l 8 bresnan eng 9 ajdmal pak 10 broad eng 11 anderson eng

    southern hemispere 1 m hussey aus 2 smith s.a 3 kallis s.a 4 ponting aus 5 clarke aus 6 de villiers s.a 7 mac cullum n.z 8 vittori n.z 9 philandar s.a 10 cummings aus 11 steyn s.a

    the north would have the strongest team at present but if the game was played 10 years ago the south would have had the strongest team

    whata game

  • Mike from Adelaide on June 17, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    The people in India seem to think the rest of the world cares about IPL. Aside from the people earning the money and the (now past) last chance to see some Aussie greats for a couple of extra years; nobody outside India cares. It took ODIs 25 years to become stale and another 12 to be on the brink of death. 20/20 is already stale and its death is also inevitable as the "new" supporters will get bored with the hit and giggle. If only Australia, NZ, England and SA were still playing tests, that version of the game would still survive. You can keep the IPL for as long as you can stomach it. Don't try to steal our tests just because you've realised we don't care about your competition.

  • Grant on June 17, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    My ideal compact tour between cricket nations would consist of 2 tests, 2 ODI's and a T20, not as independent contests only, but as an integrated series. The number of matches may vary but the idea is to mimic a soccer match progressing from the main match 'halves' (2 tests) to shortened extra time 'halves' (2 ODI's) to a penalty shoot-out (T20's) to determine the overall winner. In this way tests can retain their primary status while ODI's and T20's can be appreciated either for entertainment value only or in the context of being the crucial tie-breakers.

  • Jayaesh on June 17, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    Lot of empty rhetoric and diatribe from Siddarth Monga in that particular article.this unerring belief that test cricket is only true form of cricket and looking down on shorter formats smacks of elitism and Victorian snobbery, if test matches were so popular it woudn't be played in empty stadiums with practically zero Trp's.What is this thing about Sehwag choosing to play in IPL not for country,Right now Euro's 2012 are going on and most of the players are coming after the back of 9 months long strenous,backbreaking domestic season of Football and some of them are injured,but have you ever heard Football media/ fans questioning that a Wayne Rooney or Rolanldo should have rested for there clubs to be fit for the Euro's ,never ever !! .IPL gives domestic cricketers money and a platform to be recognised and appreciated by the fans.Test cricket was never popular in India it was something Maharajas and royalty indulged in.Cricket took of in India after the 1983 world cup win.

  • omkar on June 17, 2012, 7:50 GMT

    t20 should be scrapped off. A 20 overs game has very less ups and downs, that's why it is boring for cricket lovers.

  • muhtasim on June 15, 2012, 16:05 GMT

    Test cricket may have lost its appeal in the subcontinent, but its still quite popular in England, Australia and South Africa. One just has to look at the size of the crowd during the Ashes test matches to see how popular it is among cricket lovers.

  • Jacob on June 15, 2012, 12:38 GMT

    Tests can be scrapped. A game which requires 5 days to complete is simply not relevant in todays world. Possibly for purists we can retain Ashes. Let rest of the world move on!

  • John on February 3, 2013, 3:46 GMT

    That's rellay thinking at a high level

  • mor on June 28, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    I am not a fan of t20. I think OD is much more vital to cricket than t20 is. Someone else said scrap IT20 and just let them be the franchises. I agree with that. International T20 are just insignificant. Keep the Internation game with Tests and ODIs. If players want to play T20 there are enough franchises about for them to do so.

  • Dave on June 24, 2012, 0:37 GMT

    Keep Test Cricket. Do not get rid of the foundation of a sport. When T20 becomes boring and people don't want to spend 4 hours watching a game, will it then become T10 and eventually no cricket at all? Reduce the amount of ODI's to a max of 3 or 5 per comp and same for T20's. If T20 and ODI's over saturate the market people will stop watching. A huge amount of followers are just waiting for test cricket as it is sometimes a long time between matches and keeps the audience wanting it.

