August 23, 2013

Test cricket needs strong local economies

We cannot ignore the fact that in most top cricket-playing countries Test cricket needs T20, and not the other way round
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Rahul Dravid's eloquent plea for Test cricket - his words have the same grace as his shots - needs to be taken seriously, as does his thesis that T20 needs Test cricket. And he makes an old-fashioned plea for not putting profits from television rights above the greater need to develop the sport. It is interesting, too, that it comes at a time when the game's parents have been obsessing over whether a heat spot on a bat is good for the game.

You would expect Dravid to say what he does, and to be fair to him, the manner in which he thought about and played his cricket is consistent with what he advocates. But I can see those that run the game tut-tutting about romantics not making good businessmen.

Of those who earn money from the game, the ICC is doing fairly well. So are India, England and Australia, and there aren't alarm bells ringing in the accountants' offices in South Africa either. But of the others, Sri Lanka are broke, so, by their admission, are Pakistan. New Zealand are very honest about the state of their finances, and West Indies aren't exactly rolling in wealth. And there is some debate over whether Zimbabwe Cricket is broke or has been broken into.

That means a majority of cricket's constituents are either struggling to stay afloat or are waiting for the next payout from the ICC, which derives its own income from television rights and attendant benefits. Like with the world of economics that Dravid so charmingly alludes to, cricket is split between the haves and the have-nots.

The haves don't mind playing Test cricket, because their lucrative television deals cover that. But outside of the top four, there are virtually no television deals, so they must offer the markets what they crave. And what the markets want in these countries is fast food, not fine dining. These countries, to be able to afford to play home Tests, must generate revenue from what the market demands. And while the market makes the right noises about Test cricket, it does so like people who support social causes; it rarely extends beyond words and into actual support. So to that extent, Test cricket, at least in these countries, needs T20 and not the other way around.

But, of course, the world cannot be governed by profit alone. Governments must build roads, provide health care, and education and through that, provide opportunity to citizens. Can world cricket, a very uneasy alliance, perform that task?

The financial gap between the haves and the have-nots will eventually translate into similar gaps on the playing field

In an ideal world they should, and Dravid's assertion that some nations must cede some power to allow the ICC to get stronger is perhaps based on that romantic thought. If the ICC has the power, it can, hopefully, keep Test cricket alive, keep the "trunk" strong, and allow traditional skills to flourish, and to be fair, the grants are meant to do just that. But to survive, Test cricket needs strong local economies too and for reasons that are political (Pakistan, Zimbabwe) or economic (New Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka), these are virtually non-existent.

It is inevitable then that the financial gap between the haves and the have-nots will eventually translate into similar gaps on the playing field. The Spanish football league, for example, is really about two teams and assorted others. Real Madrid and Barcelona do their own television deals and force the other teams to exist as perpetual also-rans. The story is not dissimilar in every other genre.

We are seeing it in Test cricket already, in Dravid's fear that the less some countries play Test cricket, the greater the gap between them and those that play more. Can the ICC then fund Test cricket in these countries? Can each of the big four make a contribution, like members of a housing society do for maintenance, so that they can cover the cost of organising Test matches in other countries? Is it feasible?

Where Dravid is on home ground is in his assertion that in the playing of the game, T20 will need Test cricket. India, where the IPL is now six years old, is a good laboratory to test that hypothesis. Players who don't have a base in four-day cricket have tended to become one-season wonders. When you are a one-trick pony you get found out. Bowlers who can only bowl six different balls and not one ball well enough six times if needed get clattered around very fast. Batsmen who merely plant their foot out of the line to make way for the slog are too inconsistent. The fact that no one is watching the Ranji Trophy or the Sheffield Shield or the County Championship doesn't mean they aren't valuable.

Eventually the survival of Test cricket, or its sustenance in countries beyond the four financially healthy ones, will depend not as much on those who play it but those who watch. Test cricket needs brand ambassadors and Rahul Dravid is a good one.

Harsha Bhogle is a television presenter, writer and commentator. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ultimatewarrior on August 25, 2013, 1:07 GMT

    If this is the situation of Test Cricket then ICC must divide teams into 2 groups allowing 1st with more matches and 2nd with significantly less matches. Also ICC should ensure the 2nd group should also gets enough exposure by playing a no. of Multination series like a team from 1st group against all teams from 2nd group. That will create a good hype also and a good motivation for teams to come into 1st group. Further no. of ODI should also be reduced as per most players are demanding...Surely with higher incentives 1st group teams can play more tests than present and 2nd group can play more odi/t20 to have good cricket economy first...altogether this all is already happening today albeit slowly and without hullabaloo...

  • on August 24, 2013, 20:43 GMT

    I respect Rahul Dravid a lot, but he still needs to get real. Cricket today is not a game, it is an inductry. Industry only delivers what the market wants. If there are enough people paying for a product, someone will definitely make & deliver. If a demand for Test Cricket exists, it will continue. Else - just forget it. For all those who want to watch Test Cricket - buy tickets & watch at the ground. If it is not possible to commute to the ground, buy a TV Subscription to have a TV Channel OR a Web-site to telecast / webcast the game. & buy at a price that allows whoever is taking the trouble to deliver to you, covering their costs & leaving something with them as a return for the trouble they are taking. If you are unwilling to pay them to give you something you want, you have no right to demand it from them.

  • Vinod on August 24, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    The problem with modern day cricket i, it is becoming too predictable. The 30 yard rule, power plays may be good idea for one-day cricket. However for T20 cricket, these rules are killing the game and taking the excitement away. In my humble opinion, T20 should be played like test cricket, where for the 20 overs there should be no 30 yard rule. All the test match rules should be applied. Then I think T20 can become more competitive and we can get some exciting players. Otherwise very soon, cricket will lose more spectators. Keep the rules simple, and make it more competitive.

