May 19, 2009

Gayle spake as he saw

Why the West Indies captain's pronouncements reflect the actions of cricket's administrators
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One of the abiding gripes of the hard-bitten hack is the sheer monotony of modern playerspeak. Another day, another press conference consisting of the bleeding obvious, reliant on liberal use of the words "hopefully" ("hopefully we'll win") and "obviously" ("obviously, hopefully we'll win"), with maybe a few "good areas" thrown in. Perhaps the last time a press conference made news was 20 years ago, and not even then for what was said, but rather what was done, David Gower hurrying from his inquisitors at Lord's to attend Anything Goes, thus transiting from one mainly pointless farce to another.

On the other hand, maybe it's no wonder that players say so little given the response when they actually do. Witness Chris Gayle, who generally troubles to move his lips as much as his feet, but who on the eve of the Test at Riverside wearily confessed in an interview with the Guardian that the West Indies' captaincy was "not something I'm looking to hang on to", and that he "wouldn't be so sad" if Test cricket faded away, although some English opponents such as Andrew Strauss "would be sad" because they lacked the panache necessary for Twenty20.

Cue shocked reactions all round, the knightly duo Sir Vivian Richards and Sir Garry Sobers standing up for Test cricket's epic grandeur, their old mucka Clive Lloyd having already chastised Gayle for arriving hot-foot from representing the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.

English fondness for periodic fits of morality was also confirmed, Simon Wilde opining in the Sunday Times that Gayle was "not a leader and never has been", and Steve James in the Sunday Telegraph that he certainly shouldn't be a leader any longer: "Gayle is hardly one of the game's great thinkers. But he is a Test captain of a major nation. And with that comes a certain responsibility. He has abdicated that quite astonishingly."

Yet West Indies is not a nation; it is a region, and a troubled one at that, whose cricket has in recent years seemed at constant risk of falling apart, which would have wearied a skipper of sterner stuff than Gayle. And the fact is, not everyone wants to be a Test match captain - even Allan Border, who captained Australia in more Tests than anybody else, did not want the job, and took a long time to feel comfortable in it. Had Border been held to Steve James' standards of responsibility, his tenure wouldn't have lasted a year.

The last of Gayle's grumblings, meanwhile, obviously breached that quaint sporting omerta concerning comment about rivals. Last night after watching my Aussie Rules team, Geelong, annihilate its opponents, I saw our star midfielder Jimmy Bartel respond to the obvious statement from the television interviewer that it had been a one-sided affair. "No, they took the game right up to us," he insisted, failing utterly to strike a tone of sincerity, but participating obediently in the charade that every opponent is equally respected and every victory is a brand from the burning.

Frankly if the alternative is such phoniness, give me Gayle's candour every time. For that matter, give me Strauss's initial candour in chiding Gayle for his belated arrival, which probably coaxed his rival into a little tit-for-tattle. Test cricket looks dour enough at Riverside without honestly held opinion, even annoyance, being held back too.

The chief beef with Gayle, of course, is his breach of that politesse about the "primacy of Test cricket". But why the sense of affront? A Professional Cricketers' Association survey last year confirmed that more than a third of English first-class players would consider retiring early to take the opportunity to play in the IPL, and a further fifth would court banning, by playing in the Indian Cricket League. Responding to a March survey by the Australian Cricketers' Association, fewer than half of Australia's elite cricketers believed that representing their country would be the ultimate professional accolade in decade.

Personally I consider Gayle mistaken. I believe Test cricket's welfare matters a great deal, for it is the most thorough and exacting examination of the overall quality of a cricketer. But it also benefits nobody if the "primacy of Test cricket" is upheld simply by a polite public agreement not to say otherwise, especially if it is simultaneously being undermined by those who run the game.

Personally I consider Gayle mistaken. I believe Test cricket's welfare matters a great deal, for it is the most thorough and exacting examination of the overall quality of a cricketer. But it also benefits nobody if the "primacy of Test cricket" is upheld simply by a polite public agreement not to say otherwise

For a belief in the "primacy of Test cricket" hardly seems to be shared by Gayle's employer, the WICB, which cheered on as tens of Allen Stanford's mysteriously-gotten millions were lavished on Twenty20 cricket in their region, yet who had to cancel a Test three months ago because the Viv Richards Stadium wasn't fit to graze cattle on.

Nor does the idea that cricket concerns more than merely maximising revenue strike much of a chord with Gayle's hosts, the ECB, which also threw in its lot with Stanford, having studiously sealed Test cricket off from a mass audience by selling broadcast rights to Rupert Murdoch, and putting Dick Turpin and Black Bess in the shade by the highway robbery of their ticket prices.

