With the popularity of T20 cricket growing day by day, the longest format of the game is going through a tough period. It”s not just fans who prefer T20 leagues over tests but the players as well, for financial and other reasons. That is pretty evident from the crowds you get to see in CPL as compared to the crowds in West Indies vs India test series. I fear to say people are losing interest in test cricket!
There used to be a time in 20th century when batsmen were quite happy to dig in whole day thereby not showing any urgency to score runs. As a result majority of tests used to end in a draw. When ODI cricket came, it was labelled as “Result Oriented” format. However ODI cricket did hardly any good to speed up the scoring rate in test matches. In fact in the early days, ODI cricket was played with the mindset of tests, just to hang in there before Jaysuriya and Kaluwitharana revolutionised the 50-over cricket in 1996 World Cup.
However, the birth of the shortest format took cricket to a whole new level. Batsmen started coming up with innovative shots. One big thing was it changed the approach of batsmen in pressure situation, encouraging them to “counter attack”. The scoring rate in test cricket improved dramatically, eventually leading to majority of test matches to end in 4 days or before.
A lot of cricket experts have came up with the idea of 4-day tests, including the great Shane Warne. I would be lying if I say I don”t agree with them. Practically speaking it is the best change that ICC can make after day-night test in an attempt to revive test cricket. 5th day should be used only to make up for the overs lost due to rain or any other reasons. However it should not be used to make up for the overs lost due to slow over rate!!!
This could add more thrill to the longest format and encourage cricketers to back and not curb their attacking instincts and go for the kill.
– by Atharva Apte