  • anshu.s on August 24, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    @getsetgopk,only people who like to watch the paint dry can watch test cricket being played on flat and slow pitches which neither helps the batters nor bowlers , you see defensive cricket all along , batters plodding and leaving all the time,bowlers just going through the chores and most importantly no result in sight...

    I watch all India matches,A tours,u-19 matches across all formats, it is Weekend time now and i will be watching some La Liga and Bundesliga matches.Football is a truly global and beutiful game .Atleast there you don't get lectures about tradition ,purity and what is real or terms like fine dining and junk food , pyjama cricket,circus etc. Football is all embracing and without any snobbery..

  • MaruthuDelft on August 24, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    England is killing test cricket; see the way they play it in the Ashes? Players like Cook, Trott and some others should never have allowed to play in tests.

  • uglyhunK on August 24, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    @m23khan - What is the population of just those 4 countries you mentioned ?

  • gsingh7 on August 24, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    one of the best articles on this website. harsha is a management graduate and knows his facts.a billion people watch ipl , few thousand watch test matches. u do the maths where money is coming from. bcci is richest cricket board in the whole world due to mainly ipl and odis that india play and watched by indians around the globe..in good old days people used to play timeless tests,why not try now? because no one will watch it. i will watch t20 match for sure.people who donot change with changing times are left behind, let embrace this change and see cricket grow into more countries like uae and afghanistan.

  • sweetspot on August 24, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    Everyone in support of Test cricket need not feel cheated or belittled by Harsha saying T20 is the money earner and it can be used effectively enough to feed Test cricket. No matter how great the nuances and the "real" nature of Test cricket, it has not spread enough to be a global sport. Within cricket, Tests have no chance of being the weapon with which to globalize or even expand cricket's reach and popularity. When aeroplanes came, indeed fewer people preferred ships for international travel. When e mail came, the telegraph died. Test cricket will also die a natural death, because we as people have changed. It is indeed a case of majority dictating reality for the minority, but that's reality.

  • ramz30380 on August 24, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    It is clear - the longer format is for technically sound players and the shorter formats for exciting entertainers. Test cricket breeds quality while T20 brings in money. Test cricket is traditional while T20 is ultra modern.....

    Nice words Harsha, rightly said, Test cricket needs support from the big guns.

    Suggestions: 1. To balance both test cricket & money, the top 4 test playing nations, tour 2-3 countries that lag in the bottom half at least once every two yrs to play test cricket. This can bring in funds, make teams more competitive & may not pinch the boards too much against them sponsoring teams whose economies aren't doing that well.

    2. Another suggestion is the top 4 playing in neutral venues i.e. in countries that need to generate revenue. This ensures that the public get to see competitive cricket that can lure in crowds.

    3. Richer boards can sponsor the ordinary ones when they play tests against each other....

  • ARJUN217 on August 24, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    Respect the game of cricket not only tests. Test cricket is all about defending and survival. ODI is my favourite you need all the skill in odi. T20 is entertainment i love watch it .in ipl a lots of poor players become wealthy and its gud for them. you need t20 for sure.I LOVE CRICKET NOT ONLY LITTLE BORING TESTS.

  • ultimatewarrior on August 25, 2013, 1:07 GMT

    If this is the situation of Test Cricket then ICC must divide teams into 2 groups allowing 1st with more matches and 2nd with significantly less matches. Also ICC should ensure the 2nd group should also gets enough exposure by playing a no. of Multination series like a team from 1st group against all teams from 2nd group. That will create a good hype also and a good motivation for teams to come into 1st group. Further no. of ODI should also be reduced as per most players are demanding...Surely with higher incentives 1st group teams can play more tests than present and 2nd group can play more odi/t20 to have good cricket economy first...altogether this all is already happening today albeit slowly and without hullabaloo...

  • on August 24, 2013, 20:43 GMT

    I respect Rahul Dravid a lot, but he still needs to get real. Cricket today is not a game, it is an inductry. Industry only delivers what the market wants. If there are enough people paying for a product, someone will definitely make & deliver. If a demand for Test Cricket exists, it will continue. Else - just forget it. For all those who want to watch Test Cricket - buy tickets & watch at the ground. If it is not possible to commute to the ground, buy a TV Subscription to have a TV Channel OR a Web-site to telecast / webcast the game. & buy at a price that allows whoever is taking the trouble to deliver to you, covering their costs & leaving something with them as a return for the trouble they are taking. If you are unwilling to pay them to give you something you want, you have no right to demand it from them.

  • Vinod on August 24, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    The problem with modern day cricket i, it is becoming too predictable. The 30 yard rule, power plays may be good idea for one-day cricket. However for T20 cricket, these rules are killing the game and taking the excitement away. In my humble opinion, T20 should be played like test cricket, where for the 20 overs there should be no 30 yard rule. All the test match rules should be applied. Then I think T20 can become more competitive and we can get some exciting players. Otherwise very soon, cricket will lose more spectators. Keep the rules simple, and make it more competitive.

  • anshu.s on August 24, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    @getsetgopk,only people who like to watch the paint dry can watch test cricket being played on flat and slow pitches which neither helps the batters nor bowlers , you see defensive cricket all along , batters plodding and leaving all the time,bowlers just going through the chores and most importantly no result in sight...

    I watch all India matches,A tours,u-19 matches across all formats, it is Weekend time now and i will be watching some La Liga and Bundesliga matches.Football is a truly global and beutiful game .Atleast there you don't get lectures about tradition ,purity and what is real or terms like fine dining and junk food , pyjama cricket,circus etc. Football is all embracing and without any snobbery..

  • MaruthuDelft on August 24, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    England is killing test cricket; see the way they play it in the Ashes? Players like Cook, Trott and some others should never have allowed to play in tests.