Heaven knows there aren't many believers in Test cricket at the BCCI, which provides the lion's share of global cricket revenue while seeing to it that six weeks' involvement in the IPL earns most participants more than they stand to make from international cricket for the rest of the year - which cannot but cause any cricketer to reconsider his priorities.

Down here I'm not entirely sure what administrators believe. Last week, for example, I made enquiries with Cricket Australia about when they might be selling a DVD of the recent Australia-South Africa series - the best of recent years, and the best I can remember here. "Naaah," came the answering drawl from the marketing department: Aussies won't buy DVDs of series that their team have lost. I wonder where the empirical verification for that conventional wisdom came from, given that Australia have lost only one other home series in 20 years. But so much for celebrating some of the most absorbing Test matches that Australia have ever played.

In speaking his piece, then, all Gayle has done is leave the hypocrisy to others, and taken global cricket administration at its actions rather than its words. If similar questions began generating similarly honest answers from others, then cricketers might actually be worth listening to again.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY RomanNoseJob on | May 20, 2009, 19:59 GMT

    I think you've made a lot of very good points in this article. I too felt that the reaction to Gayle saying he "wouldn't be sad" if test cricket died was more tinged with annoyance that someone had broken rank and gone against accepted opinion than actually being offended by what was said. It was almost like "right, for siding with that blooming indian lot, yer barred. you know the rules."

    I too agree Test cricket is the most exciting, it's engrossing and a good one develops over each day into a nervy climax but I do not demand everyone to accept my opinion. Just as, a majority I'm sure, some batsmen prefer test cricket, they still play ODIs and T20 so why can't it work the other way? Would Pietersen or Tendulkar or Gilchrist be thrown out the IPL for saying he prefers tests and wouldn't be bothered had T20 not been invented? I think not.

  • POSTED BY elsmallo on | May 19, 2009, 22:40 GMT

    As Chris would say 'Don't mind Chris' or 'Don't sleep with Chris on his mind' or similar. Chris most definitely spake as he saw - good for all he was his usual soporific self at the end of the series then. WI lose the Wisden trophy after a hard-fought home triumph and the only benefactors are the ECB who can say they are preparing England well for the Ashes and Sky who have filled their cricket quota for the early season. If Sky could bid enough for the IPL then harmony would be restored with the usual suspects sitting pretty with their monopolies and the game better off without the commercial competition.

  • POSTED BY OliverWebber on | May 19, 2009, 19:51 GMT

    "JohnBaxter", whether your argument for Test Cricket being "retired" is sound or not, only time will tell. As a huge Test fan, I sincerely hope you're wrong! And of course Gayle is entitled to his view, and maybe he is right; but he absolutely should NOT be applauded for airing his views *in the way he did*, on the eve of a Test - what kind of leadership is that? What kind of an example is that for his players? That's the reason Gayle has lost respect, not because he dislikes Test cricket per se, and that's why he should in any sensible world be sacked immediately as Test captain.

  • POSTED BY nafzak on | May 19, 2009, 17:47 GMT

    Good article. I do believe that there was a lot more to Gayle's comments that just speaking how he truly felt about Test Cricket. I also believe that Gayle's frustration with the WICB finally tipped over. 1. This is the 2nd time in the past 3 years that an early (prev, unscheduled) tour of England was trust upon WI. 2. Very few WI players have experience playing in Eng much less THIS EARLY (when it's so cold)as opposed to the days of Lloyd or Sobers. 3. WI players are paid a fraction of their peers in Eng, India, Aus, SA, etc., hence their reliance on the IPL. Sri Lanka board realised this fact and canceled their tour of ENG. to let their players enjoy the IPL and it's rewards. 4. Just after regaining the Wis trophy and with little time to celebrate the greed of the WI board forced it's players to defend the trophy in a 2 test series under the harshest of conditions. 5. ECB treats WICB as a lesser child because they know they can.

    That's why, I as a WI fan, fully support Gayle

  • POSTED BY NicoliD on | May 19, 2009, 16:14 GMT

    I think all this is fascinating~ with the inability to exercise any kind of foresight, planning, or organization (which doesn't seem to be recent either way), the sport of Cricket is managing to self destruct. The fans just clamor for more Twenty20 or argue back and forth over whether things are India's fault or Australia's fault or England's fault, while the more shocking problems of groundskeepers being unable to lay a pitch that will actually provide a decent surface for play, leaving the only form of the sport that can be played on them idiotproof Twenty20 matches. The argument of "the fans getting what they want" can only apply to fans that want Twenty20. I'll go watch baseball if that's my only option, they don't hack their sport apart to fit in the time frame.