  • danoz on June 23, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    instead of the champions league 20/20 comp which is a waste of the cricket calendar the should have a allstar test series with the northern hemispere(england,sri lanka,india,bangladesh,pakistan and the west indies) vs the southern hemispere(australia,new zealand ,south africa and zimbabwe) played every 2 years altinating between the south and northern hemispere ie 1 series in england the next series in south africa and so on.

    have a 3 game 6 day test series.

    the teams look like this

    northern hemispere 1 gayle w.i 2 sewag ind 3 trott eng 4 tendulkar ind 5 pietersen eng 6 chanderpaul w.i 7 sangakarra s.l 8 bresnan eng 9 ajdmal pak 10 broad eng 11 anderson eng

    southern hemispere 1 m hussey aus 2 smith s.a 3 kallis s.a 4 ponting aus 5 clarke aus 6 de villiers s.a 7 mac cullum n.z 8 vittori n.z 9 philandar s.a 10 cummings aus 11 steyn s.a

    the north would have the strongest team at present but if the game was played 10 years ago the south would have had the strongest team

    whata game

  • Mike from Adelaide on June 17, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    The people in India seem to think the rest of the world cares about IPL. Aside from the people earning the money and the (now past) last chance to see some Aussie greats for a couple of extra years; nobody outside India cares. It took ODIs 25 years to become stale and another 12 to be on the brink of death. 20/20 is already stale and its death is also inevitable as the "new" supporters will get bored with the hit and giggle. If only Australia, NZ, England and SA were still playing tests, that version of the game would still survive. You can keep the IPL for as long as you can stomach it. Don't try to steal our tests just because you've realised we don't care about your competition.

  • Grant on June 17, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    My ideal compact tour between cricket nations would consist of 2 tests, 2 ODI's and a T20, not as independent contests only, but as an integrated series. The number of matches may vary but the idea is to mimic a soccer match progressing from the main match 'halves' (2 tests) to shortened extra time 'halves' (2 ODI's) to a penalty shoot-out (T20's) to determine the overall winner. In this way tests can retain their primary status while ODI's and T20's can be appreciated either for entertainment value only or in the context of being the crucial tie-breakers.

  • Jayaesh on June 17, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    Lot of empty rhetoric and diatribe from Siddarth Monga in that particular article.this unerring belief that test cricket is only true form of cricket and looking down on shorter formats smacks of elitism and Victorian snobbery, if test matches were so popular it woudn't be played in empty stadiums with practically zero Trp's.What is this thing about Sehwag choosing to play in IPL not for country,Right now Euro's 2012 are going on and most of the players are coming after the back of 9 months long strenous,backbreaking domestic season of Football and some of them are injured,but have you ever heard Football media/ fans questioning that a Wayne Rooney or Rolanldo should have rested for there clubs to be fit for the Euro's ,never ever !! .IPL gives domestic cricketers money and a platform to be recognised and appreciated by the fans.Test cricket was never popular in India it was something Maharajas and royalty indulged in.Cricket took of in India after the 1983 world cup win.

  • omkar on June 17, 2012, 7:50 GMT

    t20 should be scrapped off. A 20 overs game has very less ups and downs, that's why it is boring for cricket lovers.

  • muhtasim on June 15, 2012, 16:05 GMT

    Test cricket may have lost its appeal in the subcontinent, but its still quite popular in England, Australia and South Africa. One just has to look at the size of the crowd during the Ashes test matches to see how popular it is among cricket lovers.

  • Jacob on June 15, 2012, 12:38 GMT

    Tests can be scrapped. A game which requires 5 days to complete is simply not relevant in todays world. Possibly for purists we can retain Ashes. Let rest of the world move on!

  • B S Kumar on June 15, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    Are we joking here? All that is good in Test cricket can be carried by the 50 over game. The endless days of pure attrition may please be put to rest. Sport is about entertainment and enjoyment, not about suffering and watching others suffer. I really don't want to be "Test"ed. And no, I don't care about old skills dying out. There aren't very many people today who can light and cook in a coal stove, are there? The point is not the stove, it is the meal we make on it. Test cricket should pay the price for having been snobbishly exclusive for far too long. It cannot recruit new people to the game. The 50 over game suffices to test skills and remain exciting. T20 for pushing those skills to new levels. No, I don't care to watch any genius plodding his way to a historic, unathletic, "hard fought" 100. I am happy with my genius flicking a six off a yorker off the last ball to win the game!