  • uglyhunK on August 24, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    @m23khan - What is the population of just those 4 countries you mentioned ?

  • gsingh7 on August 24, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    one of the best articles on this website. harsha is a management graduate and knows his facts.a billion people watch ipl , few thousand watch test matches. u do the maths where money is coming from. bcci is richest cricket board in the whole world due to mainly ipl and odis that india play and watched by indians around the globe..in good old days people used to play timeless tests,why not try now? because no one will watch it. i will watch t20 match for sure.people who donot change with changing times are left behind, let embrace this change and see cricket grow into more countries like uae and afghanistan.

  • sweetspot on August 24, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    Everyone in support of Test cricket need not feel cheated or belittled by Harsha saying T20 is the money earner and it can be used effectively enough to feed Test cricket. No matter how great the nuances and the "real" nature of Test cricket, it has not spread enough to be a global sport. Within cricket, Tests have no chance of being the weapon with which to globalize or even expand cricket's reach and popularity. When aeroplanes came, indeed fewer people preferred ships for international travel. When e mail came, the telegraph died. Test cricket will also die a natural death, because we as people have changed. It is indeed a case of majority dictating reality for the minority, but that's reality.

  • ramz30380 on August 24, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    It is clear - the longer format is for technically sound players and the shorter formats for exciting entertainers. Test cricket breeds quality while T20 brings in money. Test cricket is traditional while T20 is ultra modern.....

    Nice words Harsha, rightly said, Test cricket needs support from the big guns.

    Suggestions: 1. To balance both test cricket & money, the top 4 test playing nations, tour 2-3 countries that lag in the bottom half at least once every two yrs to play test cricket. This can bring in funds, make teams more competitive & may not pinch the boards too much against them sponsoring teams whose economies aren't doing that well.

    2. Another suggestion is the top 4 playing in neutral venues i.e. in countries that need to generate revenue. This ensures that the public get to see competitive cricket that can lure in crowds.

    3. Richer boards can sponsor the ordinary ones when they play tests against each other....

  • ARJUN217 on August 24, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    Respect the game of cricket not only tests. Test cricket is all about defending and survival. ODI is my favourite you need all the skill in odi. T20 is entertainment i love watch it .in ipl a lots of poor players become wealthy and its gud for them. you need t20 for sure.I LOVE CRICKET NOT ONLY LITTLE BORING TESTS.

  • on August 24, 2013, 1:16 GMT

    "Eventually the survival of Test cricket, or its sustenance in countries beyond the four financially healthy ones, will depend not as much on those who play it but those who watch.". Well let me be frank. I watch sports for entertainment and watching a game like yesterday where England were plodding at 2 an over was painful and i stopped half way into the second session. I am someone who watches all formats with equal interest but days like yesterday were such a turnoff. Test cricket is dying because it is too slow for modern day life. No other sport has matches played over 5 days at such a slow pace. T20 has won in every aspect. Fans like it ( judging on the high attendance), players like it, boards like it and the ICC likes it. So why is it made the scapegoat supposedly killing a format that has little consequence in modern scope of sports. If t20 and hadn't arrived cricket as a sport would have died. Now that it has only test cricket will and cricket as sport will still survive.

  • Rahulbose on August 24, 2013, 1:01 GMT

    Test cricket or first class cricket training is not needed for playing T20. It is a ridiculous idea. It is similar to proposing that you must train for a marathon in order to run the 100m sprint. If players were allowed to pursue a T20 specialist career they could train from a young age for that and would be just as competitive as any first class cricketer, most likely they would be better at T20.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 24, 2013, 0:06 GMT

    @daneel: Don't get too emotional friend. Tests are nothing compared to some of the other fine sports of our planet. What has test cricket done to instil interest towards the game of cricket in other nations ? NIL. The British colonial empire ended long time ago. Test cricket is nothing but a legacy of that bygone era. We don't have to follow it and embrace it forever. It's time to make a move. Either we cut down on the duration of tests from 5 to 3 days OR we let it to perish. Nobody will miss it, except perhaps some folks in England and Australia. T20 and ODIs are the BEST formats; of which, T20 can be marketed globally, thus expanding the list of cricket playing nations.

  • on August 23, 2013, 23:14 GMT

    i am a big fan of test matches but they have to be played in right spirit. watching ashes this time around has been boring for the most part when england batted. So some of the test batsman do need t20's to evolve there game as well. boring batting on flat tracks is just not acceptable.

  • on August 23, 2013, 23:08 GMT

    @Warren Mendes has to get a look at the stats. Tests rarely end in draws and most of those are due to weather interruptions. Most actually end in 4 days as well...

  • getsetgopk on August 23, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    LOL, there is someone on here saying that sports have evolved and he gives the example of football and that the leather on the boots have changed, he forgot that cricket has evolved too, uncovered pitches, day night cricket, no helmets, helmets, 4 stumps, a million changes to playing conditions in the past decade alone, we had timeless tests once now we have a all sorts of cricket. Thats the kind of article this is and has attracted similar sort of commenters. what Dravid said is that experiment and make money all you want but if you dump cricket into a 3 hours contest between ball and bat, you'll kill the sport. Only circus loving fans can watch this T20 junk day in an day out.

  • on August 23, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    WHAT'S SO SACRED ABOUT TEST CRICKET? I've been watching test cricket all my life as a West Indies fan, and I've always enjoyed it, but the truth is that sports evolve. No game is begin played today like it was a hundred years ago. Football had big heavy leather boots and a heavy leather ball. Wimbledon has a roof. Rules change in every sport to accomodate modern society. If the traditionalists want purity, then why not go back to timeless tests instead of five dayers? But please stop decrying T20, like it is a game requiring no cricket skills. T20 IS AN GOOD A FORMAT AS TEST CRICKET. It requires a different set of disciplines. Rarely are T20 matches drawn - you usually get to see a team win. So many test end up a draw, because teams just play boring, defensive cricket, since they don't want to lose. Most people would agree that most of the time sitting through a test match is boring, with ultra slow scoring, only to end up without a result half of the time.