  • POSTED BY JohnnyRook on | May 19, 2009, 14:40 GMT

    Great article. There was a time when people were glued for 5 days, now they just care about highlights and whether their country wins or not. The decreasing attendance and TRPs prove this. A day might come when people won't even care about that. However, I don't see why are people getting so emotional about possible demise of test cricket. If people like it they will watch it, else it will die out like everything else does which doesn't upgrade itself. Administrators and purists should try to make Tests more interesting instead of taking moral high ground and telling 'lesser people' what they should watch.

    PS : Personally I am not too big a fan of T20. 3 boundaries in an over is as monotonous as 3 dot balls in an over, but thats just me.

  • POSTED BY cricket_just on | May 19, 2009, 14:39 GMT

    Seems Gayle is past it, so why are we interested? Cricket is a wonderful game played by many around the World. It is played at schools and on village greens evertwhere where youngsters learn the skills of a terrific game culminating in Test Match Cricket. What a laugh that anyone can think that T20 can replace it! T20 is not cricket, just a slog for a lot of money, and only entertaining in the early stages. It is already losing its attraction and becoming a little boring. Roll on end of May! What is this thing abvout England? Do you guys still have an inferiority complex. We play cricket because we love it win or lose. For heavens sake get a life, it only a game aftter all - or two games now actually. Or is it three?

  • POSTED BY Parth_Pala on | May 19, 2009, 14:32 GMT

    Finally a writer who got it spot on. Gayle was just saying what most cricketers are thinking, those few who say otherwise are just bitter at their lack of luck in getting the big bucks of T20. This test series was not about test cricket it was about money. ECB and WICB wanting a quick buck in a space of time where English cricket had nothing going for it. So what do they do? Go make up a tour. Test cricket get's boring and redundant if teams play each other every year. Kind of like India Pakistan, or India Australia. Gayle has his right to go play the IPL and why should he have to leave for a series created that made no sense other than a quick buck. If the ECB, WICB and Strauss are all too happy to play this series for a quick buck why the double standard for Gayle and the IPL?

  • POSTED BY BearAllen on | May 19, 2009, 14:02 GMT

    The 'primacy of Test Cricket' being questioned is nothing new. People have such short memories.

    Packer's cricket circus and its effect on Test teams was much the same. People said the money and the fast pace of ODIs would kill Tests. It caused problems for a few years but people's desire for Test cricket, and the sensible accommodation of ODIs, meant Tests survived and, if anything, got stronger. Cricketers earned a proper living and fielding and fitness certainly improved.

    That cricketers who've spent twenty years punishing their bodies bowling 25 overs a day, 300 days a year, should have their views clouded by being paid life-changing money for a handful of exhibition games when they're on the verge of retirement, shouldn't be so surprising, but no one will ever become 'great' from T20.

    I'd pay any money and travel anywhere to get a glimpse of Bradman or Lillee, which is just what we do now to get another glimpse of Warney. But no Tests and he wouldn't be a legend, just a bowler.

  • POSTED BY rahulsaxena on | May 19, 2009, 12:55 GMT

    Agreed. The British can be very contradicting at times. And your article is a truly reflection of the fact that all the sorrows of England and Test Cricket can't be blamed on India alone

  • POSTED BY RomanNoseJob on | May 20, 2009, 19:59 GMT

    I think you've made a lot of very good points in this article. I too felt that the reaction to Gayle saying he "wouldn't be sad" if test cricket died was more tinged with annoyance that someone had broken rank and gone against accepted opinion than actually being offended by what was said. It was almost like "right, for siding with that blooming indian lot, yer barred. you know the rules."

    I too agree Test cricket is the most exciting, it's engrossing and a good one develops over each day into a nervy climax but I do not demand everyone to accept my opinion. Just as, a majority I'm sure, some batsmen prefer test cricket, they still play ODIs and T20 so why can't it work the other way? Would Pietersen or Tendulkar or Gilchrist be thrown out the IPL for saying he prefers tests and wouldn't be bothered had T20 not been invented? I think not.

  • POSTED BY elsmallo on | May 19, 2009, 22:40 GMT

    As Chris would say 'Don't mind Chris' or 'Don't sleep with Chris on his mind' or similar. Chris most definitely spake as he saw - good for all he was his usual soporific self at the end of the series then. WI lose the Wisden trophy after a hard-fought home triumph and the only benefactors are the ECB who can say they are preparing England well for the Ashes and Sky who have filled their cricket quota for the early season. If Sky could bid enough for the IPL then harmony would be restored with the usual suspects sitting pretty with their monopolies and the game better off without the commercial competition.

