The future of cricket

'Obscene' Twenty20 money threatens Tests - Lloyd

Nagraj Gollapudi

July 23, 2009

Comments: 22 | Text size: A | A

The drinks are on us: the Stanford Superstars celebrate their victory, Superstars v England, Antigua, November 1, 2008
Clive Lloyd: "We are paying guys an obscene amount of money [and] it is destroying the other two components of the game." © AFP

Clive Lloyd has expressed disappointment and concern at the impact of Twenty20 on cricket's traditional format, fearing that Andrew Flintoff's retirement from Tests could set a dangerous precedent. Lloyd, the former West Indian captain and current chairman of the ICC's cricket committee, said Flintoff's retirement had set a bad example for younger players and that others would soon follow unless money was not pumped into Test cricket.

"Would some of these guys have retired if there was no Twenty20? It is obvious if I'm being paid $1.5 million and I don't have to put in too much work then, yes, I'll go the other way," said Lloyd on the first day of the ICC History Conference in Oxford. "It is a bit unfortunate that Flintoff has decided to leave Test cricket and he knows his body and know how bad his ankle is but he is a tremendous cricketer. But the point is he is not going to play for Lancashire - he will play for England in the ODIs and Twenty20. The point is it is destroying the fabric of the game."

"When a player retires in his prime and when you have poured all that money on him to get him where he is now and then he leaves that is a bother for me. Like Dwayne Bravo, if he decides to leave halfway [into his career] that is not a situation I would like. I would like a situation where people leave later on and there is a natural progression of young players into the cricket. But I can tell you there are a few more people coming up shortly to announce retirements if this goes on."

Cricket, Lloyd said, was suffering from the "obscene" amount of money being paid in lucrative Twenty20 tournaments, giving the example of West Indies, a good Twenty20 side but struggling to stay afloat in Tests. "We are suffering from that at the moment and I think other countries, too, might. Our countries are probably the second-best players in the world. We are paying guys an obscene amount of money - US $60,000 for one Twenty20 game when he might not bat or bowl. It is destroying the other two components of the game. If Test cricket is the type of cricket we want people to recognise the game by then we have to put a little bit more money into it so players are better paid. We can't just think it will chug along." .

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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Posted by akim on (July 26, 2009, 11:43 GMT)

Where will the 20/20 teams get their talents from, when test is dead? Will they go back to the backyards and seek new talents. It is in 20/20's interest to co-exist with test. Test cricket is what develops true cricketers, men who do battle for days, seeking to defeat their rivals. This is where skill is developed, character formed, talent tested. I think the storyline of test cricket is a lot sexier than 20/20. 20/20 is a quicky whereas test is long passionate love making. A 20/20 here and there is good. But the main stay of cricket should be the longer version, a cricketer's prowess should be tested by test not 20/20. Long live test cricket. Those of us who love test cricket, PURCHASE A TICKET, NEXT TIME THERE IS A TEST IN YOUR AREA, and go to the match. that will help keep test alive.

Posted by jahbless on (July 25, 2009, 22:45 GMT)

As it is in baseball,hockey,football,etc. If the money wasnt there to pay the players then the contracts wont be offered. No promoter is going to bankrupt their company by paying more than he takes in. I f Lloyd and others want to keep test cricket alive buy tickets and sit in the stands, buy the pay-per-views, then money would be there to play the players. Clive Lloyd can get free tickets to any test match in the world does he use them all? Test cricket have been dying since the 80s.Who pays the players?, the fans .what does the fans want?, entertainment. where do we get cricketing entertainment?, 20/20.Yes Mr. Lloyd you too got wealthy off cricket, let the youngster make theirs. It might seems too much for you, but there is more money in cricket today.You Mr. Lloyd need to stop being jealous of today's cricketing contracts.

Posted by rubbas on (July 25, 2009, 18:28 GMT)

None of our present crop of players will ever get the level of respect of legend status that Clive Lloyd and company have gotten except maybe Chanderpaul. So when these men speak we should listen. I never liked T20. I will watch it bacause it is fun, but then that's just it fun. Test cricket will always be the standard by which a cricketer is judged.

Posted by ferioze on (July 25, 2009, 0:44 GMT)

O.K. folks let's keep it simple for these big shot so called cricketers. Compensation should be paid after a series.Meaning, you get paid according to your proformance. Cricket boards are held hostages to players. They demand what they think they should be paid, not what they're worth. West indian players should be thankfull for what they are being paid, because they're a bunch of LOOSERS. Except for Shiv, who deserves every dollar and much more. Just look at his Stats. To a lesser extend Gayle Bravo and Sarwan should be paid by proformance, the rest should get MINIMUM wage.

Posted by Batman23 on (July 24, 2009, 12:58 GMT)

I disagree with Lloyd. Face it people test cricket is dead! T20/20 is the future and there is nothing wrong in cricketers being paid fairly for providing entertainment. Why should the promoters be the ones making all the money? RIP test cricket.

