April 13, 2012

Tests are not the only cricket

True, the five-day version is the highest form, but to treat the shorter variants as an abomination is misguided
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The latest edition of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack makes a plea to world cricket that needs to be made - Test cricket needs to be strengthened and nurtured - but interestingly it continues to look at India through the prism of a western sort of work ethic and sensibility. I'm delighted with the theme that the editor, Lawrence Booth, one of cricket's finest young journalists, uses ("India, your sport needs you"), for the market leader must lay down the priorities. But Lawrence, I fear, wants India to show the way in a manner in which England might. But more of that by and by.

Clearly India has to play the role of the statesman in nurturing product quality, but it is just as true in the corporate world that market leaders place great emphasis on profitability. The great institutions of the world are able to find the right mix; their product quality doesn't drop, nor do their margins. In sport you can translate that to having very high W/L and P/L ratios - winning more matches than you lose and making a lot of money while doing so. (The idea of making money should eventually be to nurture and strengthen the sport, but this is only a small article...) And as I have often argued, the P/L ratio seems to be valued far more than the W/L one in India.

Inevitably when we talk of nurturing, we talk about Test cricket. It bothers me a little that to some, anything other than Test cricket is an abomination, is unworthy of existence and must necessarily be looked down on, in the manner in which other castes were in India's old caste system: that Test cricket must be the Brahmin, T20 the Shudra, and 50-overs cricket somewhere in between.

For Test cricket to remain the mightiest form of the game, it must become self-sufficient. It cannot be on the dole from T20, or 50-overs cricket, and yet despise those forms. For that to happen, it must establish a commercial connection with the follower. For art and wine to survive, there must be enough people buying art and wine; there must be a commercial involvement between the producer and the consumer. Apart from England and, to a lesser extent, Australia, I am not sure that kind of involvement exists. All of us love Test cricket dearly - we've had an excellent Test match this week in Barbados - but not many of us buy a ticket to go to the ground; or watch it on television, thereby allowing channels to sell advertising on it; or buy merchandise. We follow the match on the internet, blog about it, tweet, and write essays, but none of these makes it financially stronger.

England is a bit different because it is the last real bastion of Test cricket, and that is where Lawrence, and other passionate lovers of the game, get their DNA from. England has this amazing structure where people pay unbelievable prices to watch Test cricket and buy enough decoders from Sky, to enable fewer commercials to be aired. Television in England is a subscription-driven model: people pay to watch what they like.

On the subcontinent, we are different. Maybe because of the great need to merely exist, we are very price-conscious; we do not mind putting up with things as long as they don't cost too much. Hence the unbelievable amount of advertising on television. But also, our entertainment is escapist, most visibly manifest in our cinema (also now the staple of opening ceremonies at cricket tournaments!), which is loud, ostentatious and generally a spectacle. T20 cricket, while possessed of its own skills, most closely approximates that.

India and China are not just emerging consumer powers, they are also cultures that are completely different from the rather more homogeneous ones of America and Europe. As India needs to understand its larger role in world matters (for the purposes of this article, read world cricket), so too does the rest of the world need to understand that another vibrant and deeply different culture exists. Neither can weigh the other in the scales it weighs itself in.

Test cricket will survive, but, I fear, not on its own. T20 will be the inducement, it will draw in many more consumers, and the challenge will then be to retain them and hope they enjoy the many wonderful flavours of Test cricket. But within the larger world of cricket, every country must lay down its priorities. India's choices may not please everybody, but then each must create its own commercial ecosystem.

The bigger challenge in world cricket is not whether Test cricket must be played or T20, it is whether or not everyone can understand the different cultures within our tiny world.

Harsha Bhogle commentates on the IPL and other cricket, and is a television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jay57870 on April 16, 2012, 3:52 GMT

    (Cont) Much as I love Test cricket (I grew up with it), I've come to enjoy ODIs & T20s as well. In this context, Rahul Dravid's erudite insights (delivered in his recent Bradman Oration) are spot on: Cricket must accommodate and balance all 3 formats. Overscheduling must be avoided. The fan must be respected. It's not all about money & power. T20/IPL has opened doors for many local (& foreign) players to earn a livelihood. Furthermore, T20/IPL has become the golden goose that provides most of the funding for the changed "portfolio" of Tests/ODIs/T20/Domestic. Cricket administrators in India have their work cut out: to manage this "portfolio" of products profitably and successfully, while giving the cricketing public the best consumer experience. The Test connoisseurs get to enjoy fine wine. The T20 fans get an affordable family package. A little bit of both for the ODI public. The mainstream cricket-lovers (like myself) get to eat the cake and keep it too. Don't forget the icing!

  • jay57870 on April 16, 2012, 3:48 GMT

    (Cont) In another context, US college sports can provide a useful benchmark for cricket to look at. Great academic universities - like Stanford, Michigan, Duke & more - manage their "portfolio" of sports in virtually a self-sufficient & autonomous manner. Interestingly, profits are generated primarily by just two revenue-producing sports: American football & basketball. They in turn fund the entire athletic budget to support 20+ other different sports - baseball, hockey, soccer, tennis, swimming, track, gymnastics, etc - for both men and women. Money is the biggest factor, with the fans foremost in mind. Money is also wisely spent & distributed to attract top talent in other sports with athletic scholarships. Some of these athletes advance to become Olympians and professional/national stars in their respective sports. That's why these great institutions give new meaning to managing a "portfolio" of vastly different products (sports) profitably (P/L) and successfully (W/L). (TBC)

  • jay57870 on April 16, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    Harsha - Let's get first things first: Market forces will dictate the future direction of cricket. It's big business. It's big-time sports entertainment. Money is the common denominator in international sports (even in Olympics) as it is in multinational business. All that as given, Harsha is right: each country "must create its own commercial ecosystem" to keep cricket viable in the long run. In the auto business, for instance, major carmakers (Toyota, GM) deploy country-specific business strategies. For India, their "portfolio" of products is focused more on affordable small cars - as opposed to higher-end vehicles in their home markets (Japan, USA) - because of different consumer preferences, market conditions & federal regulations. Call it "culture" if you will. Why then is England complaining about T20? They created it, but made a big mess of it via Sir Stanford. Humiliated? India instead has turned T20 into a big commercial success via IPL. Jealousy? Just ask KP! (TBC)

  • karthik_raja on April 16, 2012, 1:45 GMT

    @RandyOZ. Yes, u r rite. Also plz add that, Eng & Aus shud restrict them frm playing only in their home grounds. Coz. V all know Eng(4-1) & Aus(4-0) recent record in subcontinent. Poor Aus, they can ONLY draw against "minnows" NZ in their home ground too. Very poor.

  • on April 15, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    The Image attached says everything, no need for long comments and showing how much you love the game. In this busy life especially in India how can you expect a man to watch a match for 5 days. I am one of those guys who believes that tests should be limited to academic level. That is players for T20 and One days should be choosed from performance tests at domestic or international level with tests being the primary format at domestic level. In that way we will have quality players at highest level of these shorter formats and also Test cricket would be alive.

  • Busie1979 on April 14, 2012, 23:26 GMT

    T20 and ODI are not taken seriously unless it is a world cup. You can see that in selection policies where players are rotated, given a few games here or there for experience, etc. Eg. Pete Forrest in Australia clearly doesn't deserve ODI selection, but the selectors picked him for ODIs to try to groom him for tests. A misguided effort, but this doesn't happen in tests

  • ravens20 on April 14, 2012, 20:07 GMT

    The problem with T20 for me is that the outcomes of the games seem less dependent on skill and more dependent on luck. And unlike the 50 over game...there are less opportunities to fight back from a poor start. T20 batting is entertaining but there are no opportunities to play the long innings that people remember decades later. And when batsman are constantly trying to hit the ball, wickets feel cheaper too, thereby making great bowling spells less noteworthy.

  • m_ilind on April 14, 2012, 16:59 GMT

    IMHO, Tests are "the" cricket, if not the only cricket!

  • on April 14, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    An important point in favor of T20 is that it can help sell cricket to newer countries, and that is a very important point too. What cricket desperately needs is not more money, but more countries participating and enjoying cricket !

  • on April 14, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    The big problem with Twenty20 cricket and more specifically the IPL is that it takes players away from international cricket and in particular lesser teams, when it needs them most. I would be very confident in saying that IF no T20 franchise used a player who may at the same time be playing for his country, that the whole business of T20 cricket, be it the IPL, the Big Bash, or any other league would actually be seen in a very popular light. When it's all said and done, T20 cicket is very good for the players, the finances of the game and for the viewing public that enjoy limited overs style cricket...... My simple answer would be this. That for a Twenty20 team franchise in any country to hire a cricketer, that cricketer must first be contracted to the board of his home country, who should have first call on that player. If the availability of international stars drops then it's up to the IPL to find a way, not impose suffering on beleagured fans of West Indian cricket.

  • jay57870 on April 16, 2012, 3:52 GMT

    (Cont) Much as I love Test cricket (I grew up with it), I've come to enjoy ODIs & T20s as well. In this context, Rahul Dravid's erudite insights (delivered in his recent Bradman Oration) are spot on: Cricket must accommodate and balance all 3 formats. Overscheduling must be avoided. The fan must be respected. It's not all about money & power. T20/IPL has opened doors for many local (& foreign) players to earn a livelihood. Furthermore, T20/IPL has become the golden goose that provides most of the funding for the changed "portfolio" of Tests/ODIs/T20/Domestic. Cricket administrators in India have their work cut out: to manage this "portfolio" of products profitably and successfully, while giving the cricketing public the best consumer experience. The Test connoisseurs get to enjoy fine wine. The T20 fans get an affordable family package. A little bit of both for the ODI public. The mainstream cricket-lovers (like myself) get to eat the cake and keep it too. Don't forget the icing!