  • POSTED BY OliverWebber on | May 19, 2009, 19:51 GMT

    "JohnBaxter", whether your argument for Test Cricket being "retired" is sound or not, only time will tell. As a huge Test fan, I sincerely hope you're wrong! And of course Gayle is entitled to his view, and maybe he is right; but he absolutely should NOT be applauded for airing his views *in the way he did*, on the eve of a Test - what kind of leadership is that? What kind of an example is that for his players? That's the reason Gayle has lost respect, not because he dislikes Test cricket per se, and that's why he should in any sensible world be sacked immediately as Test captain.

  • POSTED BY nafzak on | May 19, 2009, 17:47 GMT

    Good article. I do believe that there was a lot more to Gayle's comments that just speaking how he truly felt about Test Cricket. I also believe that Gayle's frustration with the WICB finally tipped over. 1. This is the 2nd time in the past 3 years that an early (prev, unscheduled) tour of England was trust upon WI. 2. Very few WI players have experience playing in Eng much less THIS EARLY (when it's so cold)as opposed to the days of Lloyd or Sobers. 3. WI players are paid a fraction of their peers in Eng, India, Aus, SA, etc., hence their reliance on the IPL. Sri Lanka board realised this fact and canceled their tour of ENG. to let their players enjoy the IPL and it's rewards. 4. Just after regaining the Wis trophy and with little time to celebrate the greed of the WI board forced it's players to defend the trophy in a 2 test series under the harshest of conditions. 5. ECB treats WICB as a lesser child because they know they can.

    That's why, I as a WI fan, fully support Gayle

  • POSTED BY NicoliD on | May 19, 2009, 16:14 GMT

    I think all this is fascinating~ with the inability to exercise any kind of foresight, planning, or organization (which doesn't seem to be recent either way), the sport of Cricket is managing to self destruct. The fans just clamor for more Twenty20 or argue back and forth over whether things are India's fault or Australia's fault or England's fault, while the more shocking problems of groundskeepers being unable to lay a pitch that will actually provide a decent surface for play, leaving the only form of the sport that can be played on them idiotproof Twenty20 matches. The argument of "the fans getting what they want" can only apply to fans that want Twenty20. I'll go watch baseball if that's my only option, they don't hack their sport apart to fit in the time frame.

  • POSTED BY JohnnyRook on | May 19, 2009, 14:40 GMT

    Great article. There was a time when people were glued for 5 days, now they just care about highlights and whether their country wins or not. The decreasing attendance and TRPs prove this. A day might come when people won't even care about that. However, I don't see why are people getting so emotional about possible demise of test cricket. If people like it they will watch it, else it will die out like everything else does which doesn't upgrade itself. Administrators and purists should try to make Tests more interesting instead of taking moral high ground and telling 'lesser people' what they should watch.

    PS : Personally I am not too big a fan of T20. 3 boundaries in an over is as monotonous as 3 dot balls in an over, but thats just me.

  • POSTED BY cricket_just on | May 19, 2009, 14:39 GMT

    Seems Gayle is past it, so why are we interested? Cricket is a wonderful game played by many around the World. It is played at schools and on village greens evertwhere where youngsters learn the skills of a terrific game culminating in Test Match Cricket. What a laugh that anyone can think that T20 can replace it! T20 is not cricket, just a slog for a lot of money, and only entertaining in the early stages. It is already losing its attraction and becoming a little boring. Roll on end of May! What is this thing abvout England? Do you guys still have an inferiority complex. We play cricket because we love it win or lose. For heavens sake get a life, it only a game aftter all - or two games now actually. Or is it three?

  • POSTED BY Parth_Pala on | May 19, 2009, 14:32 GMT

    Finally a writer who got it spot on. Gayle was just saying what most cricketers are thinking, those few who say otherwise are just bitter at their lack of luck in getting the big bucks of T20. This test series was not about test cricket it was about money. ECB and WICB wanting a quick buck in a space of time where English cricket had nothing going for it. So what do they do? Go make up a tour. Test cricket get's boring and redundant if teams play each other every year. Kind of like India Pakistan, or India Australia. Gayle has his right to go play the IPL and why should he have to leave for a series created that made no sense other than a quick buck. If the ECB, WICB and Strauss are all too happy to play this series for a quick buck why the double standard for Gayle and the IPL?

  • POSTED BY BearAllen on | May 19, 2009, 14:02 GMT

    The 'primacy of Test Cricket' being questioned is nothing new. People have such short memories.

    Packer's cricket circus and its effect on Test teams was much the same. People said the money and the fast pace of ODIs would kill Tests. It caused problems for a few years but people's desire for Test cricket, and the sensible accommodation of ODIs, meant Tests survived and, if anything, got stronger. Cricketers earned a proper living and fielding and fitness certainly improved.

