Sangakkara's 100th Test September 15, 2011

Two-Test series unsatisfactory - Sangakkara

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On the eve of his 100th Test, Kumar Sangakkara has called on the ICC to do away with two-Test series, describing such scheduling as "unsatisfying". The third Test against Australia at Colombo will offer Sangakkara and his team the chance to pull back a 1-0 deficit, but they have not always been so fortunate.

As a stylish batsman, successful captain and articulate statesman for Sri Lankan cricket, Sangakkara said he had taken part in too many series where the narrative felt unduly clipped due to the lack of a third Test.

One of his imponderables is the 2007 series in Australia, where the under-prepared visitors lost in Brisbane but then, through Sangakkara's own majestic 192 in the second Test, pushed the hosts far further. The prospect of a third match might have made a significant change to the script.

"It is unsatisfactory to play so many two-Test series," Sangakkara told ESPNcricinfo. "As a country, to be measured up as a Test country, you need to keep playing three to five Test match series as much as you can.

"I don't think five Test series are attractive anymore to TV networks, but I think Test series should be a minimum of three matches. I hope the ICC can stipulate that, I don't know if they can."

Among forthcoming series, Australia's visit to South Africa has been cut to two Tests to accommodate the Twenty20 Champions League, a move that has already been heavily criticised for marginalising Test cricket.

"Test cricket is still, to my mind, the most important form of the game out there," Sangakkara said. "There's nothing like it, there's nothing that comes close to it. This is the only arena where you can really make your mark as a cricketer. If you are successful at Test cricket, that is all that matters I think."

Sri Lanka's success since Sangakkara's debut in 2000 has been charted largely under overseas coaches, including Tom Moody and Trevor Bayliss. However Sangakkara is fervent in his desire for a home-grown mentor to take the role full-time, and cited the former opening batsman Chandika Hathurusingha as an ideal candidate.

"I think we have a great opportunity to have a completely Sri Lankan coaching unit. That will be amazing if we can do it," Sangakkara said. "And we've had candidates the calibre of Chandika Hathurusingha, who is now the assistant coach for New South Wales. He has been a great loss to us.

"He made an amazing contribution to our cricket, and he is an extremely capable coach. Rumesh Ratnayake has also been exemplary, unfortunately he has come at a time when we've had quite a bad series, but these two people have shown we have the quality in Sri Lanka to have a completely local coaching unit which we can be proud of, and second to none in the world.

"At the same time if the administration and the captain also think a foreign coach is the way to go, that is also no problem, because there are many excellent coaches around the world … There is Graham Ford, Geoff Marsh and a lot of other coaches in the running for this job, they're fantastic people, they've got great records and have proven themselves all over the world.

"Any one of them would be a great addition to our cricket, but on a personal level, and it's not a sentimental thing, I think we have the quality in Sri Lanka as well, unfortunately not in Sri Lanka now. One of them is outside coaching NSW, but we have the Sri Lankans capable of also being national coaches and doing a great job."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on September 20, 2011, 16:21 GMT

    day night test cricket is needed .and we indians are not running after t20 cricket we are playing max test and least t20 as internationals

  • 3rd_man on September 18, 2011, 8:44 GMT

    I agree, more matches play in a series more chance of a result. too many test matches being end as drawn games these days. in the case of coach for srilanka, I think Haturusinghe is the best we had. Unfortunatly we lost him for some reason. Rumesh and Champaka did nice job with our pace bowlers. I would like to see taking Vaas in to the coaching staff somehow. he got lot to offer for srilankan young pace bowlers.

  • VivGilchrist on September 18, 2011, 2:54 GMT

    @Herbert, enjoyed your comments so true.

  • Rafelgibt on September 17, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    Yes im agree with Sangaa that bigger teams must play at least 3 test matches with eachother. But smaller teams like NZ,WI, BAN, ZIM should play 2 test matches in a series against the bigger teams.

  • on September 17, 2011, 4:55 GMT

    Any sport draws upon how it is built and the rules need to change according to the time. Cricket needs to come prallel to other team sports that complete within three to four hrs. Crowd want excitement, not crcket history. 20/20 model provides that where almost all action can be seen within a short period. To the other: league cricket at national team level can be istaged in different countries and could be more exciting than a money bazaar staged under a single roof. My gut feeling is, this issue is sooner going to be raised, and perhaps from the same place it started.

  • on September 17, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    Ya thats true sanga,should play more test matches!