  • jay57870 on April 16, 2012, 3:48 GMT

    (Cont) In another context, US college sports can provide a useful benchmark for cricket to look at. Great academic universities - like Stanford, Michigan, Duke & more - manage their "portfolio" of sports in virtually a self-sufficient & autonomous manner. Interestingly, profits are generated primarily by just two revenue-producing sports: American football & basketball. They in turn fund the entire athletic budget to support 20+ other different sports - baseball, hockey, soccer, tennis, swimming, track, gymnastics, etc - for both men and women. Money is the biggest factor, with the fans foremost in mind. Money is also wisely spent & distributed to attract top talent in other sports with athletic scholarships. Some of these athletes advance to become Olympians and professional/national stars in their respective sports. That's why these great institutions give new meaning to managing a "portfolio" of vastly different products (sports) profitably (P/L) and successfully (W/L). (TBC)

  • jay57870 on April 16, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    Harsha - Let's get first things first: Market forces will dictate the future direction of cricket. It's big business. It's big-time sports entertainment. Money is the common denominator in international sports (even in Olympics) as it is in multinational business. All that as given, Harsha is right: each country "must create its own commercial ecosystem" to keep cricket viable in the long run. In the auto business, for instance, major carmakers (Toyota, GM) deploy country-specific business strategies. For India, their "portfolio" of products is focused more on affordable small cars - as opposed to higher-end vehicles in their home markets (Japan, USA) - because of different consumer preferences, market conditions & federal regulations. Call it "culture" if you will. Why then is England complaining about T20? They created it, but made a big mess of it via Sir Stanford. Humiliated? India instead has turned T20 into a big commercial success via IPL. Jealousy? Just ask KP! (TBC)

  • karthik_raja on April 16, 2012, 1:45 GMT

    @RandyOZ. Yes, u r rite. Also plz add that, Eng & Aus shud restrict them frm playing only in their home grounds. Coz. V all know Eng(4-1) & Aus(4-0) recent record in subcontinent. Poor Aus, they can ONLY draw against "minnows" NZ in their home ground too. Very poor.

  • on April 15, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    The Image attached says everything, no need for long comments and showing how much you love the game. In this busy life especially in India how can you expect a man to watch a match for 5 days. I am one of those guys who believes that tests should be limited to academic level. That is players for T20 and One days should be choosed from performance tests at domestic or international level with tests being the primary format at domestic level. In that way we will have quality players at highest level of these shorter formats and also Test cricket would be alive.

  • Busie1979 on April 14, 2012, 23:26 GMT

    T20 and ODI are not taken seriously unless it is a world cup. You can see that in selection policies where players are rotated, given a few games here or there for experience, etc. Eg. Pete Forrest in Australia clearly doesn't deserve ODI selection, but the selectors picked him for ODIs to try to groom him for tests. A misguided effort, but this doesn't happen in tests

  • ravens20 on April 14, 2012, 20:07 GMT

    The problem with T20 for me is that the outcomes of the games seem less dependent on skill and more dependent on luck. And unlike the 50 over game...there are less opportunities to fight back from a poor start. T20 batting is entertaining but there are no opportunities to play the long innings that people remember decades later. And when batsman are constantly trying to hit the ball, wickets feel cheaper too, thereby making great bowling spells less noteworthy.

  • m_ilind on April 14, 2012, 16:59 GMT

    IMHO, Tests are "the" cricket, if not the only cricket!

  • on April 14, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    An important point in favor of T20 is that it can help sell cricket to newer countries, and that is a very important point too. What cricket desperately needs is not more money, but more countries participating and enjoying cricket !

  • on April 14, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    The big problem with Twenty20 cricket and more specifically the IPL is that it takes players away from international cricket and in particular lesser teams, when it needs them most. I would be very confident in saying that IF no T20 franchise used a player who may at the same time be playing for his country, that the whole business of T20 cricket, be it the IPL, the Big Bash, or any other league would actually be seen in a very popular light. When it's all said and done, T20 cicket is very good for the players, the finances of the game and for the viewing public that enjoy limited overs style cricket...... My simple answer would be this. That for a Twenty20 team franchise in any country to hire a cricketer, that cricketer must first be contracted to the board of his home country, who should have first call on that player. If the availability of international stars drops then it's up to the IPL to find a way, not impose suffering on beleagured fans of West Indian cricket.

  • harshthakor on April 14, 2012, 15:15 GMT

    Infact it is the 50 0ver and 20 over game that has revolutionized test cricket.Batsman have made some of the most remarkable innovations to their strokes.In the past we hardly had scoring rates of around 350-400 runs per day and such a frequency of results in test cricket,that too turnabouts.Infact we have more thrillers now in the longer version,than before.

    To me the 50 over game is as challenging considering the pressure in run chases.Infact at times I feel it is the best form of cricket,if you consider the adaptations both bowler and batsman have to make.Some of cricket's best feats have been performed in this version.

    Overall I do not think test cricket will last forever.However I agree that it is the ultimate test and the truest form of cricket,however much the standards have declined.Overall I feel too much cricket is played in all forms which is destroying the game ,overall.

  • kunderanengineer on April 14, 2012, 14:34 GMT

    Some have intimated that we only remember what happens in test matches (e.g. Laxman's 281 against Aussies) but that there's really nothing worthwhile savouring in a limited overs match since it's just so fleeting in nature. While it may be true that one IPL match may be completely indistinguishable from another in many cases since so many matches are played in such a short span, there are still memorable moments captured even in these formats especially when they are performed on the big stage. For example Yuvraj Singh's 6 sixes off Broad in the 2007 T20World Cup match or the famous mix-up between Klusener and Donald in the 1999 World Cup semis between SA and Aussies. As an Indian fan how can I ever forget India's improbable victory over the mighty Windies team loaded with Hall of Fame stars in the 1983 David vs Goliath World cup final? The fact is people choose to watch what they want and also choose to remember what they want and this is not going to change any time soon.

  • krik8crazy on April 14, 2012, 14:08 GMT

    20-20 format is good but the rules need to be changed to make it less batsmen friendly. I feel bad for the bowlers who are reduced to ball boy status on flat wickets offering no assistance to them whatsoever.

  • on April 14, 2012, 11:59 GMT

    Cricket needs all 3 forms. But T20 is attractive to all because of the money. If everyone starts playing T20, then it will lead to overkill.

    My suggestions are: 1. Do not disturb tests. ICC should ensure proper scheduling of 3 or 5 test series. Ensure all countries play each other in a 2 year period. Can experiment with day night tests and tri-series of tests within the same country! Give freebies to fans like tickets to IPL if they watch at the ground on all 5 days. Give students concessions, etc. Give voluntary jobs to the best fan :) 2. Do away with bilateral ODIs and make a short tri-series part of the schedule 3. The bottom teams in ODI or tests should play qualifications with the minnows in a separate tournament :) This will make sure the tests are fought out well. 4. Do away with bilateral T20s. let t20 be played only by clubs etc like the IPL. have a T20 WC as now.

    It is not a fight between formats. In IPL the external influence is the worrying part. keep cricket to cricket

  • on April 14, 2012, 10:54 GMT

    @loks For a great to be considered a great - they need to be at least "better than average" at most if not all forms of cricket OUTSIDE their own country. Dravid is (or was), Laxman not so. The Aussies might respect him for that one innings but when he tours the rest of the world (and I've watched himn in New Zealand, England, West Indies and England twice) he is just the garnish in a Shewag, Tendulkar and Dravid sandwich. Outside of India he is not considered even close to Dravid - let alone Tendulkar, and certainly not a "great of the game" not even close. The same can be said of Yuvraj. Both good players - but a loooooong way short of great. A solid player. Inzamam, Chanderpaul, Hayden, Ponting and the like. But not Lara, Tendulkar, Richards, Kallis

  • on April 14, 2012, 10:50 GMT

    @venkatesh018. You are absolutely right, "In no other sports, the lowest denominator of the game is provided with the highest salaries !"

  • Supa_SAFFA on April 14, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    A month or so of IPL is a great diversion but can never take the place of really good cricket. The best analogy must be that fast foods are no substitute for a gourmet dish.

  • itismenithin on April 14, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    BCCI doesn't require IPL to protect their commericial ecoystem. BCCI coffers were full even before IPL was invented, just that it is overflowing now. It is naive to think administrators support T20 to protect test cricket, it is pure greed. In future if a more lucrative format is invented(say T10), i bet they would run behind it. Would you still say we require this new format for test cricket to survive?

  • luks on April 14, 2012, 9:01 GMT

    The idea that more money is needed in cricket is deeply flawed. So, the premise of this article itself is wrong. There are enough fans of cricket and there will always be enough fans of cricket with or without T20. Cricket doesn't need too much additional nurturing either. Infrastructure is available in every nook and corner of India. I haven't heard any player complain in India before T20 that cricket does not have enough money. Sure, everybody would love to have more money but it is not necessary for the game to survive. And, as far as Indian culture is concerned, we Indians are anyway imitating the West - just look at all the Bollywood movies copied from Hollywood.

  • SagirParkar on April 14, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    @Venkatesh >> that is a very harsh and critical comment on Harsha.. you do not even know the man and based on this one article, you insinuate that he has "sold his soul to the establishment"... Harsha is one of the more upstanding and honest journalists in the cricket world at the moment.. he has stood for his principles and beliefs rather than kowtowing to the establishment and demands of the media.. if you cannot understand what he is trying to convey here, then i am afraid you might have to open your mind a little bit.. as the world surges forward, everything is bound to change, spots included.. and if archaic forms of the sport cannot be financially viable, then the world will not stop for it.. sad truth is that money rules and everything else has to bend to its will. it is also sad that upcoming and promising teams like Ireland and Netherlands are often kept out of the fold by the 'full members'.. snobbery of the highest order. this will only leave global cricket behind others.

  • Smithie on April 14, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    Srinivasan/ BCCI/India's image would be globally enhanced if they issued a policy statement that they were FULLY committed to a Test Championship, playing on SOME Indian pitches with pace and bounce and using DRS for all international cricket. Activate these points and ALL forms of cricket can develop positively and coexist for the good of the sport.

  • venkatesh018 on April 14, 2012, 7:40 GMT

    I did not expect anything different from an article by a man who has sold his soul to the easy money and has become one of the masks for "the establishment" hell-bent on destroying Cricket as it has been known for generations. In no other sport, the lowest denominator of the game is provided with the highest salaries ! I can accept that change is an inevitable aspect of every sphere of life. But all changes do not mean progress. And this proliferation and bombardment of T20 cricket at the cost of the more skillful versions of the game is definitely not the change the game needed.