  • daneel on August 23, 2013, 18:39 GMT

    Test cricket doesn't need T20.

    T20 isn't cricket. If you want 3 hr bat and ball games, go watch baseball - a fine game that naturally fits its length and isn't ludicrously contrived into an imbalanced hit and giggle pyjama fest. I hate ODIs but even those are better than T20.

    The day Test cricket ends (or implements something like the ludicrous ideas espoused by commenters here of fixed length innings) is the day I stop following cricket.

  • P.Malhotra on August 23, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    I would like to view this article from a different perspective. Harsha has gently stroked the surface of a much bigger topic of research and study, i.e. The global business of cricket or maybe something like cricket, economics and media. I would love to read some more articles on that! (The topic has already found its way into the B-schools abroad. I'm not sure of the Indian ones.)

  • eggyroe on August 23, 2013, 18:14 GMT

    Test match cricket needs Twenty Twenty Cricket like an additional hole in the head. Test Match Cricket is the ultimate goal for a cricketer.Therefore there is no requirement to allow a game which is played across the shires of England and the states of Australia,and which since 1877 has produced the best part of one thousand test players between them to want to change.It all boils down to,do you want Mickey Mouse type cricket played in pyjamas or do you want the real deal. I know what I want and Mickey Mouse is not in town.

  • itischandu on August 23, 2013, 17:44 GMT

    Dravid has always been a great ambassador of the game and he proves it again . This again is backed up my good realistic analysis by Harsha . Test cricket survival is dependent on how many people watch it rather than how many people play it . The BIG 4 can certainly elude crowds and Television deals alright but that is just a saving grace . This format of game can survive and flourish only if smaller countries (especially NZ , SL,WI) and Pakistan are competitive enough to play and win against the BIG 4 . This will happen only if more number of upcoming and budding cricketers play test cricket at domestic level in these countries .

    Also , the day and night test cricket needs to be taken seriously as this can increase the viewership by great deal . This in turn can generate additional profits for the BIG 4 which can be further utilized to bolster the infrastructure and development of the game in countries like SL,NZ,WI and Pakistan !! .

  • jokerbala on August 23, 2013, 17:00 GMT

    I don't understand how the Sri Lankan board can be bankrupt, they have vocal supporters much like India and Pakistan and they too are not a mutli-sporting country like Newzealand or Australia. Pakistan's case can be that they dont host matches any more ,but I cannot understand why srilanka cant make money out of their cricket.

  • alarky on August 23, 2013, 15:59 GMT

    True Harsha, Why are the ICC and the various authorities of the poor cricketing countries allowing these money Lords, who own the franchjsies and organise the cricket business, to come to our shores and repatriate all of the little money that we have like that? The little they pay the handful of players from these poor countries is just a drop in the bucket - they take the lion share and go home - forgetting that adequate infrastructure and administrative matters (like security) have to be taken care of, for their ventures to be profitable. I think the authorities in the poor countries need to be more vigilant in the negotiating process, so that these guys must commit themselves to more than coming to our shores as cricket franchise mercenaries and go back home with all the money! Here in the WI, there are lots of other ventures that they can partner with govements and attempt, to help to provide jobs for fans and exports to bring in foreign exchange. This way test cricket will survive

  • Sir_Ivor on August 23, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    Then again test cricket needs a few marketing adaptations that may ensure that boredom is kept at bay. Some suggestions are that all Tests should be only for 4 days.There should be just 90 overs per innings. Tjat will ensure that the pace of scoring and bowling changes have a flavour of the 50 over games even if not 20/20 ones. There should not be any restrictions like you have in the limited over games. Rather than having the FTPs of the ICC they should be made a two yearly Test championship played in one of the countries which Harsha believes Tests are popular. There has to be a proper discussion at the ICC level in an honest way. not with cynicism towards one or the other form of the game.I am sure with this kind of innovation, you can have a Test champion for 2 years while the limited over games occupy the gap between. There will be revenue and there will be the class of the traditional values of this beautiful game which i have been watching or hearing for 55 years of my life.

  • UNIVERSAL_CRICKETER on August 23, 2013, 14:17 GMT

    Harsha.. make each Innings of a Test match Limited to 115 Overs... OR.. each team can play only 230 Overs in a match & let them choose how many they play in their 1st or 2nd innings... result, entertainment, crowd & fans is guaranteed...

  • ranjitchakravarthy07 on August 23, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    I strongly feel that prominent and flourishing cricket boards need to undertake some measures to strengthen cricket in countries which are struggling to survive.If they fail to do so,the day when there might be two or three great cricketing champion teams with no competitors to play against may arrive.India with its resources should surely extend its helping arms to atleast two associate nations and one of the Asian test playing nation.We got big brothers in the game who instead of helping the ailing game ponder upon the technological intervention in the game.It seems that there will be a time when technology stands with the game but not enough teams to exploit it.And for T20 to flourish further,it would surely need test cricket since it is the test match that makes the fans anticipate for the T20s.If only T20s stand in the future,it would also get monotonic and people would crave for something different.

  • on August 23, 2013, 13:58 GMT

    Harsha is absolutely right. Test cricket is getting old, it needs the money that is generated from T20. On the field, players need Test experience to develop. So they both need each other, not one needing the other more.