  • MacFry on September 16, 2011, 21:39 GMT

    2 test series is alright if we can have more of them. India just played a 4 test series in England. It'll be 4 or 5 years before they come back to play another series. It'd be better if they played 2 test matches every couple of years. That way the teams will meet every year either at home or away. It'll be great for fans as well many of who have shorter attention spans.

  • anver777 on September 16, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    I totally agree with Sanga,.. 3match is better than 2 since there is always a comeback for either team & more entertaining....... mostly i have noticed SL is treated with only 2 match series specially against top ranked teams.

  • VEXXZ on September 16, 2011, 11:44 GMT

    It is a GIVEN FACT that the shorter version of the game is killing the TEST cricket which is THE REAL CRICKET . You can clearly see the ICC going to the FAST FOOD style 20/20 , and 50 over games to keep up with the USA style of playing a game . Test Cricket is a game for the FITTEST , someone who can THINK for HOURS and SURVIVE .

  • Sohailh on September 16, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    Test Series should 3-match test series or 5-match test series. 2-Match test series is of no use... Senseless ICC...

  • on September 20, 2011, 16:21 GMT

    day night test cricket is needed .and we indians are not running after t20 cricket we are playing max test and least t20 as internationals

  • 3rd_man on September 18, 2011, 8:44 GMT

    I agree, more matches play in a series more chance of a result. too many test matches being end as drawn games these days. in the case of coach for srilanka, I think Haturusinghe is the best we had. Unfortunatly we lost him for some reason. Rumesh and Champaka did nice job with our pace bowlers. I would like to see taking Vaas in to the coaching staff somehow. he got lot to offer for srilankan young pace bowlers.

  • VivGilchrist on September 18, 2011, 2:54 GMT

    @Herbert, enjoyed your comments so true.

  • Rafelgibt on September 17, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    Yes im agree with Sangaa that bigger teams must play at least 3 test matches with eachother. But smaller teams like NZ,WI, BAN, ZIM should play 2 test matches in a series against the bigger teams.

  • on September 17, 2011, 4:55 GMT

    Any sport draws upon how it is built and the rules need to change according to the time. Cricket needs to come prallel to other team sports that complete within three to four hrs. Crowd want excitement, not crcket history. 20/20 model provides that where almost all action can be seen within a short period. To the other: league cricket at national team level can be istaged in different countries and could be more exciting than a money bazaar staged under a single roof. My gut feeling is, this issue is sooner going to be raised, and perhaps from the same place it started.

  • on September 17, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    Ya thats true sanga,should play more test matches!

  • MacFry on September 16, 2011, 21:39 GMT

    2 test series is alright if we can have more of them. India just played a 4 test series in England. It'll be 4 or 5 years before they come back to play another series. It'd be better if they played 2 test matches every couple of years. That way the teams will meet every year either at home or away. It'll be great for fans as well many of who have shorter attention spans.

  • anver777 on September 16, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    I totally agree with Sanga,.. 3match is better than 2 since there is always a comeback for either team & more entertaining....... mostly i have noticed SL is treated with only 2 match series specially against top ranked teams.

  • VEXXZ on September 16, 2011, 11:44 GMT

    It is a GIVEN FACT that the shorter version of the game is killing the TEST cricket which is THE REAL CRICKET . You can clearly see the ICC going to the FAST FOOD style 20/20 , and 50 over games to keep up with the USA style of playing a game . Test Cricket is a game for the FITTEST , someone who can THINK for HOURS and SURVIVE .

  • Sohailh on September 16, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    Test Series should 3-match test series or 5-match test series. 2-Match test series is of no use... Senseless ICC...

  • Herbet on September 16, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    As an example of what cricket is doing to itself, let me use Football as a comparison. Lets say somebody decided 90 minutes was too long and that 0-0 score lines were too common and too dull. So they decided to cut games down to 20 minutes, 10 minutes each way, make the nets 20% bigger and introduce a rule stating that for the first 5 minutes of each half you are only allowed to play 2 defenders behind a line 40 yards from the goal. Suddenly, possession play, patience, intricate passing, skill and flair become nothing in the mad rush to have a shot from anywhere to try and slam in as many goals as possible in the 20 minutes. Small skilful players, the Xavi's, Pirlo's, Robinho's and Messi soon become regarded as 'longer form specialists' and 'old fashioned' as they are sidelined in favour of powerful athletes who have thunderbolt shots and can sprint non stop for 20 minutes. Obviously this would never catch on because it would be a crude distillation of what football is. This is T20.