  • pradeep_dealwis on April 14, 2012, 7:11 GMT

    "India and China are not just emerging consumer powers, they are also cultures that are completely different from the rather more homogeneous ones of America and Europe.". China is as homogenous as they come, Harsha. Also why Cricket , T20 in particular, could and should be pushed in China. Top-down.

  • loks07 on April 14, 2012, 4:30 GMT

    Slightly off topic, I also don't understand why people say that great players need to adapt to all sort of cricket. Does that mean Dravid, Laxman and others are not greats because they haven't been spectacular in T20s? And I agree to few people here that we remember what occurred in a test match or a test series more rather than any occurrence in T20s. As someone said Laxman's 281 will be etched forever; for that matter India's whitewashes to England and Australia. I don't even remember how India performed in shorter versions in between.

  • gdalvi on April 14, 2012, 3:35 GMT

    @Snick_To_Backward_Point. While, as you say, it is too early to comment on expanding popularity of cricket to other nations, one thing you will have to admit - if any form of cricket has best chance, it is T20. Actually it is very marketable, particularly in U.S. as cross between high scoring basketball but baseball-like. @ cricketeria and other who are giving argument of test players are best T20 players too. Now this is a really silly argument. Of course, they will be - they are best of the best. In fact most of them are best ODI players also. This proves nothing. TC, ODI and T20 are not like a triathlon even where you have 3 different activities (swimming, cycling and running) and you need to do well in all 3 of them, but not necessarily as good as specialists swimmers, cyclists and runners. You are still batting and bowling in T20 just like in TC, only that objective and tactics are different. Test cricketer will also be best in dom FC, doesn't mean FC is bad either. Pl Pub

  • RunABall on April 14, 2012, 3:24 GMT

    I agree with a poster up there @ ElPhenomeno about Laxman's 281. I'd even go as far as saying that India winning a test series in Australia would mean a lot more than the 2011 world cup triumph (at home). Because that would mean India truly would be a better cricket team than Australia.

  • JohnnyRook on April 14, 2012, 3:20 GMT

    To everybody who loves test cricket and cries about not enough people watching it, I have got a suggestion. Buy 5 tickets instead of 1.

  • gdalvi on April 14, 2012, 3:15 GMT

    @cricfan65: where did you get impression that baseball is WAY MORE difficult that cricket? It is actually technically harder to play AFTER ball hits ground - as can be seen by full-tosses generally getting smacked to boundaries in cricket. It is difficult to hit ball in baseball because of size of bat, but more skill is certainly needed in cricket. Also baseball is much too boring - In 9 innings, on average winning team scores 6 runs and losing team 4. Most innings there is no score at all.Like test cricket, excitement comes in very small doses. Also the same bowler balls the entire match - which is kind of lame. I think Americans got this up-side down. They wanted a version of cricket that completed in few hours. So they made batting very difficult , so wickets (i.e. 'strikes') fall quickly (total 27 over 9 innings) so that match get over soon. So they a sport just a boring as tests, just faster. I think they would have fared much better inventing limited over cricket (T20). Pl Pub.

  • rama_krish on April 14, 2012, 2:14 GMT

    Thanks, Harsha. I agree completely. T20 and other forms of limited-overs cricket allow many more players (and audiences) to enjoy the game while strengthening the techniques of those who wish to progress to higher levels. Kallis' comments today on how T20 has improved his game is illustrative.

  • kunderanengineer on April 14, 2012, 2:00 GMT

    I totally agree with this article. I grew up watching cricket in India in the I960s when test cricket was the only game in town and I'm proud to say today that I am a fan of all 3 formats. I understand why some cricket fans prefer one format over another in the same way as a track and field fan may prefer the 100 yard dash over the marathon or vice versa, but what irritates me is when they say things like "test cricket is the only true form of the game and all other forms are irrelevant" This is pure snobbery. These people are perfectly entitled to their preferences but to say that T20s are irrelevant is fallacious. Even in test matches a situation may arise where a team has to score a lot of runs in a limited amount of time if they want to win like the Aussies faced in the recently concluded first test against the Windies.This kind of scenario requires a T20 mentality where those that are well versed in this format would feel perfectly at home and may even have an advantage.

  • RandyOZ on April 14, 2012, 1:13 GMT

    Test cricket should only be played between Australia, England, South Africa and Pakistan. Every other country is terrible and has proven it for years on end. I like Harsha but he is off the mark with this story. A 4 team test system would be far better and interesting for crowds; no one wants to see back-to-back 0-4 drubbings. Minnows like India and NZ can play ODIs.

  • on April 13, 2012, 23:58 GMT

    @Arjun Popat... as a fan of Dale Steyn... I'd rather watch him work out great batsmen in a Test rather than a T20... where the batsmen's worst enemy is the time-limit, not particularly the bowler... a Test match allows for a true battle between the two...

  • on April 13, 2012, 23:46 GMT

    I never saw the reasoning for a distinction between T20 and Test cricket. It's about quality and entertainment, which doesn't necessarily come with either. I, along with the majority of people I hope, would rather watch Dale Steyn fizzing it past the bat at 95mph in a T20 than "7-2 field-bowl outside off" tactics in a test match.

  • Kemcho on April 13, 2012, 23:32 GMT

    A very confusing artilce clearly written by someone who has no India about India or Indian culture. Harsha seems to forget that even in India cricket is not "free" and not on "free to air" TV. Secondly, in India, there are so many advertisements during cricket that cricket has become something to be watched between advertisements, which is very frustrating. In England and Australia there are advertisements during cricket, but the viewers gets to see each and every ball and no replays are over-run by adverts. It is no wonder Harsha is playing the bugle of T20 because he is associated with an IPL franchise. And finally is there anything left of the Indian culture that he is talking about?. India has been commercialised to the extent that evrerone blindly copies the west in just about everything.

  • ElPhenomeno on April 13, 2012, 23:17 GMT

    @Shantan, you couldn't be more wrong. Few people will remember laxman 50 years from now and even fewer will remember his 281. Remember, 50 years from now it will be generation who'd have barely heard of laxman, let alone his innings. How many of us really remember guys from 1960s and their performances??? On the other hand, everyone will always remember a world cup win. Individual performances or even mindless bilateral test series can never take the shine a WC win can. What does a England-South Africa test series prove?? Absolutely nothing. The biggest problem with cricket having too many contests without contexts.

  • Shantan on April 13, 2012, 22:41 GMT

    It's Harsha's profession that's speaking, not his heart. If he doesn't say what he said in the article, his employers might take offence. 50 years later we will remember Laxman's 281 over the 2007 World Cup win. Enough said!

  • viswanav on April 13, 2012, 22:40 GMT

    Yawn...Read the title of the article, read the comments, and understood what the article was about...Must sat Harsha's articles are becoming highly predictable these days...

  • cricfan65 on April 13, 2012, 22:33 GMT

    Thisi is a debate which can never be decided. Cricket " purists " will continue to insist that Test Cricket is the ultmtate test of skill, temperament and stamina( correctly so in my opinion) while T20 lovers will point to the sheer entertainment value and guaranteed results of this form of the game.BTW, those who compare T-20 to baseball, dude . baseball is WAYY more difficult than cricket , especially the slap- bang variety seen in the IPL. Major League Baseball requires a degree of skill, athleticity and mental toughness which is possesed in the IPL only by- you guessed it - Test Cricketers !!

  • on April 13, 2012, 22:16 GMT

    If premier cricketers like Kallis have no problem with the T20 format, I think the naysayers must simply shut up.

  • SRAM20 on April 13, 2012, 21:54 GMT

    This is an awesome debate initiated by Harsha here! I am sure a lot of the test purists are now feeling the heat behind their backs. Harsha has a wonderful argument here. Whats wrong with having T20's when the consumer is having fun with it? Cricket is a sport, and any sport can survive only based on its popularity. T20 provides that popularity. If test cricket can't survive the existence of T20 cricket, LET TEST CRICKET DIE!! Maybe test cricket is not all that ultimate. Just because a few souls go 'WOW' when they watched prolonged periods of boredom in test cricket which they call a "test of temperament and skills", it doesn't mean test cricket is ultimate cricket. Its a form of cricket that brought the sport into existence, thats all. There is nothing called "ultimate form of cricket". People are there to feed what the consumer wants, and to make profits. All forms of cricket are good. Nobody stopped you watching tests. But stop moaning about IPL and T20's.

  • cricketeria on April 13, 2012, 21:48 GMT

    Sorry Harsha, Tests ARE the only cricket. The IPL is Exhibit A: the test players are far ahead of the Indian(and other) club cricketers. Despite 4 IPLs, not one Test quality player emerged. IPL is not breeding good players, and only test players do well in the IPL. Because test players can play well anywhere, Lord's, IPL, beach, yard cricket. Without test players IPL is just T20 Ranji. Tests are alive and well, with or without IPL. Notice I say IPL, not T20, because the T20 World Cup actually produces good cricket. And you can't say Eng don't like T20, they won the T20 WC!

    As Harsha admits, the matches played ratio matters more than the matches won ratio in India. Well, then India will never be a consistently winning team. Find another Ganguly (winner), not another Dhoni (daily wage cricket merchant).

  • Simoc on April 13, 2012, 21:36 GMT

    T20 requires the maximum concentrated skills and is probably closest to baseball of competing sports. The people who pay their money to watch cricket are going to T20. England & Oz get crowds if they're playing each other or India. But really test cricket is just bludging on the income brought in by T20. There is no reason T20 teams can't play concentrated tournaments as the three hour games don't have the physical output of football games. The players are easily able to play every day. So a World Cup could be run in a concentrated week each year.

  • Snick_To_Backward_Point on April 13, 2012, 21:27 GMT

    Harmony - just read ur comment. Personally, I feel it's far too early to be lauding T20's ability to bring new nations into the game. I hope it does, and if so, all power to i,t but where's the evidence that T20 is globalising cricket?

  • bzzd on April 13, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    Of course Test Cricket is the highest form of the game. It is not always entertaining. 50 over cricket offers a good balance. 20 over cricket focuses on entertainment and is a poor substitute for the real game. You may as well watch baseball! In fact, I would say that baseball is a better game than 20 over cricket. Has 20 over cricket had a detrimental effect on Test cricket. I would say you only have to look at the collapse of India as a cricket powerhouse to know this is true. I would also say that a lot of 20 over games are pretty boring. I am glad that cricketers are being rewarded better than in the past, but I wish it was not for being good at 20 over cricket.

