No more a real game!
Remember the year 2001, when Dravid & Laxman played a 376-race winning partnership or Brian Lara’s 153 against the likes of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne? For someone who has been a fan of cricket during these years when there was no such format called T20, cricket was something pure.
Since the appearance of the 50 over format in the 1980s, Test Cricket was still considered the real game until a new era of fast-paced format emerged that simply erased the beauty of the game. When we talk about the legends of the game, we often hear about Viv Richards, Sachin Tendulkar, Wasim Akram, Steve Waugh, Brian Lara, Shane Warne, etc. All of these players were a huge draw in the 5-day format. How many times have you heard the experts talk about Michael Bevan or Sunil Narine who have been wonderful in the short formats but not the longest?
I started being a fan in 2010 when the T20 format made its mark on the market. I was fascinated with this form of sport that is so fast and entertaining. You get to see the hard shots, the doosras, the scoop shots more often than before. But that same year, I decided to watch a test match on television. I started watching it on day 1 and guess what happened next. I was glued to the seat until the 5-day game ended. It was a total addiction. One may think, what was special about it? Well, generating an entrance, the spirit of the game, the temperamental test, the technique and the skill, the possibility of returning to the game in each session … These are the few things that made me enjoy this format to the core. The IPL is done every year, and as the years go by, my interest in the quick format begins to wane.
Heroes are made in a single day the next day the same player goes out on a duck. Every year we see the same thing happening … bats hit anywhere, bowlers who are considered excellent in the longer format are getting hit by ordinary batsmen who simply hit their bat anywhere on a flat pitch where there is no relevance. bowling line and length. On the other hand, I’m looking at James Anderson, who is getting grounds with his reverse swing in the longer format. Now this is something much better than the above. There’s a way of saying … it’s temporary but the class is permanent. So where is the class in the 3 hour format? Sorry to say, but I don’t see a class in MS Dhoni’s sixes or Virat Kohli’s hitting …
Now, looking at it from a business point of view, T20 gives the boards everything they want for their benefit: less time, more audience, players with less fatigue, that the matches are held one after another to generate more and more money. For a novice cricket watcher it’s 3 hour entertainment like a movie, but for a true cricket fan who has witnessed the likes of McGrath, Warne, Steve Waugh, Dravid, Ponting through the ages, it’s just a plastic. There need to be some ways that the traditional way can be saved in the future. I see that some nations like India, Australia and England maintain this form of cricket while other nations manage with the shorter format to survive in the long run. We have heard of the dominant era of the West Indies in the 70s and 80s. Now this team is ranked 8th in Test cricket and 9th on One days. This is solely due to lack of participation. At present, there are three nations dominating the cricket world with India at the top. Thanks to the iconic ash trails that is helping this form survive for the long haul.
An MCC poll revealed that only 7% of cricket watchers in India prefer test cricket as an ideal form. This figure is in itself alarming to know. I love watching test cricket, especially in England where the ball wobbles in the air on every pitch. The last time India beat England in their local conditions was in 2007. That team was made up of great coaches like Dravid, Laxman, Kumble, Ganguly, Tendulkar … It was the same year the IPL tournament started and these players gradually faded away. Scene of a day. I’d say England is a place where real hitting is tested in the 5-day game. Even Virat Kohli, who has scored runs everywhere, struggled against players like Anderson & Broad in his conditions. This is where your actual technique is tested. The recent collapse of South Africa at the Nagpur field showed how the level of test cricket has dropped and the match ended in just 3 days. Some of the legends also shared their concerns after this match.
Now cricket bodies have to make a fixed plan to reserve a few months in a year just for test cricket to serve the audience at frequent intervals in order to generate more interest in it. Otherwise, you face a really dark future ahead.