  • Sir_Ivor on August 23, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    The tradition and charm of Test cricket cannot be evaluated on the basis of monetary returns threfrom. While 20/20 games have the allure of quick money and a consistent level of viewer ship, I am not sure if all the spectators actually come to see cricket. I have seen many IPL games where I have had a fair chance of watching spectator behaviour, apart from the game itself. I was quite convinced that many of the watchers did not know even the difference from one player to the other.Of course the garb worn by the players did not help either They were happy with the glamour on view. I watched from the boxes. So I must admit that things may have been different elsewhere.The point is that even if there is easy money and viewer ship in 20/20 games,a system needs to be evolved whereby a portion of the high revenue from such games is used to help out countries which are finding it difficult to sustain Test cricket. The essence of this game is Test cricket and so it should be without any doubt

  • on August 23, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    The problem with Harsha's hypothesis is that the have and have not worlds are not cut and dried different entities.The tradition of four Day cricket in the Have Not countries are very old and there were more than 20000 people paying anything between four and six annahs in 1930s to watch Pentangular matches in India.This tradition however whittled continues to give a stature to Ranji Trophy that IPL cannot give.When I was in school, a contemporary who went on to play Ranjii trophy himself was a celebrity because his brother played Ranji Trophy.Because of the weather, tradition and various other factors cricket played without overs limited will continue to have currency.That at the moment is more than even football at several locations.UP and Delhi played a house full match only last year near Delhi and Karnataka and Mumbai played a Ranji trophy in a packed Gangothri Glades only a few years ago.But Test Matches with only four teams and possibly the West Indies can be meaningfully played

  • TheWayCrciketShouldBePlayed on August 23, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    Cricket channel should be like a school for children,library for elders. Temple for all and anyway you will provide entertainment always. Cricket currently is noway different from WWE.Please start some programs where children can learn something by watching your channel. Interviews with older generation cricketer will acts as Knowledge Treasure that we get in a library. Have more discussion related programs where there is some discussion about something that is being showed instead just showing India winning.If there is a discussion there will lot of things to learn rather than just watching victory again and again. Over a period of time even those greatest victory highlights will become nothing. Dont spoil those moments by overkill.Also, the most stupid thing is to show non-cricket content in Cricket exclusive channel.Stop this. There are lot of things to say but I dont have time right now, see you all guys in some time. Happy watching cricket on TV 24 x 7

  • on August 23, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    Tennis - It seems there is no confusion between Singles Doubles Mixed Doubles [It only players choice to get trained and shine on what they think they deserved] Swimming - Back, front or butterfly strokes : No body cares about who wins the race[I mean its fully players choice to have interest.] But in Cricket it seems little confused to players a choice to get involved between Test and T20 [after completely forgetting the bridge ODIs.] - The Boards should manage in such a way players should be stream lined to get trained in their primary skills rather than get decided by Onlookers and Advertisers.

  • TheWayCrciketShouldBePlayed on August 23, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    Dear broadcasters please note that barring one or two out of 100, nobody from India is interested in some T20 league played in some other country. And if consider case of test matches, it still worse situation. But, If you want to join the boom of Indian Cable TV getting replaced with Satellite/Digital TV, you are welcome.Start as many channels as you want and show us the Repeated highlights 10,000 times. If you thing people will get glued to TV to watch this content, please think so. Also, please dont have separate channel to have just alternate language commentary. We all have set top boxes now and with the click of a button we can change language. Even Cartoon channels have implemented this already. So, instead of emphasing on some Mars Premier league and Test match between Uranus and Saturn, please do some changes to your Exclusive Cricket channels atleast.

    Continued..

  • TheWayCrciketShouldBePlayed on August 23, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    But now, so much has change with respect Cricket on TV.There are 10 channels with cricket broadcasted from all over the world.If these channels operate in a proper manner it would have nice, but none of them(expect 1 or 2) have required ethics to broadcast a sports/exclusive 24x7 Cricket channel with the sole aim being best in terms of earning Ad revenue as well as Cable/Wireless Fees.The fact that we common audience even big fans dont understand is why there would be interest in cricket played in other countries by other countries. Even if we are interested the matches played are becoming boring and boring due to pitches being substandard and difference between two teams playing is also a big gulf now a days. So, the thought of watching cricket anywhere in globe is not at all creating any interest in TV audience. We can say that TOO MUCH CRICkET is killing Golden Goose.Message to all broadcasters is nobody is remotely interested in watcng Sports/Channel 24x7.

    Continued..

  • TheWayCrciketShouldBePlayed on August 23, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    Hi all, hope you are all doing good. I have some strong opinions in this regard. I will try to explain in the best possible way with my passion/knowledge of cricket.

    Money can do strange things. It made/destroyed lot of things in the world and now the state of Cricket is proving that. Good money for some Series/Teams/Leagues and very little money for others. When Cricket game was not linked to TV rights and it was watched just at ground Or followed via Radio Or was followed using next day newspaper, it was one of the most BEAUTIFUL Sports in the World.Especially if you are imagining the way a player plays while following on Radio or see the detail in Next Day Newspaper it was an amazing feeling. But now TV has taken over as main Broadcaster of Cricket.During initial days of cricket on TV, situation was Ok. It was nice to watch especially the Color dress and White ball were great things for the EYE and a cricket fan.

    Continued...

  • Sathyasing on August 23, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    CRICKET, CRICKE,CRICK are 3 products made with unique composition and possess different characteristics. I foresee the product range is going to increase and its upto ICC on how its going to manage and sell it across for the existence of prime product.History says that the first and foremost product is gonna be eradicated not due to its failure but due to innovation driven by market.But vintage stuff has great value.Its inevitable and i can understand the feelings of Dravid.