  • Snick_To_Backward_Point on April 13, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    Thank you for a really interesting article Mr Bhogle it's interesting to get an insight from an Indian perspective. Test cricket surely does need to stand on its own 2 feet to survive. It can do a lot to help itself also. A 4 day test surely must be a priority since the vast majority are over within 4 days it seems. This would allow the majoirty of a test to be covered on days when punters actually have the chance to attend. It also needs to be brought up-to-speed vis a vis the modern world and modern consumer requirements. So, for example, ridiculous 'time outs' for spurious light claims, or a refusal to be more flexible if time is lost to bad weather. I;ve seen matches where hours have been lost to the weather but for some reason umpires and officials arent empowered to decide to play on late into the evening, if weather permits. All this is true but there is another side to this argument and that is: declining technical ability brought on by hit or glory T20 swiping...ctd

  • Sunil_Canada on April 13, 2012, 21:16 GMT

    Who decides, which is better, test or T20? If test is better, why do we have empty stands? Test is dying becasue people don't want it, period. I live in Canada and I was trying to explain test cricket to a Canadian and he could not believe when I talked about draw in tests. His response was even after 5 days you guys cannot decide a winner? If tests are better and there are less tests now-a-days, people should go crazy to watch tests, but unfortunately that's not the case. As long as people watch, IPL will live, if people don't watch, it will die. Who cares, you or me like test and hate T20. It's public at large that matters. If more people are watching T20, is there anything to discuss that more people like it.

  • Mr_Anonymous on April 13, 2012, 20:42 GMT

    I think there are 2 forces at play here: 1. The Indian board is definitely focusing less on Test Cricket and I worry about our future overseas tours. I think we used to have lots of India "A" tours to other countries and that allowed our next generation (batsmen, bowlers, wicket keepers) to get a chance to acclimatize to different playing conditions in a longer version of the game (3-4 day game). We really need to start those tours back up and the board has the financial muscle to undertake them (suggested coach: Patil/Amarnath). 2. I think that there is some jealousy in England over the success of the IPL and that they are not part of that success. So far, playing the English county was something that budding overseas players looked forward to (still do: e.g. Philander) but the IPL has taken that aspirational position for overseas players away. Also, the fact that the Stanford T20 arrangement fell through left a bitter taste in their mouth and they have tended to demonize T20 since.

  • nafzak on April 13, 2012, 20:41 GMT

    20/20 is not cricket. That is a fact. It's cricket's version of Baseball's home run derby. The batsman tries to hit every ball as far as he can and the bowler simply tries to keep the scoring rate low. There is no drama of the duel between bat and ball. Bowlers don't have time to tease the batsman to wear out his patience and inducing him to a false stroke. There is no declaring behind on 1st innings to take advantage of conditions to give your team a chance to win. 20/20 makes good players bad and bad players worse. They develop bad habits like hitting out at good deliveries as if there is no time on the clock. They hit in the air all the time and since there are no fielding restrictions in Test Cricket, that is a liability. There is Test Cricket and ODI. 20/20 is bat an ball.

  • on April 13, 2012, 20:32 GMT

    I believe having a 3 test, 3 odi, 3 20/20 min series should be the norm of any series, vs minnows or top teams. Test and odi can go higher. Venues should be chosen by lot (after considering weather) and remove them from the lot next series around and then cycle them. IPL should be held once in 2 yrs with regular domestic 20/20s can be included in the Ranji phase. To be honest 20/20 is ideal for a batsman more than a bowler, but it should help a bowler more in powerplays. A player who plays only 20/20 is for sure not going to be able to adjust and play well in tests or even ODIs because of the approach needed for 20/20. The last time I followed a 20/20 series was the first ever ICC 20/20 world cup. that is it!

  • Beazle on April 13, 2012, 20:32 GMT

    As a westerner, I started off reading this article with considerable anger. " Another mealy mouthed apology for India " I thought. But I was wrong. The author has written a perceptive plea for cultural understanding and should be praised.

  • Leggie on April 13, 2012, 20:17 GMT

    Cricket is a sport and it should not be compared in anyway to companies / profits etc.. This is one of the reasons we're beginning to see a decline in viewer ratings. As long as sports remain as sports, people will continue to enjoy it. What we now see is a highly adulterated version of the sport - with commercial interests taking higher priority. Classic example is the way boundary lines have been brought in. The boundaries have become shorter because of the need to have multiple cameras and the need to create dug outs... Similarly in Australia, there used to be no boundary lines, just a fence and it was so unique to Australian grounds. Thats gone now and the "standardisation" It's indeed an eye sore. Even the fun of watching cricket on TV has been taken away - thanks to advertisements. So, if someone is really interested in the betterment of cricket, let the commercialisation of this sport go away.

  • Lakshmana on April 13, 2012, 20:15 GMT

    And its all very simple. If you don't like IPL and T-20 cricket, don't watch it. If enough people don't watch it then it will die as there will be no money in it. But Lawrence Booth/Wisden wake up and coffee - the demand for t-20 at the moment seems to outweigh the demand for test matches....the IPL gives people what they want!

  • Lakshmana on April 13, 2012, 20:11 GMT

    Ayaz Menon made a terrific point the other day - all the English condemning the IPL and players chasing money forget their own history of the rebel tours in 1982 to South Africa (who were banned from cricket at the time) where players such as Gooch and Boycott went to play against for cold hard cash!

  • on April 13, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    They said the same about ODI cricket and it's been around for more than 40years with a meaningful world cup to boot. I agree Harsha, let the audience choose whatever they want to watch and let Test, ODI and T20 cricket live well with each other. The haters will always be haters- ignore them.

  • vrn59 on April 13, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    Contd. country needs to churn out a couple of quality fast bowlers who can generate good pace, swing the ball and also exploit seam movement in the pitch. As for England supporters constantly insulting the Indian team and the IPL, please bear in mind that England only become a force to be reckoned with in international cricket two years ago. They only have one batsman, Jonathan Trott, who averages over 50 in Test cricket. Some would argue this by saying that English batsmen don't play for statistics, but instead win matches for their side, but the stats show a lack of consistency and longevity of English batsmen. Their ODI team is highly inconsistent and lacks players who are genuinely made for limited-overs cricket. The advantage that England hold though, is that except for a couple of players, their team consists of cricketers under 30 years of age, which means that they will also reach their peak soon (or all already there) and that the golden years of the team are yet to come.

  • vrn59 on April 13, 2012, 19:41 GMT

    contd. It is not compulsory for any player to participate in the IPL. However, all the players chose to do so because the tournament is fun, challenging, financially rewarding (money is, after all, a necessity) and offered the chance to interact with cricketers and coaching staff from around the world. The players could have chosen to rest if they felt the need to do so. Also, the amount of international cricket in the calendar nowadays is excessive. No one was interested in watching India play two full series (home and away) against the West Indies and a lone T20 match against South Africa. The England and Australia series would have been fantastic, but we lost due to complete lack of form. Indians are not flat track bullies; before 2011, this same team was No. 1 in the world and received widespread praise for its ability to thrive in all conditions, which it really did. However, young batsmen now need to step up to the Test arena and the country needs to ... contd.

  • vrn59 on April 13, 2012, 19:34 GMT

    Fantastic article by Harsha Bhogle! I agree with him completely. I do, however, find some of the comments in this forum rather baseless. Firstly, I feel that the IPL cannot be blamed for the overseas failures of the Indian team. It lost eight consecutive Test matches because of its mediocre bowling attack, comprising of medium-pacers who fail to beat the outside edge of the bat often enough and spinners who are ineffective outside the subcontinent. The batting lineup was packed with the biggest names in world cricket, but lack of preparation and also poor technique, temperament and general body language led to dramatic batting collapses that the team could not stop in all the matches. Many of the losses were 'innings' losses, making it even more embarrassing. Many claim that the IPL is to blame for this as the players could not get enough rest between the 2011 ODI World Cup and the tour to the West Indies that followed. contd.

  • on April 13, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    Harsha I disagree one has to understand that in terms of population and size of economy India is a giant (in a cricketing sense) and the rest of the sub continent are dwarves in comparison and the rest of the world are elves in comparison. This means that India has a responsibility not to wreck cricket and Test cricket in paticular. The IPL was made by businessmen for businessmen not for cricket. I do not disagree with t20, I disagree with t20 on a mass scale. The South African domestic scene is a better model the t20 and one day tournaments are treated the same they have the same level of attention and same level of focus from the teams, the fans and the media. They co-exist the one does not interfere with the other. Same with England and England won the t20 world cup. Im sure India can promote the Ranji trophy with its massive resources in addition to the IPL and a one day tournament if they do that they will help cricket in the way they should. And they should also support DRS......

  • mehulmatrix on April 13, 2012, 18:38 GMT

    The point regarding different cultures is valid and good. Theres no denying the introduction of T20, but the point is that it has taken center stage only due to money and fame(IPL). Its not doing good in cricketing terms for india. We dont even play well in the league stage of T20 WC! So i think the fame and glamor quotient of IPL has got in them and also the obvious less inclination towards tests is there to see. Also no good player has graduated into national team for tests or ODIs. Players like Ghoni, Murali have all faded away. Thats why IPL is not good. Its not about T20.

  • swervin on April 13, 2012, 18:38 GMT

    Cricket is just not a particularly fast game, which is why for anyone who knows anything about cricket, 20/20 is pretty much a waste of time - it is fine if many of the casual fans want to watch 20/20 etc but (outside of the commercial considerations) it is just hard to see the point of taking 20/20 seriously as a contest - there is a much higher degree of luck involved, bowlers get little respect and the batsman just swing away, it really doesn't require much analysis and doesn't really have the climactic moments that 50 overs cricket or test cricket sometime have- it is forgettable, mcdonalds cricket

  • mummra on April 13, 2012, 18:25 GMT

    IPL are not the only cricket

  • Gmale on April 13, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    I don't know about you Harsha, but Test cricket is the most boring and over-rated form of the game. Except England on a gloomy day, everywhere else in the world it is the contest between a batsman's form and boredom. The game stretches 5 long days, bowlers don't stand a chance, and batsmen like Dravid make it such a painful experience. Thank god he has retired and hope Test cricket dies too...just like Gayle said

  • Vidyashankar on April 13, 2012, 17:37 GMT

    Harsha, after a long time, I'm seeing a very good article from you. Well said. I always think you don't give back to your western journalist colleagues when they criticize everything about India! This is a good one though not only to defend India but a good view on the game of Cricket overall. Cheers.

