MAK Pataudi lecture

Gavaskar stresses primacy of Tests

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 20, 2013

Comments: 36 | Text size: A | A

Sunil Gavaskar speaking at the MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture, Chennai, February 20, 2013
Sunil Gavaskar delivers the MAK Pataudi lecture in Chennai © BCCI
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Players/Officials: Sunil Gavaskar | Nawab of Pataudi
Teams: India

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has called for balanced pitches to make sure Test cricket remains the prime format of the game. He said the shorter formats might be good for the globalisation of the game and might provide financial security to the players, but Test cricket remained the pinnacle. Gavaskar was speaking at the inaugural annual MAK Pataudi lecture in honour of former India captain, Nawab of Pataudi, also fondly known as Tiger, in Chennai.

"T20 is the one that is helping to globalise the game," Gavaskar said, "taking it to countries, to emerging countries and taking it to countries like America and China and maybe Europe as well. I think that is the format you probably need to look at if you want to globalise the game.

"However, I still believe that Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game. I think it is, as all the players here would readily acknowledge, that is the medium, that is the format by which they will be recognised as good players or great players or just ordinary players.

"The performances in T20, the performances in the 50-over format are well and wonderful but at the end of the day, it's Test cricket … how do you do at Test level is what the players know they will be rated by."

Gavaskar said the onus was on the administrators to retain the primacy of Test cricket. "And that is what the administrators also need to make sure," he said. "Particularly the major countries, the ten Test-playing countries - and out of that I would imagine there are four or five major Test countries - they are the ones who should ensure that Test cricket remains the pinnacle."

The pitches, he said, were crucial. "For that I think you need to have pitches with balance," Gavaskar said, "rather than pitches which are one-sided. Pitches which give the opportunity for the best to be tested against the best. Test cricket is a test not just of skill or technique, but it's a test of your courage and your temperament. And I have always believed that it is temperament that separates the men from the boys. It can only be found out in the cauldron of Test cricket. I would request all the administrators to have a look at it."

Gavaskar also said the administrators shouldn't change the rules and laws too much. "I think - and this is what Tiger said as well - that we often tinker too much with the game. That we keep on changing this and we keep on changing that, which makes it difficult for countries which are not cricket-savvy to understand the game.

"The success of football, of tennis and of golf is because the rules are very simple. It is easy to understand, therefore there is no confusion in the mind of those who have never played the game before and whose primary sport in their country is not any of these sports. I think this is something cricket's administrators need to look at."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by bvnathan on (February 21, 2013, 17:26 GMT)

Agree, TEST CRICKET need to have the primacy status. What is really bothering is the standard of TEAMS playing TEST CRICKET at present, barring the top 5-6 teams. May be the aura of the top 6 teams have robbed the luster from teams like WI, N, ZMB who provided a spirited fight to top teams. RULES for CRICKET in all formats of the game is more or less 80-90% common, except for the vagaries of short formats like 50-50, 20-20, where rules have tweaked like Duckworth-Lewis system implementation is still not understood clearly by all. Another debatable or discrepancy has been in the use of DRS (I find the interpretation for LBW decisions as the most ludicrous, 2.5 meters from the point of impact, clipping the stumps or hitting in the middle etc.). If need be DRS should be used and implemented for Bat-pad, Caught behind, run-outs etc.

Posted by gsingh7 on (February 21, 2013, 14:07 GMT)

test cricket was best but now t20 is future of cricket. and if sponsors and players prefer t20 this tells u where the interest of fans lie. we fans want entertainment in few hours not 5 day snooze fest , nobody has that much time, only older fans love that. we want aggressive cricket as seen in ipl where gayle and azhar mahmood entice public with their power hitting and where bhajji and malinga dominate bat with tight bowling . t20 is future of cricket and thats where money lies.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 9:07 GMT)

keep the game plain and simple... i still love to watch the games from 90's when there were no unnecessary stuff

Posted by Leggie on (February 21, 2013, 8:58 GMT)

@ SherjilIslam. I too love cricket in any form. In fact if I'm walking by a ground, I would stop by to watch how people play :-). For me, the most disturbing part is how IPL and other countries T20 leagues are cannibalising Test cricket. The incentives for T20s are much higher and this imbalance must be restored. This is where I feel that if greats like Gavaskar say they want to stop commentating for IPL saying it's too much of cricket, it will send a very strong message across the cricketing world and spectators as well. Same stance should be taken by "purists" - the likes of Shastri , Manjrekar, Dravid, Ganguly commentary team.