  • umar on June 15, 2012, 7:17 GMT

    I am not a fan of tests at all. I think they should go. IT cannot sustain itself by paying for itself, so why should cricket fund it from T20s and one-days. As far as i know only australia and england really enjoy test cricket, so they should continue playing it. the rest can be happy playing only one days and t20s

  • Salman Ali Rai on June 15, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    I might sound absurd to many of you here but I seriously think that we ourselves have created this mess. Cricket has become a mere joke to many of us and everyone wants to tweak it in a way he/she pleases. Do we see golf fans complaining about its lengthy format and suggesting a mini golf world cup? There are people who don't like the middle passage of a football game and only like to watch goals at the end of the game so do they force a world cup of only penalty shoot outs? Some don't like a 5 set tennis match so do they suggest a match consisting of only 7 tie breaker points? NO the answer to above questions is a big NO!! So why are we so much obsessed about reducing the length of a cricket match. Now people are rooting for t20, 3 years from now they would consider t20 boring and would force for a 5 over match. What then?? Cricket doesn't have to suffer to accomodate those people who do not respect its originality. Period!

  • Cool Monk on June 15, 2012, 1:05 GMT

    Tests are like 42 KM marathon.

    T20s are like 100 m sprint.

    Sprinters are NOT marathoners and vice versa. They require and demand different skills. To say marathon is the 'real' thing, and sprints are just a distraction is absurd. Period.

    Countries will need different teams to play tests and T20s. That's the way forward. As far as popularity goes, every remembers Usain Bolt or Carl Lewis, but I cannot remember any great marathoners.

  • Karthik O on June 14, 2012, 15:35 GMT

    What Test cricket needs is a champion. A championship. Similar to a Basketball season. To spark the interest of people, we need to get rid of the inconsequential Test series that are played on every tour. The ICC needs to come up with an yearly Test season that spans many months, features various test matches on different surfaces and countries, with quarters, semis and finals played on neutral venues. They should allot points to draws also which makes them more interesting. And finally pronounce a World Test champion every year. This will keep the interest of people going and give new life to test cricket.

  • Vijay on June 14, 2012, 14:23 GMT

    Furthermore, if you retain 50-Overs cricket, you will see Ireland, Netherlands, Canada, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Scotland and Bangladesh climb and become competitive way faster than they ever will with Tests. Global cricket expansion is virtually impossible with Test cricket. Ireland has already beaten Pakistan and England, while Bangladesh struggles 12 years on to win ONE test match. Even pre-Mugabe Zimbabwe didn't achieve anything in Tests, while they at least did well in ODIs until 2003. Kenya got to WC 2003 Semi-Finals but ICC and their own board failed them over Tests. In that case, how will you ever convince China, France, Russia to join the sport? Test cricket is very temperamentally English as well - it has never gotten popularity outside the Old Commonwealth, which excludes new entrants like BND, IRE and ZIM. You cannot expand Test cricket but you can expand 50-Overs cricket and thus retain the skills and quality factors and play a higher level of game.

  • AB on June 14, 2012, 9:37 GMT

    What is it about cricket that means we are so insecure about our traditional product - Test Match and First Class Cricket - that we constantly need to disparage and sideline it to try and attract "new fans" with some dumbed down version of the game. You don't see rugby union executives cutting the number of 6 nations games to try and make room for some new 7s tournament, or golf authorities scrapping The Open because a certain sector of casual fans with no real interest in golf would rather watch some new crazy golf contest for a couple of hours.

    The way the players and real cricket fans concerns are being completely ignored in the scramble for money off the average football fan is disgraceful. Frankly, if they don't like proper cricket, then that's their loss. I recommend baseball as a faster paced alternative if Test cricket is not your thing.

    The single greatest sporting event ever invented - the Test Match - are in danger of being lost forever.

  • Shadab Raza on June 14, 2012, 5:13 GMT

    While talking about removing ODI from cricket, people usually forget that what cricket is today is because of ODI format. ODI requires fitness, stamina, pressure absorbing features much more than dull 5 day cricket or think-less T20. I can write 1000 words on this subject but I would like to conclude it by saying "please do not remove any format, instead, create 3 separate teams for each format and restrict player to involve in 2 formats together. Each team should announce players for each format in the begining of cricket year. Number of matches of each format can be finalize by ICC. Regards

  • Anonymous on June 13, 2012, 23:54 GMT

    Fans want to see a chase as we all saw during Stanley cup finals between Nj Devils and LA Lions. Once that ended, a new chase has began between Miami heats and OKlahoma. one day cricket and T20 provide a chase all the time and test cricket does not and as with the advent of emails, post offices must be allowed to die in dignity, test cricket must be allowd to die in dignity. My nephew is laughing that professional p;ayers play with sweater on and do not sweat and take breaks for lunch and tea. That is not sports, but a way to kill time for Maharajas and Nawabs.