  • on April 13, 2012, 17:21 GMT

    The worthiness of this article would have been far far far greater , has it not been in the time of IPL 5.

  • on April 13, 2012, 16:22 GMT

    @360review Test cricket brings the greatest amount of skill to the game, just consider that most of the great test players at the moment are excellent T20 players as well. I enjoy some T20 cricket but, too much of it, with the hectic scheduling and fast paced action gives the players no time to prepare or recover, so they are just as likely to get injured playing T20 as a test, where the workload is spread out enough for most peoples bodies to recover- although some people are just injury prone, i.e Tremlett. By removing the past of the game, and aspirations of skill, which tests signify, then it becomes more commercialised until it turns similar to football and just not worth watching anymore. The Harbhajahn/munaf incident shows how the game is changing in not necessarily a good way.

  • on April 13, 2012, 16:06 GMT

    Cricket is for the entertainment of the watching public any form of cricket which the public enjoys is good cricket. To all those who are saying test cricket is the best go ahead and watch the best no body is stopping you. The rest of the people who like to be entertained will watch the IPL.

  • on April 13, 2012, 15:56 GMT

    Excellent Article. The problem with cricket is that it's got 3 different formats unlike soccer which doesn't need to change the format to accommodate an event like EPL. With IPL being a huge success, people are questioning India's attitude towards test cricket. Now that England are #1 in test cricket, they claim to focus solely on producing test cricketers. For the entire 90s and most of the 2000s, England were one of the worst test teams in the world and I'd like to ask them - where were those claims then? India was a reluctant starter of T20 and now that it's doing well financially through IPL, everyone is up in arms with changing attitudes. If, all you test cricket aficionados, want test cricket to be priority for boards and spectators, come up with a solution to generate more excitement for the format. On most of the occasions, only the 5th day provides some thrills. The build up takes 4 days and it's not worth everyone's time. We all must change with time and accept changes.

  • Harmony111 on April 13, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    A simple question to all those who criticize T20 and say it will kill test cricket. Cricket in its longer form has been played for more than 125 years. How much globalized has it been? How many nations play it? How do you explain a 5 day sport concept to the uninitiated? i.e What has been the contribution of Tests in making cricket a global game? Fact is, if tests were the only form then the game would vanish in the next 15-20 years. T20s can act as a teaser format to bring in new nations, players and audience and they can then graduate to ODIs and then to the classical form. A newbie guitarist first learns chords and then he leans to play "Smoke on Water" and much later is he taught how to sweep-pick. We need to embrace T20 even more for the sake of the greatest sport in the world. T20 can and will revolutionize the appeal of the game and is perhaps the only way to get USA or China or Brazil in. Won't that be a good way to counter BCCI's supposed hegemony?

  • getsetgopk on April 13, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    We have lost two good cricketers in Malinga and Gayle and a very good Test Team in India to IPL (since when did a top team lost 8 matches in a row?), isn't that proof enough that T20 is ruining the great game? Pakistan now needs another arch rival im afraid, Bangladesh perhaps?

  • funkyandy on April 13, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    20/20 cricket makes Cameron White look good and makes Rahul Dravid look bad.... theres proof for the validity of Bhogle's claims!!

  • on April 13, 2012, 14:34 GMT

    jagernath, sukreeth reddy and vijayakrishnan - all hit the nail on the head. harsha, test cricket is fighting for survival only in india. and who are the people killingl it? it isnt the IPL. it is men like dravid and tendulkar. if your idea of playing test cricket is being able to block ball after ball, (which is why you revere dravid and tendulkar) you couldnt be more wrong. australian tests still attract crowd because of the way they play their cricket.ask our men to chase 300 on the final day ofa test, and they will end up either losing or scoring 150-2 in 90 overs.

  • spintl on April 13, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    I don't think that Test cricket will survive... we are now living in a fast paced world, and Test cricket stretching for 5 days is a Drag to tell you frankly.. Yes, a batsman's true technique, temperament etc etc can also be seen in Test cricket, but times are changing.. I feel that ODI will replace Test cricket and T20 will replace ODI. The proof is in the spectatorship at these events. Look at Test cricket being played at virtually empty stadiums (other than India of course) but even in India the spectators coming to Test has dwindled...

  • zico123 on April 13, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    i like Test Cricket and ODI, i DON'T like T20 and for that matter IPL, i don't think it is proper cricket

  • 360review on April 13, 2012, 13:58 GMT

    Can someone clarify what quality of cricket is ruined by T20? In other words, what quality does Test Cricket bring to the table? We all talk about hectic schedules for players with too many games, but what about when a player has to field for 2 straight days in a test? Playing continuously (batting or fielding) for 5 days can cause more injuries to players. I understand the feelings that Test fans go through during a test match -> low expectations then suddenly (sometimes) a charged one or two session. When there are 4-6 boring sessions and suddenly last two sessions gets interesting, it brings a feeling of rush in test fans. A feeling that they like to ride on forever.

  • MAK123 on April 13, 2012, 13:54 GMT

    The only time when I feel totally in love with test cricket is when it is played in England. And the sky commentary team makes it a heavenly experience. Then, watching tests telecast from the West Indies are also a very very good experience.

  • on April 13, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    A couple of days ago,a wisden writer blasted indian cricket writers for centralizing ipl and indian cricket in every article they right. And now,this article coming from an iim graduate is ,how can i put it in simple terms, stupid. There is a limit until which every person does his/her work very well but when the fame enters the door showering money,even a writer can't control his urges to do things which he never would have done. One day,this man writes that test is the real deal,now he says that both can co-exist....peter roebuck would have been amazed by these indian writers' dark ambitions to write redundant articles centralising Indian cricket.Once a Harsha Bhogle fan,now i say "come back to your senses,harsha and start writing some sensible stuff the "world" cricket can hear." and these so called fans "who can't accept t20" or "who are bored by tests" , stop fighting like 10 year olds.

  • on April 13, 2012, 13:44 GMT

    The whole concept of categorising various forms of cricket as good and bad cricket is ill-founded. No form of cricket is bad as long as it supplements other form of cricket. Remember 80s. 228/2 at the end of day 1 was a good score. Now it could be 355/2. How has this change come about. Through ODIs and T20, batsmen play much faster than good old days. Earlier in an ODI, if 5 overs were left and 45 runs to get, the match was won. Now those 45 runs could come in the next 3 overs. This is because of T20 batting. Even in ODIs and T20s, there is a serious need of batting straight in critical moments and build an innings. Where does this come from. Test cricket. Test cricket is getting result oriented. Earlier if you got 400 in the first inning, the match was safe. Now these 400 runs come much faster and there is time for the other team to get more runs and bowl out the other team for a smaller score in the second inning and win the match. Think about all these.

  • on April 13, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    Another BCCI ordered article written by their own journalist to counter-offence the attack against the money making, traditional cricket destroying tactics of BCCI. BCCI is so rich that it can create a influence on mass audience by publishing articles, interviews which suits their own agenda. Twenty20 cricket is a circus. Sometimes it is fun watch lions, elephants and zebras showing cheap tricks using balls and fire. People claps but as soon as they leave tent, the greatest show on earth is over. Like Rome this kind of circus will haunt cricket in years to come.

  • venkatesh018 on April 13, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    Vijayakrishanan Kb has summed it up perfectly with both his comments.

  • Nerav on April 13, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    @Asim Abbas : you make a fair point about the weather, a point which i had not previously considered. However we still get packed stadiums in the sub continent during day ODIs (although many are now played as day/nighters) which are played during similar times of the day as tests. Perhaps with the invention of day night tests we may see a change. The problem is cricket fans fall into - 30% hard core crickets - fans of test cricket 40% half hearted cricket fans - follow tests but mostly watch ODI t20. and 30% which are non-crickets T20 fans. So 70% of the potential market for cricket does care for tests

  • cyniket on April 13, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    It's interesting that the future of cricket is being determined by the semi-fan. Most serious cricket fans (like harsha) prefer test cricket, but the vast majority of cricket fans are only semi-interested in cricket and they prefer t20 or odis. It requires less time and less thought to understand, but it means a watered down version of cricket. It would be like serious football fans having to put up with a growing 5 a-side version of the game because it's easier to follow. If it starts to impact on the purity of the sport, then it should be a concern. Culture has nothing to do with it, either test cricket is top format or it isn't, hiding behind 'different cultures' is an excuse for accepting the erosion of a sport.

  • Nerav on April 13, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    @itismenithin: I'm sorry'cricket would be better off with lesser money and only gunuine cricket lovers would be attracted to it.'. Are you for real. The game of cricket already struggles to survive, take the money out and its finished. I love cricket, all cricket, Test, ODI 20:20 as they all test different aspects. But the problem with Test Cricket is how people have watched the whole match, every session from day 1 - day 5. Not many because life has changed, no one has 5 days to spare to watch a sporting event, in which the game can dwindle into a boring draw. Also having a below 30-40% occupancy in a stadium is poor for any sport. Its a sign that no one is interested.

  • YorkshirePudding on April 13, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    The point of T20 (when it was developed in England) was to get bums on county seats after work with a quick hit and giggle form of the game for about 3-4 hours. It worked, crowds were strong as people could leave work and go to a game in the evening with friends, family without having to take a days holiday. The IPL was the next logical step introducing american sport glizt (cheerleaders etc) to the mix, and it reminds me of the dotcom bubble, and will probably go the same way where early investers get out making big $$$'s leaving the second/third wave to cry about losses.