Posted by ravi-1967 on (February 21, 2013, 8:33 GMT)

Well said and timed Sunny. This should become an eye opener for BCCI. If the country board does not prioritise test cricket how can we blame the players. It is the duty of the board to make the longer format of the game more challenging, interesting and rewarding to all for it to be a success.

Look at how SA and AUS play test matches. The number of test matches played by India are also dropping slowly but steadily. IPL seems to be the priority for the money it is bringing in.

Posted by SherjilIslam on (February 21, 2013, 8:00 GMT)

@ Leggie on (February 20, 2013, 19:51 GMT): You are right but the point here is, if you love test cricket, it doesn't necessarily means you hate T-20 and ODIs.I am a genuine cricket fan and i love all formats of the game and believe me, I am very extremely passionate about test cricket. For me a test series win in Aus and SA will always be rated above T-20 WC win.But having said that, i am not denying the fact that i have extremely enjoyed the T-20 WC 2007 win. The lecture by Mr. Gavaskar to the Cricket administrators is to correct their preferences right(give highest priority to test) rather than to completely abolish T-20 from their domestic competitions.

Posted by ravi_hari on (February 21, 2013, 7:42 GMT)

Timely comment by Sunny and at the right occasion. One remembers and adores Tiger for his histrionics in Test Cricket. How many of the T20 or ODI stars you would remember for long. It is the test performances which are remembered for long as they come under adverse conditions. The rules as Sunny has mentioned had to be tinkered with because of ODI and T20 cricket. To make it more entertaining. However, as Sunny suggested make the rules as simple as possible and leave it to the players to fight it out in the middle. The LBW rule, the no-ball rule, the bouncer rule, all have affected the game. However, what ODIs have done to the game is that today we have more results in tests than before. The 90 over rule also helped in forcing results. Thanks to countries like Australia, SA and India the aggression of ODIs has come into Tests and made them more entertaining. It is important to preserve tests and I also believe in test cricket. A real cricketer is known only by his exploits in tests.

Posted by brija on (February 21, 2013, 7:27 GMT)

The present gen. apes people like gavaskar. who says test cricket is dying.test cricket got new lease of life not only in india but in the whole world. and for this credit goes to players like sehwag and viv is a game of bat and ball and the skillful players like sehwag and richards hit even the good the past ,indians would score 33 for 3 till lunch time ,these days the score is often 100 for 1 or 2.these old players mainly played test cricket and had very little to show off in limited over cricket, therefore they chant only test cricket and so do you people.old people like gavaskar played for themselves, otherwise how could he xplain scoring 36 unbeaten runs in 176 balls in a 1975 world cup game against england and thus lost miserably.that time the entire world got up and said that gavaskar should not play any more limited over cricket.however indian board allowed him to play more than 100 matches at the cost of stroke players like surrinder amarnath.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 21, 2013, 6:59 GMT)

I am a PROUD ODI and T20 fan. I will never love test cricket ever. Speaking of the Indian test team and its history, a lot of people here have commented using their emotions than their common sense. India was NEVER a strong test nation. If you look at their history, India have always been poor travellers overseas. India only began consistently performing away under Sourav Ganguly's captaincy. He brought pro-active leadership skills and aggression to the team and the rest of the players followed it. Once he retired, Dravid managed to continue that tradition for a while. Once Dhoni became captain and the greats began retiring, the house of cards started to collapse. India have returned back to where they belong in test cricket - the state of mediocrity. India will ALWAYS continue to be a very good limited overs team because that's where the skill and passion lies. So I don't understand all the fuss here. Also, blaming the IPL for India's test cricket woes is ridiculous and blasphemy.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 6:59 GMT)

I thought Imran khan delivered the inaugural MAK Pataudi lecture last year?