Posted by Sampath_KCS on (July 24, 2009, 5:12 GMT)

Heartiest Congratulations to the Windies Legend for this important thoughts expressed at the greatest forum of the World Cricket. The repercussions of too much T20 can have on the Test Cricket was first highlighted at the ICC Award Ceremony in Dubai last year by Mahela Jayawardena. This was endorsed recently by the Indian Batting Great Sunil Gavaskar. Now its again re-iterated by an All Time Great of Cricket . For how long ICC is going to keep a naked eye on this tragedy ??? .

Posted by johnal on (July 24, 2009, 4:28 GMT)

i think its very unfortunate that cricket has reached a point where test cricket is not important to players . ask any great cricketer people recognise u by your TEST STATS than by anything else.i prefer test cricket .its bad when players can give up that for money alone. t20 is fun cricket .test cricket is the real thing. yes i agree players have to earn a living .but dont sacrifice your careers for t20. on west indies cricket everyone is now seeeing is the wicbc is to blame for the impasse.the comments made by players like bravo.wavell hinds and former skipper jimmy adams has open a lot of eyes. but some of the players have to lift themselves. thank u SALIM ALI -TRINIDAD&TOBAGO

Posted by redneck on (July 24, 2009, 1:49 GMT)

firstly i dont buy any theory that the great clive lloyd is just a jealous former player that never got anywhere near the money going around the game today! i believe he just genuinely cares about the future of test cricket and west indies cricket. secondly @second_innings world series cricket also had super tests. you would be hard pressed to find a bigger fan of test cricket than the late kerry packer! what packer did was temporarily divide cricket for the greater benifit of all parties concerned including his lucrative broadcasting rights. what modi and his cashed up ipl team owners are doing is tearing the fabric of international cricket apart for the benifit of indian audiences by making players offers of money that they simply cant refuse when they have families to provide for long after their playing days are up. most national boards cant compete with that kind of money and they are now battling for services of their players whom they have invested time and money in developing!!

Posted by Bilal_Ayubi on (July 23, 2009, 20:58 GMT)

Playing test cricket is great experience i know but to watch it being played needs great patience which unfortunately most people don't have. So we can't make test cricket as exciting as t20 for the survival of tests. Why shouldn't we try to make t20s as boring as tests? But how?

Posted by Bilal_Ayubi on (July 23, 2009, 20:44 GMT)

Salam to everyone. There are few points i want to raise why t20 is a danger to test cricket. 1) test cricket is not as exciting as t20 is. I mean the numbers of people watching t20 is lot more than those watching tests. So the sponsors and tv channels invest more on t20. That's why the obscene money comes in t20 and it is missing in tests. 2) people will watch england team playing t20 without flintoff as it is entertaining still. But the number of people watching england test will reduce to half when england doesn't have flintoff like players playing. 3) there are very few chances that a test will be exciting, i guess 2 out of 10. While in t20, you can surely have 8 exciting finishes out of 10 games. And it is almost impossible for a five day game to show consistently exciting finishes.

Posted by utes on (July 23, 2009, 18:54 GMT)

Oh please give me a break. I understand Lloyd's frustration when players like Freddie retire early in their prime and Gayle talks about Test being no fun. But I think he should be pondering about a bigger question - Does Twenty20 attract more people to the game ? From the various reports I have read on Cricinfo and other places, it does seem that more people are getting interested in twenty20 and cricket in general. Isn't this a good thing ? Yes, we might lose some good players to T20 but more exposure/money will definitely bring in more talent to the game and some of them will definitely filter into Test matches. No matter how hard the world tries, Test matches are here to stay. Cricket is just going through a minor adjustment and pretty soon we will reach an equilibrium with a good mix of all three forms of the game. We just have to be patient and let the system evolve itself.

Posted by Memorable11 on (July 23, 2009, 18:48 GMT)

I am a bit disappointed at Lyod's comments tying money and retirements. This goes back to resisting change. I am pretty sure that the great players from the 1950s-60s said the same about One day cricket in the 70s. We need to move on - this is going to happen whether he likes it or not. Better to see how we can use the format and make Test cricket more competitive and sparkling.

I would also like to ask - Where was this "love" for the game and "hate" for people who go for the money during the Packer episode when Lyod and few other left mainstream cricket to take part in a circus (which by now we have accepted as the best thing to have happened to cricket). Lets move forward and hope T20 brings the same sense of freshness.

Posted by cricpolitics on (July 23, 2009, 18:24 GMT)

There is a need to encourage and project the action of Younis Khan the Pakistan Captain who has just done the opposite by retiring from T20 crikcet so that he could concentrate on the test and one day cricket. Some may not agree with his decision but he has certainly set a fine example to give importance to real cricket.