  • Sam on June 13, 2012, 20:17 GMT

    Realistically, T20 are where the money is both for the boards and the players. Reason why its a hit? With the short attention span that most of us have these days, especially the younger generation, most people cannot spend 5 days or 8 hrs to follow a game. So, the slow death of Tests and maybe ODIs is inevitable.

  • Rohan Mark Jay on June 13, 2012, 20:05 GMT

    Good article. However I have noticed that test cricket which has always struggled for crowds. In particular in the last decade has come under more scrutiny. I am not sure if one day cricket will be discarded, however I can see in future either every series having one off test, or they may introduce a shortened period for a test match. Instead of 5 days it might 4 innings in 3 days or even 2 days, the format they have in school cricket in Sri Lanka Royal Thomian and Joe-pete contests. However no doubt test cricket is waning. We just have to accept it. Also I think the IPL 20/20 tournament is a fantastic tournament. Because of the venue. India is a great place for cricketers and cricket fans to visit anyway. IPL is a winner and I think is the future of cricket. I think we will see a serous reduction in test cricket played in the future. Test cricket will continue in a very reduced capacity. The future will be more dominated by 20/20 and One day cricket, with a one off test.

  • Arvind on June 13, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    Introducing relegations and promotions in Test cricket will make it interesting. In particular, teams such as India, which consistently perform poorly (0-8 away record, for example), should be suspended from playing Tests for, say 6 months or 1 year. That way, every Test match will have some meaning. Even if you have lost 7 tests in a row, you will still try to at least save the 8th one, instead of just turning up to lose another game, like Dhoni and co. did.

  • Vijay on June 13, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    Unless you get rid of the "draw" option of result, Test cricket is a 19th century game in a 21st century world. It is Test cricket that has to go, because you can actually end up paying for tickets for five days and end up with NO RESULT! Why not just shell out for a 5-match ODI series? Test matches are the most one-sided of all cricketing contests - teams like Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and other newcomers are hopelessly lost in Test cricket for decades until they get the hang of it. You got only 10 nations (2 of them complete losers) that can play Test cricket - to get into Test cricket, you need a decade's organized effort if that. 50 Overs Cricket can preserve the athletic contest and strong display of skills without demanding fans shelling out for 5 days straight with the promise that there actually could be no result. Players in declining years pick Test cricket to stick - that should tell you something... "declining years" sportsmen think Test cricket is more suitable..

  • Raghavan N on June 13, 2012, 15:38 GMT

    I do have to agree with this article.ODI's are slowly ending up as just a compulsion than add real value to the game.Take 4 series to be played this year.Australia playing England reduces the 4 test series between England and SA who are the top 2 teams to 3 tests.Windies play NZ in a t20 series in USA,then 5 odis but just 2 tests.India touring SL for 5 odis reduces our home NZ Series to 2 Tests.South Africa scrapped their Boxing Day Test for a T20 but play 3 meaningless odis after just 2 tests when they could have had an extra Test.Last year Australia played just 2 tests in South Africa when a 3 test series could have made more sense!

  • Monty on June 13, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    The ODI was introduced to have a shorter format of cricket so that can be more appealing. Now that we have T20, I think ODIs need to be scrapped. Plus, the quality of ODI cricket isnt really good and hence so many changes only to this format to improve it. Test cricket still provides great quality and entertainment. I think T20 alone can fill up the coffers of cricket boards and ICC. Test match should be left alone and its quality enjoyed.

  • CricFin on June 13, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    Test cricket is boring.I do not have 5 days for a game. ODI and T20 for me.

  • Ibrahim on June 13, 2012, 13:54 GMT

    I think it's the international 2020 that has to go. There are many domestic 2020 tournaments going around like the ipl, big bash etc. The number of odis imo , is what actually is hurting cricket. 3 odis are more than enough. In that way the cricketers will be able to participate in leagues like the ipl without missing out on any international cricket. Test cricket isn't going anywhere because we are starting to get more close matches than we used to. Pitches need to be more bowler friendly because there are many average batsmen around these days with averages above 50 and that kills the thrill factor. We still have some pretty good bowlers atm like steyn, morkel, gul, philander,broad, anderson, harris , roach, rampaul,southee,pattinson etc but that's not enough. In the 90s almost every team used to have atleast 2 or 3 very good fast bowlers but now they're a dying breed and that's mainly because of the amount of useless cricket being played.