Posted by venkatesh018 on (February 21, 2013, 6:34 GMT)

Sunny bhai. A timely reminder at the right time.

Posted by grizzle on (February 21, 2013, 6:10 GMT)

It feels great to say that for this once (and from as much as I can glean from this article having not read the full transcript of the speech) I am wholeheartedly in agreement with Sunny G!

Posted by Edassery on (February 21, 2013, 5:57 GMT)

While I believe that test cricket is the real cricket in terms of testing players' greatness, endurance and determination, it's imperative that it faces its death in a few years from now - The reason being the fact that the world is moving towards a very fast life as compared to forty or eighty years ago where everyone had a lot of time to spend. There's no other game in this world which makes its fans and spectators tie down for long FIVE days. In a matter of 10 or 20 years, no one might have that much time to dedicate to one match - not even the players.

Having said that, I still enjoy watching test cricket between the top three or four nations, especially when played in sporting pitches :)

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 4:15 GMT)

the pitch for the test match should be such that the result comes within 5 days but advantage should be provided to the home team otherwise there will be no challenge remains for the visitors.

Posted by bluefunk on (February 21, 2013, 1:07 GMT)

Facilities for spectators in Indian stadiums need to be improved majorly to bring people back into the stadiums to watch Test cricket. About time administrators stopped taking the Indian cricket fan for granted. Would also be great if we had marquee Test match events like the Boxing Day Test in Australia.

Posted by Sussexx on (February 20, 2013, 23:35 GMT)

The real cricket was, is and will always be a Test cricket in which you not only get to see but learn a lot about bowling, batting, fielding, temperamet, class, calmness and many more stuffs like these. As far as IPL goes. .... I hate this IPL personally and as well as professionally. India will not be able to be the great team like Saurav's and Azhar's unless they will stop playing either this so-called IPL or regular T20s against the touring side and as well as away. Sunny is a great test player that's why he knows exactly what all great cricketers and viewers demand for. Good luck Team Dhhhhonny.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 23:32 GMT)

I agree with Rajesh Pal but in India a certain groundsman needs to know that.

Posted by cricketfannik on (February 20, 2013, 23:31 GMT)

test cricket is dying except in AUS, ENG, SA. india lost so many test series because of their skills in test matches. u can see Gambhir and Sehwag fro example they are always poking outside offstump like its T20, they got so many runs there but test cricket is not same. india will faile in test matches as more they will play. england, SA and aus they give imp to test matches. IPL and all other leagues are making cricket die. who wants to see non-tech pathetic blind hoffs and when it comes to test cricket they fail miserably. NZ players will be going for IPL and their A team wil tour england and wil play eng, anyways their proper team is an A team, such a shame, they still can earn after retiring can be a coach or stil play like gilly and others. atleast bangladesh cricket should improve their test cricket then start BPL , anyways few ppl have stopped watching ODI cricket since ponting and sachin has retired. ppl are movie to messis and ronaldos now . all the best to cricket ,

Posted by bford1921 on (February 20, 2013, 23:11 GMT)

For cricket the requirements are public interest. The disappointing element is that test cricket is clearly the most demanding format of the game, but if supporters can no longer be worried about the challenges of test cricket then it will suffer. The players are professionals, they will play where the money is, and that is where the crowds are, the fact it is less effort is also an incentive. The IPL is not the cause of the drop in interest in test cricket in India, it is Indian cricket followers. If you are a fan of the game you know test cricket is the challenge, T20 is high risk batting against a limited bowling attack, some days it comes off others it doesn't. The challenge of batting against an unrestricted bowling attack has got to be the ultimate challenge for players.