  • on April 13, 2012, 13:02 GMT

    contd...now, who are the flag-bearers...Virat is definitely good, but is he good enough to bring us to our seats to watch the match. Is Dhoni that good a captain in Test cricket. Will Ashwin, and Ojha bring out the joy that Kumble did. Do we have a Srinath who could make the opposition hop around. Find the play that stimulates the joy in people. Prepare the ground for it, otherwise we will only be interested in what Aus, SA, and Eng do in Test cricket. We may not watch the matches, but may be just the results.

  • itismenithin on April 13, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Harsha, people in india wouldn't have followed the Aus - WI test match which could be largely attributed to timezone difference. You need to remember T20 & ODI inventions were purely business driven and these people don't care about formats which doesn't generate lot of revenue. Tomorrow somebody could come up with a format(T10 may be) which could triple the revenues and all the administrators would run behind it. In that case would you still justify saying it is required to support test cricket?

  • on April 13, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    Contextually speaking, cricket as a game in India grew popular not because of money, not because of promotion, neither because of glamour. It started gaining popularity because people started loving the game, and then the rest followed. If we want Test cricket to be popular, it should be played in the right spirit. We are talking about 5 full days of cricket, which means no one can watch the match without stepping out of their working hours. That is a limitation. With that limitation in mind, if you still want people to follow the game, and through that following, commercialization has to happen, then you have to find a way connecting all these dots. I have not seen the hay days of Sunil Gavaskar, and so I take the risk of saying it was Sachin who brought us interest in Test cricket, and then it was Anil Kumble. Then it was Sourav to take bold decisions. Now that the trinity as a whole is gone, the next set of flag-bearers have to emerge. contd...

  • SurlyCynic on April 13, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    Every year I try to watch IPL as some of my favourite players play in it, but after a few games I can't listen to Danny Morrison screaming "he's DLFed it into the stands" any more.

  • Nutcutlet on April 13, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    This is such a complex issue! Died-in-the-wool cricket fans know, & can easily defend the superiority of TC over T20 stuff. But, as T20 doesn't demand as much discernment or time from its spectators, its appeal is wider, as beer is preferred to fine wine, or hamburgers to varied, well cooked nutritious food. This is the world we inhabit, for good or ill. T20 fans have no problem with the mercenary nature of the teams, & the concept of country or regional loyalty is on the bonfire too. It's much like football the world over, although cricketers' wages don't compare, yet.The two forms, purist & populist, must co-exist - & therefore there needs to be a truce, with one form respecting the other. Somehow a win-win situation has to be worked out. Cricket, in whatever form you prefer, cannot afford internal strife - and all forms have a right to exist. Variety is something that cricket can offer the sporting world in ways that no other team sport can. A grown-up response from all is required!

  • anshu.s on April 13, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    I agree 100% with Harsha Bhogle.Look i don't care what English media or English fans think,let them be preoccupied and obssesed with Football and let them thump there chest and say EPL is better than all other football leaues in world while they watch La Liga clubs annihilate them.What my grudge is that English invented this sport 130 years and so but they never marketed it rightly and we are left with 8 or 9 commonwealth countries playing it.Instead what we got was notion "Gentlemans Sport and something about the purity and spirit of the games.I am also astounded by number of Indians on this website who denigrate IPL they are all in the 40 + age category and profess to be test lovers but in reality are indulging in little bit too much of a Victorian snobbery which is test cricket !!! Cricket is facing competition from other sports epscially European football leagues so it is critical we get hold of the youth and convince them that Cricket can be as cool as following Man U or Barca.

  • pitch_curator on April 13, 2012, 12:47 GMT

    @Warren Smith -- If test cricket were the only form of game being played, cricket would have died long time ago. That is fact whether you like it or not.

  • Percy_Fender on April 13, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    At the moment England are at the top of the rankings in Tests. And so it is par for the course to berate all the other formats of the game. It is unfortunate that Test cricket is today under threat. Even if we have matches like the one between West Indies and Australia recently, Tests are not watched by too many people except perhaps in England and Australia. And that too by people whose national team is playing like Indians or Pakistanis. In Australia one sees crowds only if Australia is playing. That goes to show that people are willing to pay high for tickets only if they have a vested interest. That is no barometer of the popularity of Tests. If Tests are to be brought on par with the limited over formats of the game, they have to reduce the duration of the Tests. Have 90 overs per innings and bring in some of the features of the limited over formats in regard to marketing and selling the game in a smart way as the management gurus would advise.People must feel good to watch Tests.

  • Harmony111 on April 13, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    @ste13 :- You couldn't be more wrong there. In fact, you are wronger than wrong. Fans of the game enjoy watching Cricket - be it in any format. You try to pull down T20s and also try to show as if Tests are boring. The only reason why tests have fewer people watching it is because fewer people have time to watch it for 5 days. This does not mean they have no interest in the tests. I find them extremely interesting even in the most mundane situations cos I know 2 wickets can fall at any time. There has not been a test that I have not seen at least partially in the last few years India or no India. But T20s have an altogether diff level of excitement compared to tests. A low scoring T20 or a big chase - all of them have incredible excitement. ODIs have a diff mix too. I wonder why people tend to deride T20s over tests. It used to happen with Tests vs ODIs and now it is Tests vs T20s. Sad.

  • santoshjohnsamuel on April 13, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    Harsha is wide off the mark. Wisden rightly pointed out, as many experts have, that Tests face a long-term challenge from T-20s. India as the major force in world cricket needs to do some serious thinking on how to ensure that Tests continue to be relevant. Unlike what Harsha has said, this is not an issue about western-style work ethic - it is about doing what is right for the game. All of us who want to see Tests thrive also want to see that our domestic players are well compensated. We would like to know if the BCCI has a plan to ensure it - from the evidence it does not look like it. That Harsha and a few others are part of the same set of influential voices that comment on Tests, ODIs and IPL, thereby making their comments suspect, is just not ethical. A slightly related article can be found at http://cricketingview.blogspot.in/2012/04/on-great-spell-by-morne-morkel.html?showComment=1334238777946.

  • bigwonder on April 13, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    Test cricket has quickly become the newspaper of news industry. There are many other ways to get news (TV, radio, smart phones, touch pads, etc.), but the newspapers still think they have the best way to provide fresh news. The basic question is why cricket played? Is it for the viewers, the players or ICC? If the viewers were not interested, will cricket exist? If the players did not want to play, will cricket exist? It is a matter of survival of the fittest or in other words, market corrects itself. It appears that are more niche markets for various forms of cricket and Test cricket cannot be the monopoly format anymore. Most people are afraid of change especially when it threatens the existence of their choice. Test fans cannot force their format on other viewers who prefer ODI or T20. Respect all formats and let the fans and viewers decide what they like to watch.

  • Kaze on April 13, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    Watering down Tests with the lure of T20 is a silly idea at best, Tests can stand on their own, there will be T20 burn out soon from the viewing public.

  • Alexwm88 on April 13, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    An interesting article, but there are some points that I don't agree with.

    We have seen a fabulous summer of cricket here in Australia. The commentators continually referred to the high attendances throughout the series. I think we deserve a bit better than '...and perhaps, Australia'. Our attendances are strong at the Test matches, whether we're playing England or Bangladesh.

    Of course there is a need for Test cricket, as with all sports these days, to be commercially viable. It's true that there are some empty grounds at some points, but those are covered by the ones that aren't. Test cricket has survived for well over a century with little change to the rules, and perhaps 40 years since things became more commercialised. I don't believe there is cause for alarm.

  • on April 13, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    Harsha, this is one of your best articles. All I wanted to say. I like test cricket the best and still consider it as the best format. However, each format has its own merits and audience. Just because some guys don't like one format, doesn't mean it can not be played. English supporters, understand that other's taste need not align with yours, so don't try to impose your views on us.

  • liz1558 on April 13, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    I can take or leave 20/20 and ODIs - for me Test cricket (clearly an English chap) is the best form of the game. However, it's crystal clear that even if it were possible to categorically prove that Chateau Le Pin is superior to a can of Tizer, most consumers prefer the taste of cheap fizz over the fine wine. On the other hand, using fine wine/classical music metaphors when comparing Test crciket to limited overs bubble gum pop, is precisely the sort of elitist snobbery that grates so much, particularly with Indian commentators such as Ravi Shastri. On the the third hand, it would appear that most of the cricketing world still loves the taste of Coke, but 2 litres is too much to digest, especailly when it comes in more consumer friendly volumes of 330 ml and the even tidier 200ml cans.

  • wibblewibble on April 13, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    This is how much I love test cricket:

    2 days at Lord's: £95/day (cheap seats). 15,500 INR 2 days at Oval: £75/day - 12,000 INR Sky HD subscription to watch tests: £55/month - 4,500 INR/month

    There is clearly something rotten with the way Tests are marketed abroad. Stadia should be rammed full for the ultimate quality games.

    BTW, every single IPL game is live and free to view on UK TV. It has low viewing figures because it is poor quality. A non stop succession of bad medium pace bowling feeds overpaid overseas 'stars' who bish it to cow corner. zzzz

  • myawan on April 13, 2012, 11:53 GMT

    And this article was useless! If shorter format has something in it, it will automatically survive so don't compare test & T20.

  • muski on April 13, 2012, 11:20 GMT

    Harsha- I fail to understand why you link survival of test cricket to the crowds that throng the stadium to see a test match. For all the love we profess for test cricket, you will agree that in the current day mad world of hectic life, people do not have the time to spend 5 days for watching a sport. The historical reasons the POMS played cricket was for their entertainment- not for the entertainment of the people watching it. The mantra for test cricket to survive is simple. Make the money from ODI's and T20's and use that excess fund for taking care of test cricket in case you dont get the money from Ad's and spectators. The more important point to be noted that will speeden the death of Test Cricket is the non sporting wickets prepared especially in the sub continent. Once that changes and more lively pitches are made and the matches being more result oriented, the die hard fans will atleast find one day to sneek into the stadiums.

  • on April 13, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    I firmly believe that Harsha Bhogle is perfectly aware that Test cricket is the form of the game which separates the men from the boys. He is trying, in vain, to convince himself -and then his readers- that T/20 (more precisely, IPL) is something great and will benefit Indian cricket a great deal. Sorry, Sir, your agenda these days have become quite transparent. A pity, really, since your articles used to be so thoughtful and ,more importantly, so impartial. Not any more, I am afraid.

