Test matches do things that strip a man to the bone. If you are below standard in test cricket, you’re exposed as in no other sport. It’s a great leveler. It’s pretty true to life. You can think that you’re brilliant one moment and the next minute you’re out the first ball, for a duck. It’s a character builder.It points out the vulnerabilities of both the sides as well as their strengths. It takes the long form of the game, and not one in which the innings are limited to 20 or 50 overs each side, for the spectator to appreciate these subtleties, and to become gripped by unfolding of the story. In a test match over the period of five days, the best team will always win.
But it is dying. T20 is taking over and the fans are moving away from the longest form of the game.
Times have changed and people don’t have enough time to watch a 5 day long game. They would rather take their kids to watch a 3-hour game where the ball is flying all round the park. The question for all the people in charge of the game is ‘how do you bring them to watch test cricket?’.
Michael Holding, a legend of the game and now a great commentator said, “The problem for me is there is too much meaningless test cricket being played.”, which is true because when two good teams play against each other, no matter what format, a cricket fan will watch it.
I hope for the best but I’m also prepared for the worst. I hope and wish that Test cricket doesn’t die. It must flourish, it has to flourish to keep cricket alive. The game of cricket must not lose out on its character. Because we will feel its absence when it’s gone.
In the end, it’s a player’s game. If you ask any professional cricketer, their main goal is to play test cricket for their country. It’s people like them and millions of fans like me who won’t let this brilliant, one of a kind game die. It’s the best game in the world.