Cricket News – ICC World Test Championship

Test Championship postponement a further blow to traditionalists

Sports News

So, test cricket – does it still has a future or has the ICC finally given up the ghost on the five-day format? Of course, it depends on where you are as regards this age-old question. Despite it’s significant heritage, it appears that the West Indies doesn’t hold the longer version of the game in any great reverence any more. Many of their more talented senior players are quite happy to swap the risk of sanctions to pursue the mighty dollar in the IPL rather than turn out for their country. On the evidence of last summer, that same competition has turned India from the world’s number one test-playing nation into chumps. The players of New Zealand and Pakistan, too, largely seem to have forgotten how to bat for more than 40 minutes which leaves mainly England and Australia to carry the five-day flag, though how much of their competitiveness is fuelled by mutual dislike is a matter of debate.

Now I’d have thought it was common sense to promote test cricket, even if only for the potentially profit. Four or even three days of sell-outs will surely make more than a couple of one-day or T20 games in the same time period. But maybe the ICC have decided it’s no longer worth the effort. It’s clear now that batsmen are being picked by their ability to hit the ball a long way rather than their defensive qualities. Bowlers, too, have to be able to vary their game in order to avoid being smacked out of the ground. How would someone like a Don Bradman or a Geoffrey Boycott have fared in the modern game? Not too well I fear! The decision to postpone the much-heralded World Test Championship by another four years is another blow to all lovers of the five-day game, but I fear it won’t be the last. Two-test series between the principal test-playing nations are now common but, I ask you, would you rather have seen another three matches of the intensity and excitement produced by South Africa and Australia recently – or watch five one-day games in which one team or the other would probably have lost interest by the halfway stage?

The fact that Andrew Strauss and Alistair Cook have been nominated for the Sports Personality of the Year and not Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan suggests England fans have already made their decision but they are looking increasingly lonely in their outlook.