Don't muck around with Test cricket

Updated: Jan 03, 2020, 07:29 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

Visibility of the ball is an issue and to be fair to the players, they haven't made a huge fuss about it. Of course, that could be out of fear, since a negative view could be viewed as being non-progressive

In an effort to popularise Test cricket among the masses, the game's traditional format is actually in danger of losing its charm — at least among the practitioners of the longer version.

Pink ball Tests have been lapped up by the paying public and is deemed a fine innovation, but it will be a while before the players are completely satisfied and comfortable to play more than a solitary day-night Test in a series. But Australia seem to be so enamoured by the pink ball and lights that they expected India (who had no experience of a pink ball Test cricket) to play the opening Test of last season's Border-Gavaskar Trophy. It was justifiably turned down.

Visibility of the ball is an issue and to be fair to the players, they haven't made a huge fuss about it. Of course, that could be out of fear, since a negative view could be viewed as being non-progressive.

How much player feedback the International Cricket Council or the respective Boards are inviting is anyone's guess, but players/coaches must have a voice especially in Test cricket, which in many ways, ought to be sacrosanct.

Earlier this week, Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts backed four-day Tests. A lot of Test matches ended inside four days or less, the administrators reasoned. Is that more important to them than the fascinating battles which take place on a Day Five pitch? It's one thing to make Test cricket interesting and quite another to reduce it to a longer version of one-day cricket.

Rather than being alarmed by the number or days five-day Tests use up, the custodians of the game should wake up to the fact that the amount of two-Test series held across the globe is farcical and don't give contests a good name.

Sure, Test cricket's image as a spectator sport should be enhanced, but to take away its fibre is just not cricket.

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