    That cricketers who've spent twenty years punishing their bodies bowling 25 overs a day, 300 days a year, should have their views clouded by being paid life-changing money for a handful of exhibition games when they're on the verge of retirement, shouldn't be so surprising, but no one will ever become 'great' from T20.

    I'd pay any money and travel anywhere to get a glimpse of Bradman or Lillee, which is just what we do now to get another glimpse of Warney. But no Tests and he wouldn't be a legend, just a bowler.

  • POSTED BY rahulsaxena on | May 19, 2009, 12:55 GMT

    Agreed. The British can be very contradicting at times. And your article is a truly reflection of the fact that all the sorrows of England and Test Cricket can't be blamed on India alone

  • POSTED BY JohnBaxter on | May 19, 2009, 10:57 GMT

    Chris Gayle should be applauded & congratulated for finally breaking the 'Test Cricket' patronizing mould and saying what every realist has known for ages… "If Test Cricket can't adapt to suite the needs of the modern day audiences, it will die!"

    As a yard stick as to what the public prefers, just ask the many thousands who packed out the Bloemfontein oval (South Africa) on a cold Sunday night (17th May) to watch two IPLT20 teams that very few had any serious allegence too. They came for entertainment and action. In just under 4 hours, they got everything and more. They went home well satisfied and ready to return again and again, no matter who's playing.

    Now ask the crowd of 3 or so that pitched up to watch the Riverside test as to what form they really prefer, T20 or Tests? It's a No Brainer…

    Test Cricket has been the flagship for so many years, but like the battleships of old, it's time for it to retire and let its more entertaining offspring carry the way forward.

  • POSTED BY MrKricket on | May 19, 2009, 9:18 GMT

    While T20 is entertaining it may well be the end or at least create a lasting schism in the game of cricket akin to the split in rugby over 100 years ago. T20 will render ODIs extinct or uncommon and the game will become like baseball but a lot more entertaining. The most important attribute for a T20 player is their fielding ability as they spend more time on that than anything else - bowlers only have 24 deliveries, batsmen may not get a hit at all if batting 6 or lower. Gayle probably has named "that which must not be named" and now the elephant in the corner has neon flashing lights on it saying "here is the elephant!" Tests to survive? I hope so!

  • POSTED BY iceman87 on | May 19, 2009, 8:57 GMT

    partially agree with u gideon...all this moral high ground seems a farce given the kind of actions taken by everyone( administrators, media et al) why do people think or are made to think that players are only after money? the players aint greedy,its just that they are gettin more money and its being noticed by everyone around.there would hardly be a handful of international cricketers who wd be ready to leave international stuff in order to play in the IPL( if such a situation ever arises).the domestic cricketers are definitely benefiting from the IPL and that wd continue. with more T20 action lined up, i only fear for the ODIs...test cricket will easily survive...rather it would thrive given the kind of exciting contests we've all seen like aus-ind, sa-aus,the ashes.A test championship properly scheduled is the way to go. and ya...a bit more candour would definitely be welcome Cricinfo..take a note...Candour XI wd be a very interesting read

  • POSTED BY dutchy on | May 19, 2009, 7:21 GMT

    The candour king was Kim Hughes - you could always count on him to say something memorable and silly. Gayle still has a way to go to reach those heights. (Maybe Cricinfo should do a "Candour XI")

  • POSTED BY IntrinsicPseud on | May 19, 2009, 7:19 GMT

    Excellent article. Just lays the facts as facts. The English media do their moral policing too much and too often. They should have instead tried to empathise with Gayle and Co who actually didn't want to play an impromptu series, but were forced by their board to do so. Please keep this "primacy of Test cricket" argument away. Test cricket is great, agreed. But men need to make money as well. That's what T20 is for. Accept T20 as a way of life along with Test cricket. Give it due time in the calendar as well. And you won't see many more disgruntled Gayles.

  • POSTED BY MasterClass on | May 19, 2009, 7:18 GMT

    Mr. Haigh, your article is so flawed I don't know where to begin. But I would like to know how exactly the BCCI is undermining test cricket by allowing players to earn a good living (in the IPL) without sacrificing their life to the game? I'm not talking about the rockstars of the game, but of the average cricketer who without the IPL would be consigned to a life of obscurity and hopelessness playing the domestic circuit. And while this is particularly true in a country as big and socio-economically diverse as India where often players come from the lower rungs of society, it also applies to the well-to-do countries such as Australia, England and South Africa where the domestic circuit wages are distinctly underwhelming. The IPL with its revenue structure is a godsend to these players. Why don't you ask them once for a change before pronouncing your high and mighty verdicts!