  • Hassan Farooqi on June 13, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    All three formats have their own following. Test cricket has ceased to be attractive because of all the new things introduced. The introduction of helmets and all those guards, compounded on restrictions on fast bowlers has made it dull. Why would I want to watch an iron clad 5 feeter Tendulker clobber Shoaib Akhter who is neither allowed to throw more than a few bouncer an over, nor allowed to bowl with full run up? That too on a dead pitch for 5 days? I remember the days when bowlers like Lilly, Thompson, Holding, Croft, Roberts, Marshall were faced by shivering batsmen, on the fast pitches of Australia and West Indies. Make it a six day game and remove all those restrictions of fast bowlers, and do not allow batsmen to wear protective gears unless they are tailenders.

  • Rames on June 13, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    Why should ODI go? I don't understand. It is not like T20 matches are going to be stuck in your memory forever. T20 is far worse than ODIs. Only reason T20 is overtaking ODIs is because of IPL. Why do the whole world have to be afraid of a third rate domestic league.

  • Vinod Iyer on June 13, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    Excellent article! Speaking for myself, Test cricket was, is and will be the absolute pinnacle, I am indian but cannot be bothered with watching the bombay bagsnatchers play the punjab pickpockets or whatever they are called. All the IPL teams look the same with their paint spill accident inspired team uniforms, and the less said the better about the TV commentary...oops did i mention brand toting parrots with some cricket asa filler?!!! As some former cricketer said "Legends in their life time will be legends in their lunchtime". But Test cricket needs to be spiced up, possibly have 120 overs per innings and then compulsarily declare, have day night tests and remove the draw element totally. As far as ODI's go, its loosing its appeal. Test criket rox & needs to be preserved big time. And Jacob dude...Lotsa Indian fans feel the way i do, Crass and Class acceptance and rejection are universal, nationhood never comes into this!

  • AB on June 13, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    It's not really the best way of determining the number 1 team though, is it? Otherwise we would all believe India are the best cricket team currently, which they quite patently are not.

    There is no reason why associate teams cannot play 4 day games against each other. Stick to T20 as the best way to spread cricket around the world, and then introduce the longer format to the more established countries.

    50 over cricket is an anachronism, a red herring. It is neither a traditional format of cricket, like a weekend declaration game or a test match, where the cricket flows spontaneously from attack to defense depending upon the state of the game, and thrilling finishes arise organically; nor is it particularly well suited for the modern era and cricket unfamiliar audiences like T20 is ( a word of warning: KEEP T20 SIMPLE). In many ways it is the worst of both worlds, simultaneously lacking in both authenticity and artifically enhanced excitement.

  • Gizza on June 13, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    The three things which ODI's (50-over games) have in their favour are: 1. the best way of determining the number one team in a short space of time. A Test World Cup/Championship can never work (It will take about a year to finish) and there is lot more luck and lot less skill in winning the T20 World Cup (Note the supreme Windies and Aussie teams were also multiple World Cup winners - not too sure if they would have won T20 cup multiple times)

    2. It is the highest form of the game for the minnows. There is more cricketing skill required in a 50-over game than in 20 overs, and teams like Ireland, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, etc. can only improve and make the step to Tests through 50-over cricket not 20-over.

    3. Similar point to second, the actual players won't adjust from playing Tests to T20 or from T20 to Tests. They will become completely different games with different fans, like rugby union and league, indoor and beach volleyball or tennis and table tennis.

  • CricketPissek on June 13, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    I love test cricket. International T20 cricket can be fun to watch in small doses and funds the game. But I still really enjoy watching 50 over games! More so than watching T20. The most recent SL v PAK game was such an awesome game. There are more memorable matches and innings from ODI cricket than T20 to me. But we have to be realistic and T20 is here to stay. What I'd like to see is 50 over cricket kept purely for the world cup. I don't really rate the World T20. I'd love to see 50 over cricket schedule be like the international football schedule. Keep the world cup and have qualifier games so only the top 8 teams + 2 associates make it to the WC. You can have the Asia cup and some 'friendlies' along the way too. But a typical tour would consist of 2 Twenty20s and 3-5 test matches.