  • Biso on August 23, 2013, 9:32 GMT

    @venkatesh18: We cannot overlook the reality that contemporary cricket is a professional sport. It cannot be sustained without evolving with the times and catering to the "Fan base" ( if you wish to avoid the nasty word," Market"). If T-20 has produced many pretenders and one trick ponies, test cricket has also had it's fair share of Chris Tavare's who have put entire stadiums to sleep, making batting look like treading on a minefield. A Viv Richards or Gary Sobers will never be found wanting, whatever be the format. The longer version will provide the grammar while the short format will showcase talent, flair and innovation. The sport needs both. But the brutal fact is that other than providing technical base for the players test cricket will provide nothing else. It's very sustenance will depend on the proceeds from the shorter formats. The sooner we realise this the better.

  • venkatesh018 on August 23, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    The only thing I agree with Harsha in this article is the penultimate paragraph. Harsha, I am certain about one thing. You have no intention of being a salesman for Test cricket, let alone be a Brand Ambassador(Ambassador too is an almost archaic word in the times of Land Rovers and Mercs).

  • on August 23, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    The attention from test cricket has shifted because South Asians boards believe that people like big shots and plethora of runs. This belief is incorrect in my view.

    Cricket is fundamentally a contest between bat and ball. South Asians boards have to ensure that pitch is made suitably to ensure a contest between bat and ball.

    What often we see is: A slow and dead pitch which is graveyard for fast bowlers. We have pitches like Mohali and Mumbai which assist fast bowlers and spinners.

    The 1st test match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh played between 8-12th March 2013(http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/602472.html) is extreme example of ensuring that a kid who followed this test match, may never ever follow another test match.

    As Dravid expressed apprehension about development of Test match players, I am equally apprehensive about developing test match spectators. IPL is not helping here as well in my view.

  • venkatesh018 on August 23, 2013, 6:13 GMT

    Markets(that in itself is an ugly world in this context) like Sri Lanka, West Indies etc. not too long ago were in relative good health because the bigger nations toured them regularly for series with at least 3 Test matches and people thronged to see those Tests and very good players kept emerging from those young cricketing nations. Those lands too loved "fine dining" along with fast food. Now because of the IPL, tours to West Indies (bang in the middle of the IPL) and tours to New Zealand(which come perilously close before the IPL where the "superstars" can get an injury and miss their biggest annual paydays) are affairs consisting mainly of ODI matches and one token Test. People in Sri Lanka, West Indies and other lesser nations have no choice but to watch their utterly "context less" local T20 leagues because no major nations make a meaningfully lengthy trip to their lands.

  • venkatesh018 on August 23, 2013, 5:49 GMT

    What Rahul has pleaded this week in London is not any romantic fable but a campaign needed for the game's future. Majority of Test nations are either broke or on their way there, because of the superpowers of World cricket especially India.These countries have became so self-centered in the last decade and play bilateral cricket mostly among themselves, showing absolutely no concern to the overall well being of the game. If you say that it is India's(or Australia/England's) right to fill its own coffers to the detriment of the world game, then I can't have a reasonable argument with you. In the absence of a central controlling authority for cricket(ICC definitely isn't) countries like Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Bangladesh, West Indies and Zimbabwe are the mercy of the prosperous nations. It would be foolish to expect revenue re-distribution from the very people who destroyed you financially.

  • Biso on August 23, 2013, 5:49 GMT

    Harsha has only reiterated the open secret," Test cricket cannot survive without patronage from T20 and ODI's" . He has , very politely, brought out that these fine gentlemen advocating the virtues of test cricket have not really done their homework well enough before speaking on a subject with blinkered vision. Test cricket will need royal patronage( which does not exist) to survive . If you want the cricketing fans to support test cricket with tangible action( their moolah to put it bluntly), sadly , you are living in a fools paradise. It is now up to the boards, to use their business sense( even though it may sound bad to many) and strike a balance between tests and the shorter formats. Development of the technical prowess of cricketers will definitely need the classical format, but, the format cannot support itself. This is much like the purist billiard players who extoll the virtues of the classical game, but, know well that on TV the colored ball games are more popular.

  • sray23 on August 23, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    It's not necessarily that Tests need to thrive in SL, NZ, WI, etc to survive. If the IPL was a 5-day tournament instead of T20, played in each Test-playing country instead of India only,it would be a fairly good result for cricket. But this cannot happen right now because there is no market for long-form cricket in India. We need to look at why that is. People do not watch Test matches at the ground because most state associations are useless with organising logistics for the fans convenience (convenient parking, easy entry/exit, free access to public transport, clean toilets, covered stands, food availability, etc). So fans prefer to go to T20 where they will have to put up with the physical torture for only 2 hrs instead of a whole day. If this basic factor is addressed properly then you will get more spectators for tests in India, it becomes a better & viable TV product and then you have the making of a big-money Test franchise league. The obstacle? No-one in India wants to work.

  • ReverseSweepRhino on August 23, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    The reduction in the amount and frequency of test matches is inevitable. T20 is the format making the money. ODIs are still holding their own, especially as winning the the World Cup is still every player's (and fan's) dream. But, tests (especially those not involving England, Asutralia, India and South Africa) do not draw enough attention from the fans to hold their own financially.

    It is very likely that men's teams will also transition their bilateral series into a format similar to the Women's Ashes. It might be a sad day for traditionalists, but evolution has a way of phasing out the old and bringing in the new.

    While Dravid is sincere in defending test cricket, the fans, players and administrators of tomorrow (and even today) are unlikely to hold the same values as his generation. How long traditional cricket survives depends on how different the attitude of the new breed is, compared to those of us who have followed the sport for decades.