Posted by BoonBoom on (February 20, 2013, 22:45 GMT)

First we need to define what is a good pitch? Remember, India has never produced a genuine fast bowler in their entire history so it does make sense for them to produce dull and docile pitches favouring batsmen. Thats is why we can see many indian batsmen with 50 plus test batting average but no fast bowler with less than 25 bowling average!!

Posted by here2rock on (February 20, 2013, 22:34 GMT)

Not all players do not care where they are rated in history of the game. Not all are even cut out for being Test Match players. They want money and security for themselves and their families.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 21:43 GMT)

If we do not prepare pitches according to our strength then what is the use of "Home advantage". It becomes waste. So every team will prepare the pitch according to there strength and opposition weakness.

Posted by ToTellUTheTruth on (February 20, 2013, 21:25 GMT)

Rules of Golf are simple? Man, I have been trying to understand them for years and still have no clue!!!And they keep changing from course to course. Sunny, I am sure, never played golf in his life. Otherwise he wouldn't have included golf in his speech.

Posted by Rahulbose on (February 20, 2013, 20:35 GMT)

As much as we all love test cricket, it is on its last legs. There are very few good test match sides left. All the youngsters are preparing for T20 leagues, specially in countries like West Indies and New Zealand. You would have to be crazy to choose for a career in test cricket instead of T20 in current situation. Much like today we read stories of timeless test matches and damp wickets, I foresee telling stories of when people used to play 5 Day games.

Posted by Jaffa79 on (February 20, 2013, 20:14 GMT)

Well said Sunil. It is all about the Tests! Anyone one prefers T20 should be banned from these pages.

Posted by wgtnpom on (February 20, 2013, 20:12 GMT)

But T20 isn't really globalising the game is it - I've seen no evidence that it's increasing interest in cricket outside those countries that already had a cricketing community before T20 came along. All it seems to be doing is lining the pockets of the BCCI, which is having the exact opposite of the desired effect, IMO.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 20:04 GMT)

Absolutely true...a boring diet of the short has killed a lot of cricket skills.

Posted by Leggie on (February 20, 2013, 19:51 GMT)

Good to see Sunny speak up for Test cricket. I know it's just a job, but can Sunny make a real statement by saying that he is retiring from commentating T20s? When people speak up for tests and then end up playing or commentating feverishly for over a month and a half of IPL, their speech appears to lack a certain sincerity. This will also be applicable to fans who end up cursing India after a test loss, and then gloats over fours and sixes in IPLs and T20s. If this hypocrisy stops, Test cricket will be in safe hands.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 19:16 GMT)

Gavaskar you too have matured from the time you were disappointed that Kpil dev took your place as captain. You played for yourself. I am a Srilankan Aussie. Ranjan Rodrigo Sydney

Posted by GreenDeviln on (February 20, 2013, 18:53 GMT)

Test cricket is dying in India, with the IPL players have been concentrating more on limited overs cricket. The players with proper skill and technique are decreasing day by day in India

Posted by sidmsdsac on (February 20, 2013, 18:42 GMT)

One thing that mr. Gavaskar missed out we need more people in the administration who at least have played test cricket

Posted by vikram501 on (February 20, 2013, 18:17 GMT)

Valid points raised by Mr. Gavaskar. But it would be more beneficial if he can present some detailed suggestions to get a discussion going among the administrators, specifically in the BCCI.

Posted by bumsonseats on (February 20, 2013, 18:15 GMT)

not to fussed what this guy says as its normally to mealy mouthed and the mouth piece of the bcci. but for a change i am in agreement to all he says.test cricket should never be allowed to be diluted in anyway. when im dead a buried and the likes of pollard, warner etc should never be mentioned in the same breadth as ponting or kallis. but im sorry to say many on he think that is so.

Posted by AjberTheGangulian on (February 20, 2013, 17:49 GMT)

Well said Sunny.... Test cricket differentiate Men from Boys while ODI differentiate Boys from t20 Kids. Lets protect Test cricket..

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