  • Herbet on September 16, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    Its amazing how many people are unhappy with how cricket is being run; players, former players, fans, and yet, those in charge, the ICC and BCCI, ECB etc don't seem to care or want to do anything about it. Cutting a test series between Australia and South Africa to 2 tests to accommodate a Twenty20 competition is like cutting short the Football World cup in order to hold a couple of 5 a side demonstration games in India. Genuine actual cricket fans recognise that test cricket is cricket, limited overs has its place as an entertaining side show but it is not the main event. If this is what Indians, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, and TV company's, are after then can somebody point them in the direction of Baseball and leave cricket fans alone to enjoy our sport.

  • johnathonjosephs on September 16, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    Test always have and always will be the most important form of cricket. It has lasted for over 120 years. How long has ODI and T20 lasted? ODI's have lasted some 30 years, T20's barely 6... Last year, people were talking about how the ODI game might die or get changed and if something like that happens, all 30 years of cricket, WC champions, and so forth are lost and nobody would care. Test cricket will always survive, since it is the purest form of the game. Who remembers players that did well in the One Day arena? Nobody thinks of Joel Garner when they think of West Indies cricket... they think of malcolm marshall and michael holding

  • on September 16, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    Yes I am too agree with Sanga....the real cricket is test cricket.Every series must have five tests...T20 is the game of luck....for playing T20 you dnt any technique if its your day you will make runs quickly otherwise if you score runs less than balls still your looser...

  • on September 16, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    Lorgat and the other ICC guys were contemplating pressuring the TV operators to pay for the DRS, but they cannot pressure them to cover a 5 match series? Would any of the last 4 Ashes would have been as epic if they were 3-match series? Perhaps a case could be made for the Ashes 2006, but even so, a 5-0 whitewash is more appealing than a 3-0. All major Test series should have 5 matches, why should that privilege be granted to the Ashes only? Get rid of some of the meaningless tri-series and ODI series to make space for them.

  • Cricket_Froth on September 16, 2011, 2:19 GMT

    I agree with Kumar Sangakarra - more Test cricket and more 3-5 Test series please. I much prefer Test cricket over other forms of the game. All these one day series and 20/20 competitions blur into one and are very boring now. We don't even bother watching them anymore. For example, recently in Australia we had a channel, which had a viewers choice option between Sri Lanka v Australia One Day match or England v India Test match. Despite being avid Australian fans we chose to watch the Test, because it's much better cricket. We simply need to do a better job of explaining and promoting the strategic, tactical and psychological warfare aspects of Test cricket. If we did that we'd win more fans and grow its popularity.

  • on September 16, 2011, 2:09 GMT

    I agree with Sangakarra. All test series should be at least 3 matches. However I feel to boost the development of other nations, a first-class fixture of 4 or 5 days against an associate nation should be a compulsory warm up game. Rather than playing the "A" team, a domestic side or "board XI" these series could really bring attention to associates with any tour of England beginning with a match against the likes of Ireland or Scotland, subcontinent games bringing nations like Afghanistan in to promote the advancement of these games as they can get constant experience around test playing nation teams.

  • landl47 on September 16, 2011, 1:07 GMT

    Sanga is right, but whether cricket administrators will listen is another matter. India hasn't played a 5-match test series since the 1980s and these days the only 5-match series is the Ashes. There is the demand in both Australia and England for that, but I'm not sure whether the same is true anywhere else. Although players like Dravid and Sanga would love more tests, there are a lot of players, especially among those who are just coming up in the subcontinent, who are focussed on one-day and T20 cricket and have neither the technique nor the temperament for the first-class game. Raina is an example that springs instantly to mind. I hope the powers that be will realize that without the test game, the rest will die. T20 is a fad and ODIs are just poor man's tests. They are great for filling in the gaps, but if they are the only cricket available, interest will wither and die. Everyone remembers great test players- those who are only short format players are soon forgotten.

  • smudgeon on September 16, 2011, 0:51 GMT

    I don't see much use in two-test series. I'd prefer to see a minimum of three tests, ideally five (but I understand scheduling & the inevitable rise of short-form cricket makes this unlikely to occur often). On a side note, Sanga really is one of the smartest & well-spoken cricketers around. Very rarely feel the need to disagree with what he says. Oh, and he does well with the bat, too :)

  • bobagorof on September 16, 2011, 0:50 GMT

    @DRamenaden: I disagree about one-off matches. Too easily affected by the weather. Besides, I've been hanging out for each Test of the current SL-Aus series to start - to have only a single Test to look forward to would be very unsatisfying. The only time I can see one-off matches being viable is the example of Zimbabwe's return to Test cricket, to ease them back into things but now that they've had a couple it should be full 3-match series all the way. Iconic tours like Ashes should remain longer as there is tradition behind them and it also adds a small amount of variation to the calendar.

