Shaking up Test cricket

Cricinfo readers vote for change

'Shaking up Test cricket' - The survey results

Amit Varma

September 29, 2005

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WG Grace in action: the game has certainly changed since his time, and who can say it's not for the better? Do we need more change, perhaps? © Getty Images
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Does Test cricket need to be overhauled? Much as that question may be debated among editorialists and the cricket administration, the only answer lies with you: the cricketing fans who keep the game alive. Our survey, "Shaking up Test cricket", got an excellent response: Almost 2,500 people took part, and if you want to see the voting patterns, click here.

Our first question got a mixed response, but more than half the respondents felt that Test cricket needs to lose at least one side, with 34.99% saying that both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe should be stripped of Test status, while 25.81% wanted to keep both of them and give Kenya Test status as well. Perhaps some of those votes were cast in irony; perhaps not.

The question that automatically arises next is how Test cricket should be structured. There was nothing resembling unanimity here, except on one issue: only 4.95% wanted to restrict Test cricket to a fixed number of teams. A two-tier system was favoured by 26.82%, while 23.52% favoured having a minimum performance benchmark for Test teams and 24.57% favoured a similar benchmark that would give non-Test teams provisional Test status.

There were a similar disparity of views over a two-tier system, which 47.69% were categorically against. As many as 14.11% felt that none of the systems we set forth were appropriate, which underlines the complexity of getting such a system together. If the ICC were ever to try and reform Test cricket, they'd have to carry all the Test-playing nations with them, and that kind of unanimity would be hard to pull off. The teams in the bottom half of the ranks would have an incentive to fight to broaden the pool, while the teams in the top half would be better served keeping it restricted.

More than half of our readers supported the expansion of cricket in other countries. (The percentages in the fifth and sixth questions add up to more than 100 because you could click multiple options here.) And an overwhelming majority of readers agreed with the view: "It [Test cricket] is a sporting contest full of drama which will flourish if it is well looked after." Well, that's our view too, and what keeps us going, and we suppose what keeps you hooked to the game. This raises further questions, which we couldn't quite explore within the design of the survey:

What are the changes that cricket needs? How should they be implemented? What is the future of the game?

Multiple-choice options can't encompass all the possibilities that come up in answer to these questions, so, if you have more nuanced answers to offer, please send them in to reforms@cricinfo.com. We'll pick the best answers and put them online. The upper word-limit is 400 words. Any emails that contain more than that will be parsed by our advanced automated email-wordcount-filter and deleted.

Send in your Thoughts.

Amit Varma is interactive editor of Cricinfo.

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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