  • DVC on June 13, 2012, 6:59 GMT

    The problem with scrapping ODIs is that you then have no format with which to properly develop the game amongst the non Test playing nations.

    As you rightly note T20 doesn't teach the skills necessary for Tests, but the ODI format has been used to develop the games of Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and now Ireland as well to the point where they are ready to step into the longer game at International level.

    There was a huge outcry when the Associates were excluded from the World Cup. That's because it is the pinnacle of their game. T20 might give them a chance to spring an upset but it is in the ODI where they have a true chance to showcase their skill and compete.

  • safr on June 13, 2012, 0:13 GMT

    @Ali Dada This is not a baseball to change the rule, you sound like a baseball fan ... Why dont we drop T20 or ODI, or both of them insetead of dropping test ,. If you are true cricket fan you would keep the test cricket

  • safr on June 13, 2012, 0:13 GMT

    @Ali Dada This is not a baseball to change the rule, you sound like a baseball fan ... Why dont we drop T20 or ODI, or both of them insetead of dropping test ,. If you are true cricket fan you would keep the test cricket

  • Aditya on June 12, 2012, 18:26 GMT

    Well, the last World Cup was a pretty interesting tournament but I probably won't mind it being the last one, with India holding the World Cup :) and hopefully safely so that it doesn't get sabotaged like the 1983 one. However the 20-20 World Cup is quite fickle and not sure it will be able to draw much more people than IPL with a long IPL season not more than a few months ago in any year.

    A decent compromise would be to not eliminate ODIs at least for a few years. The need is to decrease ODIs of course. One can probably do this by changing the tour schedules to remove ODIs or not have more than 2-3 of them. No need for any triangular series, CB Series, Asia Cup etc. Just have some sort of qualifiers for ODI World Cup, something like that used for Football can be customized for use with ODIs World Cup. Should allow more time for Tests, and 20-20s (sigh).

  • Anonymous on June 12, 2012, 15:46 GMT

    In all honesty i am not a fan of T-20 I agree with many of your points and do agree that the contest of bat and ball in T-20 is one sided. However, ODI's allows for more of a contest especially if the teams playing have players with the ability to get them out of sticky situations, it provides far more of a contest to T-20s and takes more team effort, not just one or two innings here and there which can get you over the line. Test Cricket for me will always be the preferred option and watching the ups and downs over five days is truly something special, and unless you have witnessed this, it is very hard to understand. It takes great ability to play test cricket and not every cricketer can do so. Looking at the recent WI test series in England, many at the start might have said that WI would have received an absolute drubbing, yet although they lost the series, there were periods of brilliance, with ups and downs similar to a good novel which really appealed to me as a neutral viewer.

  • AB on June 12, 2012, 15:41 GMT

    As long as the top cricketing nations (Eng, Aus, SA, NZ, Pak, SL, WI etc) keep playing 14 tests a year, I couldn't give a monkeys about whatever other formats go on. I'd rather sit and watch a village cricket match than the IPL or yet another pointless ODI. Sort it out ICC.

    I honestly don't know a single cricket fan who doesn't agree with me. Where do these IPL and ODI fans come from? I've never met one.

  • PDTM on June 12, 2012, 15:25 GMT

    Test matches have their fans, and T20 has it's fans. Sometimes they cross over. I feel that 50 over cricket doesn't give either side enough of what they want. That said, I quite like ODIs, and seeing how the players from either side of the fence adapt. Shiv Chanderpaul and Kieron Pollard should never be playing the same game, but somehow they can in ODIs.

  • bapan on June 12, 2012, 15:14 GMT

    Test match cricket is not suited for the 21st century. No one has the time to watch it for 5 full days. Just drop it.

  • dale on June 12, 2012, 14:37 GMT

    In my view, test cricket is the real cricket should be played as much as possible... t20s are the future of cricket- the crowds love it & it is the only way realistically possible to get more nations involved in the game... bilateral 50-over matches are pointless and must be scrapped, ODIs should only be played around world cups or continental tournaments... not more than 2 major tournaments a year

  • Adam on June 12, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    Sriraj G.S. - I'm with you. I love ODIs and find T20 almost unwatchable ["almost" because I've seen sixes, which is unwatchable]. One-days preserve much of the tactical and physical intensity of tests and which T20 conspicuously lacks. I suspect supporters of T20 like it for what it isn't, and as someone cleverer than I pointed out after the Sidharth Monga article the other day, if you pander to the fans with the shortest attention spans, that's exactly who you'll get.