  • Geeva on August 23, 2013, 5:06 GMT

    Test cricket will survive...some ppl forget that television revenue from the T20 and ODI's keeps test runnining..basically its a subsidy...The key what Dravid wanted was for there to be a balance...the Calender needs to ensure a four year cycle.u cant have players playing on frnachise cricket...also some stadiums in the poor countries a built far away from the city centre eg Antigua,Nagpur....i rem crowds used to come in the afternoon session at the Antugua rec ground

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on August 23, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    Those who are advocating for 'test' and wants t20 and ODI's to be reduced are conservatives, failing to accept the change of nature. All Bilateral ODI,t20 series are for best intrest of cricket and fans not for ex.greats. If they feel test cricket is soul (it has been here for 140 years) then why it failed to attract new fans in new nations? I feel ODI is the real cricket where every abilites are really tested. T20 is the best way to popularize cricket. Wake up ex.players and comm, feel reality. cricket will not survive with more tests.

  • johnathonjosephs on August 23, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    Test Cricket will never make as much money as T20. That is clear and obvious to anybody. Nobody wants to sit for 8.5 hours a day for 5 days a week. Even if they wanted to, they probably couldn't (for practical reasons). Even though I am a big Test Fan, I don't watch entire matches, but more of select viewings of 2-3 hours here and there. Why can't we accept the fact that T20 will generate the money, but Test Matches won't? Why do we need to get rid of Test Cricket? Like Dravid said, Test Cricket is the trunk of the tree while limited overs cricket are the branches. We must learn to not be blindsighted by the monetary gains and continue on as we always have. T20 cricket is great as introduction to new countries, and ODI/Tests are there for the players/hardcore fans themselves. Like Yuvraj Singh once said, "Nobody remembers what you do in limited overs cricket. They only remember you for what you do in Test Cricket" (or something along those lines)

  • IndianEagle on August 23, 2013, 4:42 GMT

    how could (dravid an hussian) they say, few are meaningless ODI bilateral series? Even it played in a crowded calendar year, If fans, sponsers and two boards are intrested then there is nothing like meaningless series. ODI cricket generating more money to boards. Most of the bilateral test series are meaningless, conducting without much public intrest and fans. Once Great viv richards said, now a days test series are watched by few fans along with more dogs.

  • DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on August 23, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    Taste of fans are very important for cricket to survive. I dont know how far ODI's are famous in other countries, but in subcontinent cricket can survive only through ODI and T20's. Dont forget, as Dravid earlier said fans nor players or administrators, are important. I have great respect for Dravid but I personally cannot accept everything whatever said by so called (already dead) test cricket's great players. phrases like 'test cricket' is soul, pure, real and test cricketters are real players overphrased and these phrases are used by players who failed or incapable to dominate and adapt in ODI's. Hussain, cook and dravid are few examples and they never dominated in ODI's as batsman.

  • m23khan on August 23, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    cricket cannot be compared with soccer. While soccer is played worldwide AND is followed worldwide, cricket only qualifies as top sport in 4 countries (Pak, Ind, Sri, Ban). majority of locals in UK and other top cricketing nations don't even follow cricket. So if cricket is primarily a South Asian sport, lets stop kidding ourselves first of all and start facing the reality. Reality is within South Asia, India clearly dominates cricket and they have problems with Pakistan at political level. Therefore, all this talk is useless just covering the fact that cricket is on track to becoming an Indian sport only. This is notIndia's fault, it's just cricket's fate I suppose.

  • on August 23, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    While I am a big fan of Test Cricket, but it seems that the folks most interested in Test Cricket are the players. They just seem to love the format. Not so with audience (not counting the Ashes)

    It's like somebody has an expensive hobby and he demands that others pay for it.

    Every profligacy ends up in ruin. Dravid needs to think through his business hat before putting Test Cricket over other profitable formats.

    I think Test Cricket can only survive if people who pay to watch the game like the format. If they want to watch more T20s then that is what the game should serve. If Test Cricket is a superior choice for audience, they will graduate from watching T20 to Tests. In any case we should let the market make the choices.

    Players are always free to play Test matches in their backyard if the format doesn't survive the test of markets.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 23, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    So now test cricket needs brand ambassadors huh ? Well good, it should. A format without any innovation, 'out of the box' thinking etc., will need much more than a few individuals sitting together in the back rooms of cricket stadiums and just talking about it. In spite of the hefty boredom that accompanies test cricket, I still respect its history because everything in human civilization has been built upon history, and tradition. Having said that, humans have moved on with the times and test cricket is stuck in the past. A majority of people don't have the time, patience or money to sit and watch 5 straight days of test cricket. Time is too precious and valuable to the common folk, compared to cricketers who get paid in multiple figures. If test cricket is to be made viable, then first of all, reduce the number of days the format is played from 5 to 3 days. Make it a day-night contest, and pay test players high salaries. Lastly, try marketing it like the IPL or CLT20.

  • WAKE_UP_CALL on August 23, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    " And while the market makes the right noises about Test cricket, it does so like people who support social causes; it rarely extends beyond words and into actual support". Right on the money Harsha .This is a tight slap on the faces who were living in the fantasy world and avoid the truth by blabbering anything to appear good.

  • WAKE_UP_CALL on August 23, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    I Hope this article will clear the smoke from recent GOODY GOODY talks future of test cricket.Cricket summit threw theory of how one can save test cricket but no one actually did their homework.still living in fantacy world.Harsha is right that only top 4 will keep test alive and rest will have to struggle to breath if they dont play t20 cricket.Some commenters are just so away from the real world that they dont see that the lack of crowds in test matches except the big 4 .what ICC is doing can be seen and its a real shame that hiding their own impotent thinking they keep on lambasting BCCI.As nasser recently said 'where we will be without indian cricket".People who say t20 is not cricket and test is the only real form of cricket then go and explain this to usa and china and good luck with that.in a recent test match of england bowling with 11 overs an hour shows how fans are been treated

