Cricket Food For Thought #3: Time for T20 & Test Cricket to Separate?
By Nitesh Mathur, Broken Cricket Dreams, @BCD 6/10/2022
New Zealand’s first Test against England started on 2nd June, 2022, a Test match in which Trent Boult played right after playing the IPL final on 29th May, 2022 representing the Rajasthan Royals. In fact, New Zealand’s tour of England began much earlier on the 20th May. Two tour matches had already been played before Boult reached the shores of England.
David Miller & Hardik Pandya starred in Gujarat Titans’ road to IPL glory. Ten days later, they were playing for opposing teams when the 5-match India vs South Africa bilateral series began.
This series is going to end on 19th of June. Then, India play in Ireland on the 26th and 28th of June, before they play their Test match against England beginning on the…1st of July.
The situation has reached such a point that a special flight is being arranged for coach Rahul Dravid, Shreyas Iyer, and Rishabh Pant.
Warning For Test Cricket
The World Test Championship, although not perfect, has put some context for Test match cricket. However, with T20 leagues overtaking the yearly calendar and T20 World Cups occurring every two years now, ICC Chairperson Greg Barclay has warned
I have spoken at length about overkill of cricket and T20 leagues, mental health issues many a times before, but radical times demand radical actions.
- Cricket Self-Implodes: Thailand, The ICC, COVID, Racism, Sex, And Overkill of Cricket – Cricket Controversies 2021
- End of Cricket As We Know It? Pakistan, Postponement, Mental Health Crisis, and Overkill of Cricket
- The Need For Champions League & a T20 League Calendar
Today I propose a separation of T20 and Test cricket as sports. Jonny Bairstow might disagree but workload management and overburdening the cricket schedule is about to hit the edge.
Just like football and futsal are treated as different sports, T20 and Test cricket should be classified as separate sports as well. So what should this separation entail?
- A player cannot play both T20 and Test formats at any level.
- Separate coaches, teams, players, tournaments, and scouts for both sports. So Rahul Dravid should not go fly and coach the Test team.
- Separate governing bodies and budgets
- Women’s and Men’s Test matches managed under the same administrative body. Similarly women’s & men’s leagues managed under the same body (Men’s/Women’s Hundred, IPL, Big Bash, CPL, etc.)
- Instead of distributing budgets, resources, etc. to these two formats, have a separate funding base
Distance the Heart & Mind
We all would love Virat Kohli playing for RCB and India in all formats all the time, but that is no longer possible. I claim, it is no longer necessary either.
When the IPL begun, each franchise had a marquee player (Dravid – RCB, Ganguly – KKR, Laxman – Deccan, Tendulkar – Mumbai, Yuvraj – Punjab, MS Dhoni – CSK). This was to develop a fan base and for continuity.
Fast forward to 2022. No Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli & Rohit Sharma had off years, MSD was good but we only saw glimpses. IPL 2022 was rather about T20 specialists, The Mohsin Khans, Dinesh Karthiks, and Tim Davids.
T20 as a sport has become self-sufficient. Virat Kohli is needed at Ranji, not Royal Challengers.
Instead of franchising County Cricket or looking to forcefully promote Ranji Trophy, high profile players in domestic tournaments will raise the levels of first class/Test cricket, drive finances, and evolve as a sport faster.
Oh and what about ODI cricket? I completely forgot about it!
Maybe few years down the line, you will as well.
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