  • Naveen on June 12, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    good idea to scrap ODI bilateral series and retain it only for world cups.. play a proper 3 0r 5 test match series and some T20 to entertain crowds in the bilateral.. That way we can also avoid burnouts... Hope (IF) scrapping of ODIs will not make way for 2 IPLs or 2 Big Bash in a year..

  • Rajul Pant on June 12, 2012, 13:54 GMT

    Want to make cricket more interesting? Swap the cricket bat with a baseball bat, shall we? In comparison to T20 cricket even ODI's appear like a test matches where there is a method to completing 50 overs without sacrificing the art of batting or bowling. Maybe England should win the ODI World cup once. Suddenly it will be the best thing that happened to Cricket

  • Arvind on June 12, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    Every form of Cricket tells a story about the how the game has survived through its history. A lot of cricket is about history and tradition. So there is no reason why any one form of cricket should be made to go. Of course first and foremost Test Cricket should be preserved because all other forms are just 'subsets' of it. But making 50 ODI is also like forgetting the Kerry Packer era. Instead of just giving up to the challenge I think we should think of how to make all three work together. Certainly, audience in the stadium is important but so really so is advertisement. Why do not we start counting how a match is followed online. The aim of the cric. admins should not be let any one form of cricket to go but to create windows for every form of cricket. A good game of cricket is a good contest between the bat and ball as long as it lasts. That is what we should teach the next generation to appreciate that and no just blind slogging of bowling.

  • Omair on June 12, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    Yeh no one rememebers the 4-0 whitewash of Pak against England in ODIs but all remember England whitewashed against Pak in Tests.

  • Sriraj G.S. on June 12, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    Looks like I'm part of a small minority here but I personally would prefer only Test and ODIs being played. For me Test cricket is the only real form of cricket and ODIs give me a mental break from the high intensity of test cricket and some small action like slogging and such. There's the proper long WC to look forward to unlike the WT20 which is so short and I can't remember how many of them took place and who the winners were. As for T20s, I still don't believe it's cricket. After all, even 15 year olds in club cricket play a minimum of 35 ov games - in comparison, T20 feels like a backyard game and I would prefer it being that way. Reserved for backyard parties, university games and pre-season warm-ups for domestic sides. Let's accept it, a true cricketer detests the format as its useless in honing his skills.

  • Ben Carter on June 12, 2012, 1:04 GMT

    Hi Jacob - fair points but I was bred on World Series summers here in Australia (I live in Victoria). I still believe Test cricket is the ultimate 'test' of a player's skill, but find it hard to be engaged in T20 (aside from the fact that it's a handily-packaged format for TV viewers or those who have wives that refuse to sit still for more than three hours watching it!). One-day cricket, if presented properly, still has a place. I believe 40 overs a side, keep bilateral series to no more than five games, the World Cup run and won within a month (not six weeks) and still containing enough Associate teams to make it worth interesting, and it can stay. I'd rather an ODI than a T20 game myself.

  • Ali Dada on June 11, 2012, 23:45 GMT

    How about we drop the Tests AND the ODIs? T20s is the way forward -> 4 hour game is max people can afford to waste on cricket these days.

    Change the rules a bit to make things interesting: Teams allowed 5 batsmen, wicket-keeper and 5 bowlers. Bowlers can't bat and batsmen can't bowl (the wicket-keeper only keeps wicket).

    This will make T20 challenging.

  • mel on June 11, 2012, 18:46 GMT

    Test cricket is the real cricket. T-20 although a financial success, but is irrelevant in comparison. No one cares about one day cricket anymore. When people talk about the Ashes of 2011, They all know it as an English Victory 3-1. It will be remembered as such a 100 years from now. However no one even mentions that Australia destroyed England in the one day series on the same tour. That's how insignificant one dayers are...