  • bobagorof on September 16, 2011, 0:41 GMT

    In addition to the folly of 2-Test series, many countries no longer play sufficient warm-up matches to acclimatise to conditions before the first match. I recall in the late 90's that Pakistan was touring Australia (incidentally this was a 3-match series) and they played one warm up match. They were beaten heavily in the opening Test, but as the series progressed they got better and better - unfortunately it was too late and they ended up losing the series. Wasim Akram stated that they needed more time to settle in. Alas, a packed international calendar, now competing with domestic tournaments, means that we have gone in the opposite direction and cut series down to 2 matches. If a team loses a match, the best they can hope for is to draw the series... whereas there have been many fine series where a team is beaten but manages to claw their way back to win the remaining 2 matches and take the series. So much excitement and tension lost for the spectator because of scheduling. :(

  • mcs_095 on September 16, 2011, 0:27 GMT

    One test series DRamenaden really? What a load of bollocks - why don't we just abandon test cricket completely if that is the best option!

    All series should be either 3 or 5 test matches. It is ridiculous that the Oz SA series is 2 tests due to the skill-less form of the game taking over.

    Cricket is killing itself with the vomit of a form of cricket that is T20. Hit and giggle cricket will kill the gracefulness and wonderful form of cricket that is test cricket. And when it does, many a fan like myself will be lost to the game forever.

    T20 has its place, but it should not be the centre of attention like it is now.

  • RohanMarkJay on September 16, 2011, 0:19 GMT

    He is right. Test Cricket is the best form of the game. Unfortunately, Test cricket is not very much appreciated in the subcontinent. I am talking India and Sri Lanka whose cricket public much more prefer the shortened versions of cricket 50 over and 20 over over Test Cricket. Only in England and to a slightly lesser extent in Australia is Test cricket truly appreciated and which brings in the crowds. Even in the 1990s in England when the England Team was losing more than winning matches. Test Cricket was well supported by British Public.Especially the 1993 and 1997 Ashes test series in England was well supported all five test matches. The same cannot be said for the rest of the cricket world especially the subcontinent, where test cricket in the last 10 years in particular has been poor. So you can't in a way blame the ICC for giving less test matches for India and Sri Lanka if the crowds in those countries don't turn up to watch test cricket. E.g. look at the last test in pallekelle.

  • on September 16, 2011, 0:18 GMT

    All touring sides should play a Test series of 3 matches, with possible exception of Ashes which could be 5 every 3 years.

    Option for 5 ODI's to be played BEFORE the test matches. Option for 3 T20's to be played BEFORE any ODIs.

    There should be no ODI only tours and no 3 cornered ODI series.

  • DCDC on September 16, 2011, 0:07 GMT

    Sangakkara - About coaching, We do NOT agree. If local coaching expertise is brilliant, our club cricket should show that and our local game should be in different level. Reality is it isn't. Aussies play cricket in a different level, with research and application on innovation. If you say we are better than that. Sorry , we disagree. Modern day coach is a performance expert who brings players to their peak with strategy and innovation. If you know anyone in SL tell me more. As a SL player , players may like a SL coach because they will be in side their comfort zone.

    My urge to SL cricket administrators, please find a tough, strategist, innovator who does not party with the boys but who focus on results.

  • on September 15, 2011, 23:42 GMT

    I've always thought test series should be standardised at 3 or 5 matches, also i don't think there is a need for two different short formats in international cricket. I'd also like to see a 2-tiered test match system, with tests being played between the teams placed 1-8, and between the teams placed 9-16, with the 9-16 teams being given regular opportunities to play 3 or 4 day first-class games against the 1-8 teams. Or, alternatively, retaining the current 10-team setup, but allowing the 11-16 placed teams the opportunity to play relatively regular 3-4 day first-class matches against the test teams.

  • brittop on September 15, 2011, 21:04 GMT

    Of course there should be a minimum of three tests in any series. In an ideal world, all test series should be over 5 games, as this is the true test.

  • zico123 on September 15, 2011, 20:01 GMT

    its a shame that presence of Champions League T20 has cut down Aus vs SA test series to 2 games! get rid of IPL and CL, too much of T20 is going on TV these days! its cricket overkill !

  • TheDoctor394 on September 15, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    I could not agree more. Well said, Kumar.

  • dulabhai on September 15, 2011, 19:04 GMT

    At least you guys get 2