Make Test Cricket Great Again—I have been meaning to write this article for months now, but for some reason have not been able to.
Maybe it is because of the recent bit of exhilarating Test cricket, and all is actually well and good. Or maybe there is too much to fix and Test cricket has just become a lost cause.
The reality is somewhere in the middle.
Test Cricket At Its Best
Just in the last month, we witnessed some exhilarating bits of test cricket.
Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand – we saw New Zealand’s best pace quartet, Mohammad Rizwan-Faheem Ashraf’s courage to save Pakistan from numerous collapses, Azhar Ali answering his critics, and Fawad Alam redeeming his lost decade in the last match of 2020. Almost saved the match if not for Mitchell Santner’s jumping catch.
Fast forward the next month, we saw epic lows and mountainous highs in the India vs Australia series – the 36 All Out, finally a 5th Day test match save at Sydney, and the breach of the Gabba. Then, followed England’s sweep of Sri Lanka and India’s defeat at Chennai.
All of these Test match efforts were swept under the carpet after Nkrumah Bonner and Kyle Mayers’ amazing chase of 396 against Bangladesh. The West Indies ended up winning the series 2-0. If India’s 3rd string victory in Australia was anything, West Indies’ debutants eclipsed it one step further. Winning Test matches in Bangladesh is not easy anymore. Just ask England or Australia.
Is Test Cricket Dying?
With 6 overseas victories, an enthralling draw (almost 2), and only 2 wins by a home side recently (Melbourne and Chennai 2x), we can definitely say that Test cricket is not dying.
Between the 2011 and 2019 World Cup, these matches were hard to come by. With the exception of the great South African generation, almost no team won overseas. The only competitive test series I remember is the England-New Zealand 2013-14 series. Ashes 2019 reignited the fire in Test Cricket, and post-COVID, the flame has continued to spread.
So now with the World Test Championship heating up in its final stage and teams starting to compete overseas again, is everything well and good? Absolutely not.
The Big 3 still dominate, WTCs Points Table sucks, there is no context for teams out of contention, and finances for Test cricket are a problem. Here are some of our past proposals to improve the World Test Championship.
- How Can The World Test Championship Improve?
- How To Fix The World Test Championship Points Table?
- Updated WTC Points Table Based on Our System
What We Wish To Accomplish
What we wish to do in this series of articles, Make Test Cricket Great Again, is to expose problems faced by Test cricket, provide practical solutions, and go from there.
I highlighted practical for a specific purpose. Earlier, our series of articles on Test Cricket included solutions that involved each Test team playing an equal number of matches and assumed that the influence of the Big 3 will reduce over time. In the post-COVID world, this prediction is far away from the truth.
England will play 18 Tests for the WTC while Bangladesh will play around 4. Australia cancelled a Test series against South Africa which put a sour taste on the CSA-CA relationship, and it seems the WTC is basically a longwinded quadrangular series between New Zealand, England, India, and Australia.
Hence our future articles in Make Test Cricket Great Again category may include more practical insights like:
- Revenue each Test playing nation generates
- What It takes to host a Test match
- Equity vs Equality: Innovations that can help further bridge the gap between the different teams given the current financial status and level of each team
Your Opinion Matters
So, how do you think should Test cricket should improve? We would love to share your thoughts in our future articles. We want to hear some innovative ideas (not too innovative though…the Big Bash tried too hard). Here are some other ideas that I have thought about, but maybe you all can pitch in with some more!
- Getting rid of DRS umpires call (on impact)
- Improving/ Standardizing pitches (Chennai 2x pitch received way too much backlash)
- Promoting more money from T20 leagues to help out domestic cricketers
- Having a relegation-promotion system for the WTC
Although Donald Trump lost his reelection bid for U.S. Presidential Election and Joe Biden prevailed—we can do something unheard of—combine both of their slogans and adopt it for our purposes:
Make Test Cricket Great Again and Restore the Soul of This Wonderful Sport.
Until then, go back to your IPL auctions.
Inspired by talks with Dad and Vandit.
Image Courtesy: Lord’s Cricket Ground – Gareth Williams via CC By 2.0