  • POSTED BY vswami on | May 19, 2009, 7:17 GMT

    At the height of tyest match glory, the spectator didnt have many options and he had to endure a cruel, boring 5 day drawn test match with no result in sight. Today he has other options and he is making choices. Test cricket must compete with other forms and find its appropriate place. If test cricket cannot compete with a mere 6 weeks of IPL, it reveals how starved the people and players had been for other options and IPL is just giving people and players what they want.

  • POSTED BY kris_mg on | May 19, 2009, 7:07 GMT

    I may not agree with what Gayle said.. But your analysis was spot on. Rather than chastising Gayle for what he said we should rather be looking at the true state of affairs the players are facing today. The Twenty20 is here to stay and let it stay. The primacy of Test cricket has to be maintained, by giving it the value and attention it deserves. The way in which the WICB and ECB has set up a Test series by jamming it in a gap in the calendar shows how much importance they give to a test series.

  • POSTED BY aditya.pidaparthy on | May 19, 2009, 6:53 GMT

    Bingo.

    Times I wonder, why they even conduct these press conferences. No one really expects or well even wants someone to say, "sorry guys I lost cause I got hammered last night". Or something like "Ain't it funny I was completely toasted last night yet, managed to hit a 100 today".

    I think the all, not a chunk, of the blame should rest on ECB/WICB for shoehorning this series in the middle of nowhere, from out of nowhere.

    I really don't think the English need to feel proud about anything for winning the series. 10 centigrade is not cricket weather.

  • POSTED BY jfgjfg on | May 19, 2009, 6:50 GMT

    Agree with you on this. By the way, when I asked Supersport the Africa broadcasters of all cricket whether they will be selling the recent Aus vs SA dvd's(either in Aus or in SA) they said there is no market for he dvd's. Speaking as one of many who woke up at 2am for a month while I following the series in Australia, I find this hard to believe. But at least there is Cricinfo's ball by ball description + my imagination :)

  • POSTED BY redneck on | May 19, 2009, 6:48 GMT

    firstly i think cricket australia is spot on no aussie would buy a dvd of a series in which we lost! well done south africa but no thanks to reliving it again! secondly test cricket needs more stucture than just the icc rankings. i thought cricket australia's idea of a test championship was a step in the right direction but the Board that wants to Control Cricket and also India thought otherwise as it would mean they have to host bangledesh and other less desirable fixtures. maybe a revamped version of what CA suggested would fit better. surly 2 home and 2 away tours for each team per year is around the mark, with each tour around 6-7 weeks meaning they would have atleast 22 weeks off each year for ipl, spending time with family etc. which is more than anyother worker would get a year! easily

  • POSTED BY another_dour_knock on | May 19, 2009, 6:38 GMT

    Howie_CrowEater you're on the money. The quicker they recognise that IPL is here to stay and give it it's own timeslice, the better. Also the less likely that Test Cricket at other times of the year will be affected. I think it's ODIs, not Test Cricket, that should feel threatened by T20. Until these changes take place, cricket authorities have no right to question someone like Gayle, since they're sending out mixed messages. I do think that Gayle off his own bat should have been a bit more diplomatic though. For "Captain of a major cricketing team" read "Ambassador of the game"; would AB even at his surliest have had a swipe at test cricket? Unlikely.

  • POSTED BY Javed_Munir_Dar on | May 19, 2009, 6:08 GMT

    Its not twenty20 which matters it the money which matters, every player is running after money, the lust and greed on money persisting them to play twenty20, they are getting more money in less time, if you pay more than twenty20 in test cricket they will start saying the test cricket is the best form of cricket

  • POSTED BY Subra on | May 19, 2009, 5:59 GMT

    The primacy of Test Cricket does not give it the power to bore fans to death by preparing perfect pitches that play so true even on the fifth day. Yet, there have been captains like Benaud and Worrell. If only we had more captains of that ilk, and more sporting pitches to ensure that bowlers are not treated like slaves, getting no assistance on the last day of a Test match - then people would be flocking to watch Test matches. Only when there is a true contest between bat and ball does Test cricket appeal to the true fan and once authorities realise that seats can be filled to capacity, give the lon-suffering fan some of the basic comforts that he/she is entitled to when supporting Test cricket. Test cricket must win back the supporters it is losing to T20 and ODIs, and it is the duty of administrators and captains to see that the is played positively from the very first ball. Siva from Singapore

  • POSTED BY TrueFactors on | May 19, 2009, 5:56 GMT

    Sure if any of Viv Richards or Clive Lloyd or Gary Sobers were playing today, they would like to favour IPL kind of 20-20 cricket over those long tiring matches. We believe, test matches have its own importance, for cricketer's soul satisfaction on their battle and resistance, but 20-20 is highest pressure mental games and not easy for anyone. The way batsmen plays their shots, I fear one day an umpire or a bowler will get injured to death. There is a big competition, drama and all that people want to get in place of movies, dramas or other entertainment places. Big plus for players, big reward for them too. So, whats wrong?? Actually Richards, Sobers, Lloyd and other batsmen might have a feeling that they missed this opportunity since they used to play same hard shots & they could earn big repo and money. I have seen photos of Stamford 20-20 inauguration function when Viv, bothom and co. were very fascinated, looking at money. We all love money and wanted fame and name of course.