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  • WAKE_UP_CALL on August 23, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    I Hope this article will clear the smoke from recent GOODY GOODY talks future of test cricket.Cricket summit threw theory of how one can save test cricket but no one actually did their homework.still living in fantacy world.Harsha is right that only top 4 will keep test alive and rest will have to struggle to breath if they dont play t20 cricket.Some commenters are just so away from the real world that they dont see that the lack of crowds in test matches except the big 4 .what ICC is doing can be seen and its a real shame that hiding their own impotent thinking they keep on lambasting BCCI.As nasser recently said 'where we will be without indian cricket".People who say t20 is not cricket and test is the only real form of cricket then go and explain this to usa and china and good luck with that.in a recent test match of england bowling with 11 overs an hour shows how fans are been treated

  • WAKE_UP_CALL on August 23, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    " And while the market makes the right noises about Test cricket, it does so like people who support social causes; it rarely extends beyond words and into actual support". Right on the money Harsha .This is a tight slap on the faces who were living in the fantasy world and avoid the truth by blabbering anything to appear good.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 23, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    So now test cricket needs brand ambassadors huh ? Well good, it should. A format without any innovation, 'out of the box' thinking etc., will need much more than a few individuals sitting together in the back rooms of cricket stadiums and just talking about it. In spite of the hefty boredom that accompanies test cricket, I still respect its history because everything in human civilization has been built upon history, and tradition. Having said that, humans have moved on with the times and test cricket is stuck in the past. A majority of people don't have the time, patience or money to sit and watch 5 straight days of test cricket. Time is too precious and valuable to the common folk, compared to cricketers who get paid in multiple figures. If test cricket is to be made viable, then first of all, reduce the number of days the format is played from 5 to 3 days. Make it a day-night contest, and pay test players high salaries. Lastly, try marketing it like the IPL or CLT20.

  • on August 23, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    While I am a big fan of Test Cricket, but it seems that the folks most interested in Test Cricket are the players. They just seem to love the format. Not so with audience (not counting the Ashes)

    It's like somebody has an expensive hobby and he demands that others pay for it.

    Every profligacy ends up in ruin. Dravid needs to think through his business hat before putting Test Cricket over other profitable formats.

    I think Test Cricket can only survive if people who pay to watch the game like the format. If they want to watch more T20s then that is what the game should serve. If Test Cricket is a superior choice for audience, they will graduate from watching T20 to Tests. In any case we should let the market make the choices.

    Players are always free to play Test matches in their backyard if the format doesn't survive the test of markets.

  • m23khan on August 23, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    cricket cannot be compared with soccer. While soccer is played worldwide AND is followed worldwide, cricket only qualifies as top sport in 4 countries (Pak, Ind, Sri, Ban). majority of locals in UK and other top cricketing nations don't even follow cricket. So if cricket is primarily a South Asian sport, lets stop kidding ourselves first of all and start facing the reality. Reality is within South Asia, India clearly dominates cricket and they have problems with Pakistan at political level. Therefore, all this talk is useless just covering the fact that cricket is on track to becoming an Indian sport only. This is notIndia's fault, it's just cricket's fate I suppose.

  • DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on August 23, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    Taste of fans are very important for cricket to survive. I dont know how far ODI's are famous in other countries, but in subcontinent cricket can survive only through ODI and T20's. Dont forget, as Dravid earlier said fans nor players or administrators, are important. I have great respect for Dravid but I personally cannot accept everything whatever said by so called (already dead) test cricket's great players. phrases like 'test cricket' is soul, pure, real and test cricketters are real players overphrased and these phrases are used by players who failed or incapable to dominate and adapt in ODI's. Hussain, cook and dravid are few examples and they never dominated in ODI's as batsman.

  • IndianEagle on August 23, 2013, 4:42 GMT

    how could (dravid an hussian) they say, few are meaningless ODI bilateral series? Even it played in a crowded calendar year, If fans, sponsers and two boards are intrested then there is nothing like meaningless series. ODI cricket generating more money to boards. Most of the bilateral test series are meaningless, conducting without much public intrest and fans. Once Great viv richards said, now a days test series are watched by few fans along with more dogs.

  • johnathonjosephs on August 23, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    Test Cricket will never make as much money as T20. That is clear and obvious to anybody. Nobody wants to sit for 8.5 hours a day for 5 days a week. Even if they wanted to, they probably couldn't (for practical reasons). Even though I am a big Test Fan, I don't watch entire matches, but more of select viewings of 2-3 hours here and there. Why can't we accept the fact that T20 will generate the money, but Test Matches won't? Why do we need to get rid of Test Cricket? Like Dravid said, Test Cricket is the trunk of the tree while limited overs cricket are the branches. We must learn to not be blindsighted by the monetary gains and continue on as we always have. T20 cricket is great as introduction to new countries, and ODI/Tests are there for the players/hardcore fans themselves. Like Yuvraj Singh once said, "Nobody remembers what you do in limited overs cricket. They only remember you for what you do in Test Cricket" (or something along those lines)

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on August 23, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    Those who are advocating for 'test' and wants t20 and ODI's to be reduced are conservatives, failing to accept the change of nature. All Bilateral ODI,t20 series are for best intrest of cricket and fans not for ex.greats. If they feel test cricket is soul (it has been here for 140 years) then why it failed to attract new fans in new nations? I feel ODI is the real cricket where every abilites are really tested. T20 is the best way to popularize cricket. Wake up ex.players and comm, feel reality. cricket will not survive with more tests.

  • Geeva on August 23, 2013, 5:06 GMT

    Test cricket will survive...some ppl forget that television revenue from the T20 and ODI's keeps test runnining..basically its a subsidy...The key what Dravid wanted was for there to be a balance...the Calender needs to ensure a four year cycle.u cant have players playing on frnachise cricket...also some stadiums in the poor countries a built far away from the city centre eg Antigua,Nagpur....i rem crowds used to come in the afternoon session at the Antugua rec ground