  • mihir on June 11, 2012, 17:23 GMT

    most of the points mentioned r spot on n 50 over cricket will hav 2 eventually die but test cricket has 2 do more 2 draw crowds especially.in d subcontinent

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  • mihir on June 11, 2012, 17:23 GMT

    most of the points mentioned r spot on n 50 over cricket will hav 2 eventually die but test cricket has 2 do more 2 draw crowds especially.in d subcontinent

  • mel on June 11, 2012, 18:46 GMT

    Test cricket is the real cricket. T-20 although a financial success, but is irrelevant in comparison. No one cares about one day cricket anymore. When people talk about the Ashes of 2011, They all know it as an English Victory 3-1. It will be remembered as such a 100 years from now. However no one even mentions that Australia destroyed England in the one day series on the same tour. That's how insignificant one dayers are...

  • Ali Dada on June 11, 2012, 23:45 GMT

    How about we drop the Tests AND the ODIs? T20s is the way forward -> 4 hour game is max people can afford to waste on cricket these days.

    Change the rules a bit to make things interesting: Teams allowed 5 batsmen, wicket-keeper and 5 bowlers. Bowlers can't bat and batsmen can't bowl (the wicket-keeper only keeps wicket).

    This will make T20 challenging.

  • Ben Carter on June 12, 2012, 1:04 GMT

    Hi Jacob - fair points but I was bred on World Series summers here in Australia (I live in Victoria). I still believe Test cricket is the ultimate 'test' of a player's skill, but find it hard to be engaged in T20 (aside from the fact that it's a handily-packaged format for TV viewers or those who have wives that refuse to sit still for more than three hours watching it!). One-day cricket, if presented properly, still has a place. I believe 40 overs a side, keep bilateral series to no more than five games, the World Cup run and won within a month (not six weeks) and still containing enough Associate teams to make it worth interesting, and it can stay. I'd rather an ODI than a T20 game myself.

  • Sriraj G.S. on June 12, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    Looks like I'm part of a small minority here but I personally would prefer only Test and ODIs being played. For me Test cricket is the only real form of cricket and ODIs give me a mental break from the high intensity of test cricket and some small action like slogging and such. There's the proper long WC to look forward to unlike the WT20 which is so short and I can't remember how many of them took place and who the winners were. As for T20s, I still don't believe it's cricket. After all, even 15 year olds in club cricket play a minimum of 35 ov games - in comparison, T20 feels like a backyard game and I would prefer it being that way. Reserved for backyard parties, university games and pre-season warm-ups for domestic sides. Let's accept it, a true cricketer detests the format as its useless in honing his skills.

  • Omair on June 12, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    Yeh no one rememebers the 4-0 whitewash of Pak against England in ODIs but all remember England whitewashed against Pak in Tests.

  • Arvind on June 12, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    Every form of Cricket tells a story about the how the game has survived through its history. A lot of cricket is about history and tradition. So there is no reason why any one form of cricket should be made to go. Of course first and foremost Test Cricket should be preserved because all other forms are just 'subsets' of it. But making 50 ODI is also like forgetting the Kerry Packer era. Instead of just giving up to the challenge I think we should think of how to make all three work together. Certainly, audience in the stadium is important but so really so is advertisement. Why do not we start counting how a match is followed online. The aim of the cric. admins should not be let any one form of cricket to go but to create windows for every form of cricket. A good game of cricket is a good contest between the bat and ball as long as it lasts. That is what we should teach the next generation to appreciate that and no just blind slogging of bowling.

  • Rajul Pant on June 12, 2012, 13:54 GMT

    Want to make cricket more interesting? Swap the cricket bat with a baseball bat, shall we? In comparison to T20 cricket even ODI's appear like a test matches where there is a method to completing 50 overs without sacrificing the art of batting or bowling. Maybe England should win the ODI World cup once. Suddenly it will be the best thing that happened to Cricket

  • Naveen on June 12, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    good idea to scrap ODI bilateral series and retain it only for world cups.. play a proper 3 0r 5 test match series and some T20 to entertain crowds in the bilateral.. That way we can also avoid burnouts... Hope (IF) scrapping of ODIs will not make way for 2 IPLs or 2 Big Bash in a year..

  • Adam on June 12, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    Sriraj G.S. - I'm with you. I love ODIs and find T20 almost unwatchable ["almost" because I've seen sixes, which is unwatchable]. One-days preserve much of the tactical and physical intensity of tests and which T20 conspicuously lacks. I suspect supporters of T20 like it for what it isn't, and as someone cleverer than I pointed out after the Sidharth Monga article the other day, if you pander to the fans with the shortest attention spans, that's exactly who you'll get.