  • POSTED BY sundarb on | May 19, 2009, 5:53 GMT

    A well-balanced article! Seriously, the English media can learn a thing or two by just reading this piece. Hypocrisy is the exact word for the administrators who complained. One thing is for sure about the English media: they are excellent at giving needless hype and biasing public opinion with a lop-sided skewed view on things.

  • POSTED BY TrueFactors on | May 19, 2009, 5:50 GMT

    Sure if any of Viv Richards or Clive Lloyd or Gary Sobers were playing today, they would like to favour IPL type of 20-20 cricket over those long tiring matches. We believe, test matches have its own importance, for cricketer's soul satisfaction on their battle and resistance, but 20-20 is highest pressure mental games and not easy for anyone. The way batsmen plays their shots, I fear one day an umpire or a bowler will get injured to death. There is a big competition, drama and all that people wanted to see over movies, dramas or such other entertainment places. Plus for players, big reward for them too. So, whats wrong?? Actually Richards, Sobers, Lloyd and other batsmen might have a think that they could not get this opportunity because they were playing that matches this format and could earn big money. I have seen photos of Stamford 20-20 inauguration function when Viv, bothom and co. were very fascinated, looking at money. We all love money and wanted fame and name of course..

  • POSTED BY cricfan912 on | May 19, 2009, 5:23 GMT

    There's something I do not get. Why should anyone do anything for test cricket? There seems to be a lot of contempt for the administrators, regularly accused for 'revenue maximisation'. Surely, if test cricket is followed by all, it will flourish and provide revenue.

    On the other hand, if test cricket is not followed by all; if it is boring, ridiculously inconvenient to watch and increasingly esoteric, why should administrators make it a priority?

    A cricket board must cater to the needs of cricket fans. Period. Let the masses decide with their dollars.

  • POSTED BY dyogesh on | May 19, 2009, 4:47 GMT

    Spot on. Gayle's candour is always more welcome than say thos really drab interviews. And some of the english writers really put on the moral police act a bit too much. Now that it has been known that even some of their papers do not cover county cricket because it doesn't pay money, but they expect games administrators to do the opposite of supporting games that do not pay.

  • POSTED BY Howie_CrowEater on | May 19, 2009, 4:37 GMT

    Well said MR. Haigh. The solution to this problem is simple. Create a timeframe each year where there is no International cricket and have the IPL played then. A little less International cricket wouldn't hurt, infact I think if there was less International games played, there would be a bigger interest. Maybe 2 or 3 IPL style leagues with a champions trophy at another juncture. I'm sure its not impossible. Having to leave the IPL to play test matches is far from ideal, that would irritate anybody.

  • POSTED BY HundredPercentBarcelonista on | May 19, 2009, 4:27 GMT

    Thank you very much for saying it like it is. Cricketers and administrators have perfected the art of talking for hours without saying much.

  • POSTED BY sidtr on | May 19, 2009, 4:13 GMT

    I agree one hundred percent. I am glad Gayle said what it did. I do not agree with what he said, but I do think cricketers need to speak up, about how bad the pitchers are (especially the bowlers), how schedules are being messed up, how Test cricket is dying, we fans keep whining and moaning about how we get to see no contests, we see writers write pieces about how to save Tests, but it helps no one, if anyone can kick the administrators right where it hurts to wake them up, it must be the players themselves. They must speak up to what they believe in. It is important for the game now, more then ever to get some level headed people in the ICC who care for the game and find a solution to getting Test cricket back on track.

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  • POSTED BY sidtr on | May 19, 2009, 4:13 GMT

    I agree one hundred percent. I am glad Gayle said what it did. I do not agree with what he said, but I do think cricketers need to speak up, about how bad the pitchers are (especially the bowlers), how schedules are being messed up, how Test cricket is dying, we fans keep whining and moaning about how we get to see no contests, we see writers write pieces about how to save Tests, but it helps no one, if anyone can kick the administrators right where it hurts to wake them up, it must be the players themselves. They must speak up to what they believe in. It is important for the game now, more then ever to get some level headed people in the ICC who care for the game and find a solution to getting Test cricket back on track.

  • POSTED BY HundredPercentBarcelonista on | May 19, 2009, 4:27 GMT

    Thank you very much for saying it like it is. Cricketers and administrators have perfected the art of talking for hours without saying much.

