Thursday, August 12, 2010

Test Cricket , the way forward

There has been a lot of chatter about the future of cricket with the advent of the 20-20 version. With empty grounds the greeting tests the world over, and with dull draws like the witnessed recently between India and Sri Lanka , Test cricket s grasping for air.
For the longest time Test cricket was propped up not by popular demand, but by both officials and players insisting that Test cricket was the real deal.
But like any other sport, Test cricket has to make its money or its an endangered species no matter what.
The biggest weakness of test cricket are :
1. Its played over 5-days which might have been acceptable when it took a month to sail to England, but now its clearly too long.
2. How infuriating , is it that after 5days, there is no guarantee of a result.
3. Finally there is no contest, there is no , championship, no trophy . Save for a few rivalries, there is really no goal to the whole Test calendar.
There have been some suggestions about a Test championship based on a point based system. This in my humble opinion is doomed to failure, since any point system will be overly pedantic to be effective.
Whats the solution I propose you ask?
Quite simple really. Tests are allowed to meander because there is always the option of a draw.
Take that away, and a result is a must. Basically a test would be a 4 day affair, with each side batting 2 times for 90 overs each. If you bowl your opposition out in less than 90 overs you get the remaining overs from your opponents quota to bat. That way no matter how a side approaches the game, they have to go for the win.
One more suggestion is the allowance of a super-sub. Every once in a while a side that carries 4 bowlers loses one to injury, and is effectively trying to take 20 wickets with 3 bowlers. Cricket is the only game that expects its players to play over 5 days without subs. Most other sports last about 1hour-3hours with subs.
If the counter argument is that subs undermine the importance of all rounders , so be it. How many genuine all rounders does cricket produce anyway? And most of them are blighted by injury due to the increased and varied demands of their bodies.

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