  • Jack_Tka on April 13, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    Test cricket is definitely the real cricket. But current environment gives the audience to watch a format of cricket where one match does not lasts for 5 continuous days(talking about T20 cricket). The audience will definitetly choose the format which suits his viewership: which presumably is T20. Less time taken to watch the complete match with a result. Test cricket is like a TV serial which ends on Day One with a tag: "To be continued...", but T20 is like a Hollywood Action movie which ends within Hrs. It is not rocket science, which one the audience will prefer given the hectic life. After watching several T20s, one cannot go and watch a Test match where the Batsmen always ponder whether to touch the ball or leave.

  • rahulcricket007 on April 13, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    VERY TRUE ARTICLE HARSHA . TESTS ARE MOSTLY WATCHED BY ENG PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY LOVE IT BUT INDIANS LOVE SHORTFORMATS OF GAME . LAST YEAR AGAINST WI TESTS TICKET PRICE WAS ONLY 50 RS . BUT YET WE SAW EMPTY GROUNDS IN KOLKATA & DELHI . I ALSO GENERALLY DON'T WATCH TESTS REGULARLY . I JUST KEEP CHECKING SCORES AFTER 30 OR 40 MINUTES . SOMETIMES TEST MATCHES PRODUCE EXCITEMENT BUT ONLY FOR A MERELY ONE OR TWO SESSION . LIKE THE RECENT TEST IN BARBADOS PRODUCE EXCITEMENT ONLY ON FINAL DAY . IN FIRST 4 DAYS IT WAS LOOKING LIKE IT WILL BE A BORING DRAW .

  • on April 13, 2012, 11:03 GMT

    Excerpts from an Article by Mr. Harsha 'Better Bowlers, Better Test Teams'. "A Mercedes doesn't emerge from raw material of unknown quality. It becomes a Mercedes because of the rigour it is put through. For India to become a dominant Test nation and not just a good one-day cricket team, bowling will have to be a priority, and that cannot happen with the existing structure. India are much better at one-dayers than at Tests because 50-overs cricket allows you to win with good batting and ordinary bowling. Unless that changes, they'll remain limited-overs tigers and five-day sheep. And so India will continue to do well in forms of cricket that require short, instinctive jabs, and will continue to struggle in forms that need discipline and sustained performance. Is that a reflection of the policy planning and execution on the Indian political landscape - short-term jabs rather than long-term plans?"

    Conclusion: This Article!

  • on April 13, 2012, 10:57 GMT

    Test cricket is the best and the ODI but T20 is ruining the quality of cricket.In t2o the contest of bat and ball is finish we are just seeing bat bat bat and bat.

  • on April 13, 2012, 10:50 GMT

    After reading some comments here I feel people are misinterpreting what Harsha is saying. Harsha is not recommending T20 in the place of tests. All he is saying is that in the end every board / country has a right to create its own ecosystem where in sufficient money is generated by the sport. If Tests generate moolah for England and IPL / T20 for India then so be it. Why should we be dismissive of it. BCCI is smart enough to rake in moolah by using the current trend of T20. Somewhere down the line T20 will get out of date and I am sure BCCI will find new ways to generate money. It's a classic case of how any corporate adapts itself in various business scenarios. Coming to the quality of cricket if people dont like IPL then they should not watch it or read about it. Similarly people who are lovers of IPL and T20 need not abuse Tests. People should be free to choose whatever product they want. If India is prioritizing T20/ IPL, it should be allowed to.

  • on April 13, 2012, 10:33 GMT

    For test cricket to survive, bring down the ticket costs and let the crowd watch the match. That creates an atmosphere and it makes a good TV viewing experience. Even in IPL, the matches in Eden Gardens are full compared to the matches in Chennai. The costliest ticket at Kolkata is 1500 while the cheapest priced in Chennai is 700.

  • on April 13, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    @Neerav: T20 'international' cricket is something else. It creates revenue and goodwill for the game but what about the IPL's, BPL's and the BigBashes? They create revenues and goodwill for thier respective boards which creates a balance of shift in the ICC and weak boards like SriLanka, Pakistan and West Indies are left friendless and helpless. Please consider these thoughts and feel for the lovers of 'Genuine' Cricket.

  • Lakshmana on April 13, 2012, 9:57 GMT

    I think we need to face up to reality - T20, IPL etc. is popular, people watch it! If people didn't watch it then it would have died very quickly. The majority prefer T20, its simple demand and supply. If there is too much supply, then there will be a natural correction down the line...

  • on April 13, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    @Neerav: I agree that T20's have increased the finances for the game but shouldn't those finances be used to create interest in Test cricket? Secondly, everybody speaks of the English 'Barmy Army' turning up for every Test match at home while most of the sub-continent people watch the matches on Television, may I ask all of those people including Harsha to consider the weather here in the sub-continent. The T20's are mostly played in the evenings while the Tests are played in day-time when it is generally very hot. I think proper infrastructure needs to be created which will allow people to beat the heat and people will definitely come.

  • ste13 on April 13, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    The problem with 20/20 is its one-dimensional nature. After watching a few games in a short period it becomes predictable and as boring as drawn tests. Could anyone recall spectacular 20/20 games. Even 210 chase made by RCB in last year CLT20 has been quickly forgotten. I would not be surprised if in 5-10 years interest in 20/20 drops considerably, even in India, the country which I expect will drift more into other globally popular sports. With tests it is difficult to make them profitable, for me this form is superior due to its unprectability and twists and turns. However, I agree that it is impossible to watch even 20% of a test. Generally, I believe cricket will be reduced into a sport of secondary importance even in India, 20/20 domestic leagues will lose interest and only international games irrespectively of the format will keep the game alive. However, next generations of cricketers will not get as lucrative contracts as nowadays.

  • deepak_sholapurkar on April 13, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    In the image attached with this article, Its interesting to see an empty stadium and cricket in whites(Probably Test) is being played.

    Can you tell how many stadiums will have filled up stadiums when IPL matches are played? We see BCCI controlled videos on TV where camera is always concentrated on few filled up area. But most of the stadium will vacant(That will never be shown).

  • itismenithin on April 13, 2012, 9:37 GMT

    @Nerav - You forgot the fact that Eng - Pak series was held in a neutral venue. If it was in Pak i bet you could witness more crowds. Cricket would be better off with lesser money and only gunuine cricket lovers would be attracted to it.

  • on April 13, 2012, 9:34 GMT

    Harsha - you are paid by the BCCI and as such your opinion is biased. Test cricket is the ONLY form of the game and the shorter versions ARE abominations (20/20 in aprticular) facilitated and promoted by businessmen (in particular the BCCI) at the expense of test cricket. 20/20 is affecting not only the quality of test cricket, but those available to play it, when and how often it is played and destroying promising youngsters careers. David warner is not an example of how 20/20 helps a plyer succeed - hes succeeded in spite of it. If 20.20 didnt exist, he would have a tight technique and average 50 in test cricket. There are many others like it.

  • deepak_sholapurkar on April 13, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    Hi Harsha,

    I agree that Test Cricket is not watched by every one, but what about 20-20.

    If its so much interesting then why the Television ratings for IPL are falling year by year.

    Thanks & Regards,

  • on April 13, 2012, 9:26 GMT

    test cricket is the ultimate test of skills and patience and will ever remain so. unfortunately indians fail to realize this simple truth,including mr bhogle. it is due to this attidude towards the longest form of the game, that india has suffered such demoralizing defeats in recent past. ipl has played a major role in such heavy away defeats. this article by mr bhogle is totally biased towards ipl. and i can understand why? bcoz it offers serious mollah for mediocre cricket,doesnt it?

  • nzcricket174 on April 13, 2012, 9:16 GMT

    Test cricket is still the best, but anyone who watched the Chennai-Bangalore game last night would change their mind about hating on the IPL!

  • itismenithin on April 13, 2012, 9:15 GMT

    I think Test cricket should be the only form of the game. Given a choice audience would always pick the shortest version as it wouldn't disrupt their daily routines much. T20 & 0DI's to lesser extend act as distractions and only helps in filling the pockets of the greedy business folks and administrators.

  • AJ_Tiger86 on April 13, 2012, 9:10 GMT

    It's funny how much money talks. How people like Kevin Pietersen and Harsha Bhogle have totally changed their views about cricket in such a short time. Kevin Pietersen became a superstar by playing TEST CRICKET -- or more precisely the Ashes-winning 158 at the Oval in 2005. Harsha Bhogle became a renowned commentator by covering TEST CRICKET. But now they are ruining their lives' achievements just for a few quick bucks.

  • on April 13, 2012, 9:09 GMT

    @ Harsha - people are not annoyed by the IPL, they're annoyed by its influence on the game as players are getting paid lots of money to play in the IPL thus are not as concerned about playing test cricket - just look at the West Indian trio of: Gayle, Pollard and Bravo. Furthermore, the IPL is also leading to players abandoning their countries to play in the IPL - 20 years ago, Gayle would not have abandoned his country as he would have had nowhere to go to make the 'big bucks'. Moreover, it is also detrimenting test cricket in India; the test team has not been playing as well since the beginning of the IPL as more one-day based players (ie. Raina) are coming through rather than test-specialist players (in a Dravid/Laxman/Tendulkar-esqe mould). In addition to this, good/great test batsmen (ie. Dravid/Tendulkar/Kallis and even Rahane to a certain extent -look at the ODI tour of England-) were able to adapt to the shorter formats; however, the ODI crop has been unable to (eg. Raina).

  • AbhijeetC on April 13, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    Kudos to Harsha......it is very good article. First of all I don't understand Why people want English people to follow IPL. It is strange. It is like saying Indian people why they don't follow county championship. It should be up to individual to decide whether he wants to follow. Plus Majority of young English people are hooked to EPL and it is much bigger sport than cricket.

    I have been living in UK for past 3 years and I have seen some white people asking about IPL and talking about competition in tube, bus. so it is getting there, will take time. And seriously, I haven't figured out myself which IPL team I should support.