  • POSTED BY Howie_CrowEater on | May 19, 2009, 4:37 GMT

    Well said MR. Haigh. The solution to this problem is simple. Create a timeframe each year where there is no International cricket and have the IPL played then. A little less International cricket wouldn't hurt, infact I think if there was less International games played, there would be a bigger interest. Maybe 2 or 3 IPL style leagues with a champions trophy at another juncture. I'm sure its not impossible. Having to leave the IPL to play test matches is far from ideal, that would irritate anybody.

  • POSTED BY dyogesh on | May 19, 2009, 4:47 GMT

    Spot on. Gayle's candour is always more welcome than say thos really drab interviews. And some of the english writers really put on the moral police act a bit too much. Now that it has been known that even some of their papers do not cover county cricket because it doesn't pay money, but they expect games administrators to do the opposite of supporting games that do not pay.

  • POSTED BY cricfan912 on | May 19, 2009, 5:23 GMT

    There's something I do not get. Why should anyone do anything for test cricket? There seems to be a lot of contempt for the administrators, regularly accused for 'revenue maximisation'. Surely, if test cricket is followed by all, it will flourish and provide revenue.

    On the other hand, if test cricket is not followed by all; if it is boring, ridiculously inconvenient to watch and increasingly esoteric, why should administrators make it a priority?

    A cricket board must cater to the needs of cricket fans. Period. Let the masses decide with their dollars.

  • POSTED BY TrueFactors on | May 19, 2009, 5:50 GMT

    Sure if any of Viv Richards or Clive Lloyd or Gary Sobers were playing today, they would like to favour IPL type of 20-20 cricket over those long tiring matches. We believe, test matches have its own importance, for cricketer's soul satisfaction on their battle and resistance, but 20-20 is highest pressure mental games and not easy for anyone. The way batsmen plays their shots, I fear one day an umpire or a bowler will get injured to death. There is a big competition, drama and all that people wanted to see over movies, dramas or such other entertainment places. Plus for players, big reward for them too. So, whats wrong?? Actually Richards, Sobers, Lloyd and other batsmen might have a think that they could not get this opportunity because they were playing that matches this format and could earn big money. I have seen photos of Stamford 20-20 inauguration function when Viv, bothom and co. were very fascinated, looking at money. We all love money and wanted fame and name of course..

  • POSTED BY sundarb on | May 19, 2009, 5:53 GMT

    A well-balanced article! Seriously, the English media can learn a thing or two by just reading this piece. Hypocrisy is the exact word for the administrators who complained. One thing is for sure about the English media: they are excellent at giving needless hype and biasing public opinion with a lop-sided skewed view on things.

  • POSTED BY TrueFactors on | May 19, 2009, 5:56 GMT

    Sure if any of Viv Richards or Clive Lloyd or Gary Sobers were playing today, they would like to favour IPL kind of 20-20 cricket over those long tiring matches. We believe, test matches have its own importance, for cricketer's soul satisfaction on their battle and resistance, but 20-20 is highest pressure mental games and not easy for anyone. The way batsmen plays their shots, I fear one day an umpire or a bowler will get injured to death. There is a big competition, drama and all that people want to get in place of movies, dramas or other entertainment places. Big plus for players, big reward for them too. So, whats wrong?? Actually Richards, Sobers, Lloyd and other batsmen might have a feeling that they missed this opportunity since they used to play same hard shots & they could earn big repo and money. I have seen photos of Stamford 20-20 inauguration function when Viv, bothom and co. were very fascinated, looking at money. We all love money and wanted fame and name of course.

  • POSTED BY Subra on | May 19, 2009, 5:59 GMT

    The primacy of Test Cricket does not give it the power to bore fans to death by preparing perfect pitches that play so true even on the fifth day. Yet, there have been captains like Benaud and Worrell. If only we had more captains of that ilk, and more sporting pitches to ensure that bowlers are not treated like slaves, getting no assistance on the last day of a Test match - then people would be flocking to watch Test matches. Only when there is a true contest between bat and ball does Test cricket appeal to the true fan and once authorities realise that seats can be filled to capacity, give the lon-suffering fan some of the basic comforts that he/she is entitled to when supporting Test cricket. Test cricket must win back the supporters it is losing to T20 and ODIs, and it is the duty of administrators and captains to see that the is played positively from the very first ball. Siva from Singapore

  • POSTED BY Javed_Munir_Dar on | May 19, 2009, 6:08 GMT

    Its not twenty20 which matters it the money which matters, every player is running after money, the lust and greed on money persisting them to play twenty20, they are getting more money in less time, if you pay more than twenty20 in test cricket they will start saying the test cricket is the best form of cricket