Sunday, 26 August 2018

[Archive Blog (18/12/2016)] 4 Day Test Match: What we will loose and can win from it ?

Its almost a half of decade talk now by the think tank of cricket to reduce 1 day from International 5 Days Test Matches. Ever since T20 came and made a big pop via IPL, voices start raising whether we actually need 5 Days Test Matches anymore or not. Some claiming its a exercise to protect the soul of Test Cricket as the viewership and response is quite less towards the Test Cricket in Modern Era. There is always a 2 flips of a coin but I sees more negativity instead of positives in 4 days test match may be people having best of interest in the game have different prospect on it, but this will ever remain controversial since as of now its remains on cold bag of MCC, the law makers of Cricket. There are certain steps already being taken to protect the game of Test Cricket and that is Day - Night Test. Australia is so far is the better team to promote the Pink Ball Day - Night Test Cricket with full wings. They played 2 test matches so far, one is last year against New Zealand, last year I also wrote New Era Begins Australia vs. New Zealand on the eve of first ever Pink Ball Cricket in the International Arena, success of that test match in Adelaide led another Test match against South Africa last month and third is against Pakistan and they're so far doing good in the dedicated record book of the Day - Night show. In Australia it is highly appreciated and got a great support from the fans point of view since whatever number Cricket Australia wanted to achieve they're quite near of it, unless people are really a cricket freaks of the city which gonna fill each and every capacity of the ground at which ever day you want.

Suddenly IPL impacted the World Cricket a lot and after the success of the league not only Test Cricket but even One Day matches saws the Heat. Sachin Tendulkar even came up with the idea of 25 Overs per Innings match as a savior of Test Cricket and ODI but that idea didn't got enough support and remains as a well wish of The Great Little Master, though black clouds are over now from ODI but still in some occasions concern on future of Test Cricket are always high. Its not like that bid in T20s too got much success despite of invented in England, England still struggling to launch a T20 league which can give them a super success, recently concluded South Africa T20 Challenge missed RAM for the title sponsorship, another promising league in Bangladesh, BPL T20 made headlines for fixing when a player claim to meet bookie rather then for a number of enthusiastic crowd to support Cricket. Many countries who started T20 Leagues never reached into the melting point, Countries like Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe started the T20 Leagues of their own but called off due to "no" from sponsors. Infact Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch pull himself from what was claimed to be a kind of a Club Worldcup for Cricket in the sense of CLT20 called off from the equation due to poor viewership in India. STAR INDIA wanted to have Mini IPL got something else which never excited the viewers because people in India never supported the T20 game but supported their favorite players and the franchisee. Currently except India and Australia no other Country are able to have a stable T20 Leagues of which Pundits considered to be a threat for Cricket.

At the current scenario Countries like Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa, England are in the favor of 4 days test matches. Pakistan has a revenue loss due to hosting the Cricket matches in UAE and their political attire is not that friendly with India which led the Boss of Cricket to help them. Countries like Zimbabwe and South Africa are expecting to put their financial cycle back on track and putting a effort from very long time and after the imbalanced social structure it is obvious to affect Cricket as well. Country like Sri Lanka not able to put on the infrastructure which can create a next aura of Mahela Jayawardane, Sanath Jayasuria, Kumar Sangakara or Muttiah Muralitharan, missing such greats from the pitch and stumbling performance in all 3 formats led the fans less interested towards the every match featuring Sri Lanka. In recent scenarios ICC planned to have two-tier format, means team will be divided into 2, 1st Division will have top 7 teams and in 2nd Division you got bottom teams with the inclusion of Ireland and Afghanistan could have increase the number of Test Playing Nation but it used to have more flaws then any plus. Surely big teams will love to compete against big team and would have reduce the number of games in FTP but it also could have kill the interest of Teams like Bangladesh who're posting the challenge infront of big Teams as they already hunted England in 2 match Test Series. Might be two-tier would have been good for some team but bad for others in many aspect. Any new rule implemented to help the game improve and grow further but thinking shouldn't to curb down the game but to develop the infrastructure. ICC also looks to reduce the number of test matches in the year citing a financial issue in small boards.

4 Days Test Matches has their own con and pros. Mostly people in weekend are out to enjoy with the family and having games in weekend will increase the number of spectators. From Thursday to Sunday the game will be live and maximum people will gather to witness the proceedings of last 2 days, it will also shorten the days of tour with 3 days time another Test Match may starts but it will led more draw games, doctored pitches to win the test match, excitement will be over since might be game will end even in 3 and the half days which will never favor the cricket but led negativism towards the game. In domestic circuit we having 4 days games because teams are actually a part of some tournament in International Circuit possibility of Test Championship are quite weak hence rather then having a 4 Days Test Matches, Boards of Test Nation needs to work out on a Infrastructure to push Day - Night Cricket Matches more. In India, BCCI organises maximum ODI games in Day - Night but still yet to debut in Day - Night Test. Also Boards needs to organises a game like this which will fall into Weekend more. Either game starts from Thursday or ended in Sunday in between Test Matches Teams could play a ODI and T20s as well. Matches should played in Small Stadiums and places where maximum peoples are having Off in Saturday and Sunday and also sports enthusiasts. No doubt many Countries at this moment are having financial crunch, income from Live Audience and Broadcasters are also reducing. Boards are not able to sign deals with Broadcasters due to less viewership which directly impacting the revenues anyways.

In recent past if take a example of India's Cricket only, you will found that people in weekdays gives a maximum support to Test Cricket, in Winter Season peoples were out to support their team from Morning session itself. Stadiums like Wankhede Mumbai and Indore was jammed pack and not a single place was kept in a Test Match during Weekends. Even places where maximum companies offers Rotational Offs during Weekend too got a maximum crowd plus students who got holidays in Sundays gets a chance to hangout with their best buddy enjoys the game. Test Matches can attract crowds due to its schedule in Day time which suits many micro families too which can end the day outing in the city after the end of Play. In summer time we can have games Day - Night due to extreme hot in Afternoon which won't suits many. Problem is not crowd attraction, problem is representation too. In India almost 80%-90% games remains houseful because fans has reason to watch cricket and reason to cheer. 20K fans definitely has a power to attract atleast 5K fans, crowd always support good cricket and good cricketers they don't need Dhoni or Kohli all the time. Currently many bottom team players of ICC Rankings are either believes to play County Cricket or do something else to fulfill the day to day need as the money and interest both are quite less. Purpose to running things is the most important part, why people should watch a game why even hang around for 4 days too and 90 overs in a day ? If 4 days test matches are the savior of Test cricket then does the domestic matches are getting good crowd ? As already I tried to conclude that Domestic Cricket since playing in a Tournament wise hence maximum draw games won't affect much due to points system but matches which are being played between Host and Away teams need results as thats what Teams are getting motivated to represent the Nation. Interesting fact is that ever since the T20 specialist players took over the National side to represent Test Cricket the win percentage of every International Series has been increased compare to what it used to be till last decade. No doubt as of now decision of 4 Days Test matches is hanging due to some personal interest of the respective Boards but if at all Organisers realises to work on the future of Test Cricket then should consider by keeping its spirit alive.

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