Posted by Manoj1234 on (July 23, 2009, 17:54 GMT)

Seriously, this is a case of sour grapes. I don;t think he would have this view if he was in his playing days. I feel sad too that he missed out. You can imagine what he must be feeling like. Thanks, Manoj

Posted by AndyLong on (July 23, 2009, 17:52 GMT)

Mr Lloyd is right - all the warning signs are there for the 20/20 game to take over the cricket world. Flintoff's example, the strike undermining West Indies cricket, the greed of Lalit Modi. Its all a case of a quick buck now, and be damned the consequences for the future. People may want 20/20 to dominate - thats fine... but you will lose the essence, spirit and the individuality of the game. Anyone can hit a ball miles... but not many can bat like VVS Laxman! Embrace 20/20 and you'll get players like Graeme Napier and David Warner (markedly average batsmen)... not VVS or Shiv Chanderpaul! (truly great players)

Posted by TwitterJitter on (July 23, 2009, 16:40 GMT)

If test cricket needs to have greater importance over T20, it needs be able to provide more commercial value than T20. It is the only way out. Now go and figure out a solution for it. Proposing redistribution of money from T20 to test cricket or bashing T20 leagues is not a solution to the problem. It is a short term fix. By regulating T20 and by not playing it you will only push more people away from cricket into some other sport. Did you notice that Manchester is now actively trying to foray into Indian market after seeing the success of IPL and league based games? For pointing this out last week a funny guy called "kingofspain" accused me of posting a comment favoring T20 over test cricket because of some colonial era hatred towards Britain or some weird allegation like that! Analyze the issue and provide a creative solution for the issue rather than attacking someone who accurately identifies the issue. I dont care if soccer or cricket wins as long they provide best entertainment.

Posted by hermithead on (July 23, 2009, 15:05 GMT)

Whether its the dollar or boredom that does it, who cares, Test cricket has had its day - the future is T20!

Posted by 9ST9 on (July 23, 2009, 13:51 GMT)

It is true that Test-Cricket is being hit crippling blows by Twenty-20 Cricket,and it is 100% true that the Classic form of the game and the yardstick of Quality is being rudely ignored. But it seems inevitable.Future generations would find the prospect of boiling their brains in the sun for 5 days absurd,when they'd earn n-times that amount for a evenings work in a T-20 game.On the spectators side, the audience for which test-cricket was created is an extinct species. Emails and SMS have replaced letters,along with it the respect for Grammar and Spellings have taken a nose-dive.Take Away food with its tantalizing flavors has replaced the good old home made meal full of nutrition, But sad is it may seem that seems to be the way it is. It's part of evolution.

Posted by AbrarAhmed on (July 23, 2009, 13:17 GMT)

Agree with every sentiment. The incentive is gone but it has to be said that test cricket has survived for over 100 years even with the advent of the one day format in the mid 70's. Die-hard aficionados like me will always favour test cricket with its shifting fortunes, changing strategies and the idea that it really is a "test" of ones skills over that of the visceral form of the T20 format. More money and incentives such as the mooted World Championships may be a good move but shortening the format to say 4 days would detratct from the "test " aspect, as it would be easier (as opined by Javed Miandad) for even a minor nation to play out for a draw.

Posted by second_innings on (July 23, 2009, 13:12 GMT)

Lloyd of all people talking about protecting Test cricket! Weren't the West Indies cricketers the first to sign up with Kerry Packer? And let's get some facts right here. Flintoff made the decision based PURELY on medical advice. Lloyd's comments basically question Flintoff's integrity. And Freddie played just three matches in IPL, so IPL cannot be the reason for his retirement, as Lloyd suggests by mentioning "$1.5million". Ask any cricketer, he will tell u that IPL and the money that comes with it fine but Tests and playing for the country is the ultimate for him.

Posted by nyallj on (July 23, 2009, 13:09 GMT)

With all due respect, the way Mr. Lloyd is ranting about the money cricketers are being paid, almost sounds like jealousy. Using Flintoff in this argument is not fair, especially given the man's medical history. In case you're wondering, I am, like Mr. Lloyd, Guyanese, and a WI fan.

Posted by Nipun on (July 23, 2009, 12:12 GMT)

With Flintoff,it's a case of his fragile body not supporting him.In fact,almost all the players taking such roots have fragile bodies or are not really good test cricketers.The real greats like Ricky Ponting,Mahela Jayawardene & all would never quit tests for T20s.With Flintoff,it was his fragile body;with Gayle,it is his lack of commitment(he is not a great test player anyway,& he plays tests for a team which is regularly whitewashed by the major test nations);with Oram(who may quit tests),it is a case of,again,his fragile body,plus the fact that he is not a good player.So tests are not really threatened.However,the ICC needs to stop meaningless matches,such as the West Indies touring England barely 2 months after 5 gruelling tests between England & West Indies in the West Indies.Such meaningless,repeatative schedules neither help the charm of the game,nor do they help the players' fitness.Will the ICC ever learn?I won't bet my nail on it!

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