- As the true connoisseurs of cricket would testify, the classical format of Test match cricket is the ultimate form that cannot be compared with the shorter versions. Yes, the T-20 cricket is fast gaining traction, popularity, following, and also raking in humongous money. No wonder, several cricket boards have started their own T20 leagues which are yielding tremendous results vis-à-vis money pouring into their coffers. So much so that many internationally acclaimed cricketers are letting go of an opportunity to represent their countries in the 50-over and Test matches by signing up for the mushrooming T20 leagues around the world. You cannot fault the cricketers here simply because the boards have prioritized their options towards the shortest version.
- Of course, countries like India, Australia, and England continue to accord due priority to the traditional format of the game. Most importantly, cricket fans flock to the stadiums in large numbers whenever Test matches are played. But the same cannot be mentioned about other cricketing countries like Pakistan, South Africa, Bangladesh, West Indies, and Sri Lanka. As you know, South Africa has selected a second-string team for the ensuing Test series against New Zealand amply demonstrating where their priorities lie. The reason quoted by Cricket South Africa was to honor the commitment made to the T20 league franchises to make available top home cricketers. Indeed, the priorities of the cricket boards have changed. You can see it here.
- The moot point to ponder over here is while prioritizing the shortest format of the game because it rakes in a huge amount of revenue, is the Test match cricket getting short-shifted as the present generation prefers slam-bang variety rather than the long drawn-out classical format? Now, any true cricketer worth his salt would firmly affirm that the ultimate form of cricket is none other than the Test matches. What a cricketer showcases on the field during the Test matches alone matters in the end since the yardstick to assess the true worth squarely rests in the classical format. The number of runs scored, centuries struck, wickets snared, series won, and the legacy left behind in Test cricket alone counts to define any cricketer’s worthy exploits.
- Agreed, T20 leagues generate the moolah required for the boards to run the show but pushing Tests to the backburner would be counterproductive. You know how pulsating it is to witness a classic battle between the bat and the ball when each is trying to go one up on the other. Those thrilling encounters can be fleeting and sporadic in the shortest version. Maybe a 50-over contest provides glimpses of the battle, but nothing can ever replace the Test match battles that are so fascinating to witness. Will the cricket boards pay enough attention to not let the Test cricket wither away from the onslaught of T20 leagues? Since less patronage is seen during the Test matches, T20 leagues will gain even more traction in the coming days. Test cricket will meander along. That’s all.