  • Nerav on April 13, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    @ Asim Abbas: How Test matches in the Pakistan England series had a half filled stadium. The answer none. Test Cricket doesn't generate any money, ODI and T20 does. Financially doesnt make sense to go with a lose leader. You should remember that all Sport in the end is a business

  • S.Jagernath on April 13, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    In recent times,test cricket venues have been packed.In South Africa,Australia was here a few months ago & grounds were full because the quality of cricket was high.Even Sri Lanka attracted a positive crowd.South Africans just enjoy the feel of a day at a test match.The English make each day seem as if it is a special occasion as the game has cultural importance for them.The Australians recently flocked to the grounds to watch India play disappointingly.Its just the sub-continent & the West Indies that are not that interested.The West Indies don't have a lot going but India,until recently had 2 of cricket's all time great batsmen,Sri Lankans love their batsmen but don't seem that interested in watching them live.Pakistani's unfortunately cannot watch Younis Khan or Saeed Ajmal in action which is a big loss.Bangladesh is a team nobody wants to watch,the same can be said for New Zealand.

  • on April 13, 2012, 8:32 GMT

    Mr. Bhogle is obviously taking a dig at the discerning cricket follower for opting to ignore the IPL. The problem arises when half baked players are given the opportunity to walk off with fortunes for displaying their limited talents for just a few hours. 'Franchisees', for some mysterious reason, 'purchase' players like Ravindra Jadeja and Vinay Kumar, who are laughably ordinary at the international level, for unbelievable amounts of money. Which aspiring Indian player,in these circumstances, would take the trouble of trying a developing into top class cricketers who would stand scrutiny among the best in the world? It is ridiculous that the IPL circus is given cult status and precedence over Test cricket by the very body whose priority should always be a strong national team. The sad part is that people like Bhogle could have tried to make a difference to this state of affairs. Instead, they chose the easier-and more lucrative- option and simply jumped on to the band wagon.

  • coachieballgames on April 13, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    "We follow the match on the internet, blog about it, tweet, and write essays, but none of these makes it financially stronger."

    Well said, how many of us can claim to watch every delivery of every session of a test? In this day and age, unless you are a retired trainspotter, it's impossible.

    Test cricket is often enthralling, but usually on the fourth and fifth days. Like Mr. Boghle implies, and as the old saying goes, "If it don't make dollars, it don't make sense."

  • on April 13, 2012, 8:00 GMT

    @Harsha: From what I get from your article is that the sub-continent people lack patience to watch Test matches and they prefer watching T-20's due to that fact. But my argument to you will be that 'lets give tests a chance' and reduce the number of T20's. From this I mean doing away with IPL, BPL, BigBash and all these leagues and only hold a world cup as was the case before. Then they will have to come to stadiums to watch the Tests due to the lack of any alternative. Secondly, when Pakistan beat England in tests 3-0, the Pakistani's were proud of that achievement and just did not care when we lost 4-0 in the ODI's to England. Nevermind the T-20's. Lastly, I want to ask the administrators of the game to take a stand for test cricket and Let the game dictate terms to the audience!

  • GoCho on April 13, 2012, 7:50 GMT

    Harsha never gives up, does he!! How many people do you know who as youc laim were 'induced' by T20 and ended up watching Test cricket?? This story has been played out for years, T20 will bring in more viewers, good for the game etc. But has it been good for the game? No..players hiding injuries, fast bowlers trying so many variations they forget their stock 'fast' delivery, batsmen swishing with feet in cement etc. The only thing it has brought is power for bcci and money for bcci and its spokespersons Messrs. Sunny G and Ravi Shastri

  • on April 13, 2012, 7:43 GMT

    But alas! I repeat Harsha(!!!) that this 20-20 version which I call disco cricket; which do you like Harsha the classical by Pandit Ravi Shankar o...r the current disco craze, Think it twice. 5-day version will ever remain as long as cricket remains. 20-20 is simply ruining cricket like IPL. As everyday goes off the calender IPL is gradually but surely losing its colour. Do not frget past the memorable Auusie-West Indies so do not forget some memorable wins by Australia recently in the First Test against West Indies another against England in 2006 in Adelaide. Would you ever like to forget that memoarble victory of India over Australia in Kokata Test by coming from behind form the fear of innings defeat glorfying to a famous victory. so?? Sydney, Australia.

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  • on April 13, 2012, 7:43 GMT

    But alas! I repeat Harsha(!!!) that this 20-20 version which I call disco cricket; which do you like Harsha the classical by Pandit Ravi Shankar o...r the current disco craze, Think it twice. 5-day version will ever remain as long as cricket remains. 20-20 is simply ruining cricket like IPL. As everyday goes off the calender IPL is gradually but surely losing its colour. Do not frget past the memorable Auusie-West Indies so do not forget some memorable wins by Australia recently in the First Test against West Indies another against England in 2006 in Adelaide. Would you ever like to forget that memoarble victory of India over Australia in Kokata Test by coming from behind form the fear of innings defeat glorfying to a famous victory. so?? Sydney, Australia.

  • GoCho on April 13, 2012, 7:50 GMT

    Harsha never gives up, does he!! How many people do you know who as youc laim were 'induced' by T20 and ended up watching Test cricket?? This story has been played out for years, T20 will bring in more viewers, good for the game etc. But has it been good for the game? No..players hiding injuries, fast bowlers trying so many variations they forget their stock 'fast' delivery, batsmen swishing with feet in cement etc. The only thing it has brought is power for bcci and money for bcci and its spokespersons Messrs. Sunny G and Ravi Shastri

  • on April 13, 2012, 8:00 GMT

    @Harsha: From what I get from your article is that the sub-continent people lack patience to watch Test matches and they prefer watching T-20's due to that fact. But my argument to you will be that 'lets give tests a chance' and reduce the number of T20's. From this I mean doing away with IPL, BPL, BigBash and all these leagues and only hold a world cup as was the case before. Then they will have to come to stadiums to watch the Tests due to the lack of any alternative. Secondly, when Pakistan beat England in tests 3-0, the Pakistani's were proud of that achievement and just did not care when we lost 4-0 in the ODI's to England. Nevermind the T-20's. Lastly, I want to ask the administrators of the game to take a stand for test cricket and Let the game dictate terms to the audience!

  • coachieballgames on April 13, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    "We follow the match on the internet, blog about it, tweet, and write essays, but none of these makes it financially stronger."

    Well said, how many of us can claim to watch every delivery of every session of a test? In this day and age, unless you are a retired trainspotter, it's impossible.

    Test cricket is often enthralling, but usually on the fourth and fifth days. Like Mr. Boghle implies, and as the old saying goes, "If it don't make dollars, it don't make sense."

  • on April 13, 2012, 8:32 GMT

    Mr. Bhogle is obviously taking a dig at the discerning cricket follower for opting to ignore the IPL. The problem arises when half baked players are given the opportunity to walk off with fortunes for displaying their limited talents for just a few hours. 'Franchisees', for some mysterious reason, 'purchase' players like Ravindra Jadeja and Vinay Kumar, who are laughably ordinary at the international level, for unbelievable amounts of money. Which aspiring Indian player,in these circumstances, would take the trouble of trying a developing into top class cricketers who would stand scrutiny among the best in the world? It is ridiculous that the IPL circus is given cult status and precedence over Test cricket by the very body whose priority should always be a strong national team. The sad part is that people like Bhogle could have tried to make a difference to this state of affairs. Instead, they chose the easier-and more lucrative- option and simply jumped on to the band wagon.

  • S.Jagernath on April 13, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    In recent times,test cricket venues have been packed.In South Africa,Australia was here a few months ago & grounds were full because the quality of cricket was high.Even Sri Lanka attracted a positive crowd.South Africans just enjoy the feel of a day at a test match.The English make each day seem as if it is a special occasion as the game has cultural importance for them.The Australians recently flocked to the grounds to watch India play disappointingly.Its just the sub-continent & the West Indies that are not that interested.The West Indies don't have a lot going but India,until recently had 2 of cricket's all time great batsmen,Sri Lankans love their batsmen but don't seem that interested in watching them live.Pakistani's unfortunately cannot watch Younis Khan or Saeed Ajmal in action which is a big loss.Bangladesh is a team nobody wants to watch,the same can be said for New Zealand.

  • Nerav on April 13, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    @ Asim Abbas: How Test matches in the Pakistan England series had a half filled stadium. The answer none. Test Cricket doesn't generate any money, ODI and T20 does. Financially doesnt make sense to go with a lose leader. You should remember that all Sport in the end is a business

  • AbhijeetC on April 13, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    Kudos to Harsha......it is very good article. First of all I don't understand Why people want English people to follow IPL. It is strange. It is like saying Indian people why they don't follow county championship. It should be up to individual to decide whether he wants to follow. Plus Majority of young English people are hooked to EPL and it is much bigger sport than cricket.

    I have been living in UK for past 3 years and I have seen some white people asking about IPL and talking about competition in tube, bus. so it is getting there, will take time. And seriously, I haven't figured out myself which IPL team I should support.

  • on April 13, 2012, 9:09 GMT

    @ Harsha - people are not annoyed by the IPL, they're annoyed by its influence on the game as players are getting paid lots of money to play in the IPL thus are not as concerned about playing test cricket - just look at the West Indian trio of: Gayle, Pollard and Bravo. Furthermore, the IPL is also leading to players abandoning their countries to play in the IPL - 20 years ago, Gayle would not have abandoned his country as he would have had nowhere to go to make the 'big bucks'. Moreover, it is also detrimenting test cricket in India; the test team has not been playing as well since the beginning of the IPL as more one-day based players (ie. Raina) are coming through rather than test-specialist players (in a Dravid/Laxman/Tendulkar-esqe mould). In addition to this, good/great test batsmen (ie. Dravid/Tendulkar/Kallis and even Rahane to a certain extent -look at the ODI tour of England-) were able to adapt to the shorter formats; however, the ODI crop has been unable to (eg. Raina).

  • AJ_Tiger86 on April 13, 2012, 9:10 GMT

    It's funny how much money talks. How people like Kevin Pietersen and Harsha Bhogle have totally changed their views about cricket in such a short time. Kevin Pietersen became a superstar by playing TEST CRICKET -- or more precisely the Ashes-winning 158 at the Oval in 2005. Harsha Bhogle became a renowned commentator by covering TEST CRICKET. But now they are ruining their lives' achievements just for a few quick bucks.