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Jrod: Cull the sideshows and give us more Tests

November 2nd, 2009 by JRod in Test cricket


The cricket media and the fans seem to think there is too much cricket.  There is. Luke Wright said it right here and he doesn’t even play Test cricket.

That might be the key. There may be too much cricket in general, but the form of the game that has managed to reach into three separate centuries certainly doesn’t get over-played.

The last Test match finished on August 3oth, when New Zealand’s top-order gave up and Iain O’Brien’s valiant 12 off 77 balls couldn’t stop Sri Lanka.  We are now in November, and the next Test match is on the 16th of this month.  Over 70 days without a Test match.

If you like the white ball there has been plenty of entertainment.  Australia have played two pointless seven match rubbers in India and England. There have been two tournaments using the word Champion.  And Zimbabwe have taken on Kenya and Bangladesh.

I started writing about cricket in September ‘07.  That month the Indian fans got into Twenty20 cricket when their national side won a tournament with what resembled a development side and changed the face of the modern game.  Since September ‘07 there have been two Twenty20 world thingies, two IPLs, one Champions League (with one cancelled), two ICL seasons, and a Stanford Super Ponzi scheme.

In that time there have been two five-Test series.  One was by accident when the WICB couldn’t work out their run ups.  The other was the Ashes.  Five-Test series are now an archaic institution that not even the new rivalry of India and Australia can dig up.

Before the next scheduled five-Test series there will be another World Twenty20 thingy, one more IPL and Champions League.

The human cost can been seen on the face of Peter Siddle who has spent five months on tour. In that time he has had one week off; he and his partner visited Euro Disney (on a dare I assume).  His dance card features the World Twenty20 thingy, the Ashes, that seven-match series against England, the Champions Trophy, the Champions League and now another seven-match series against India.

His five months have given him five Test matches.   A similar length tour would have greeted him in the past, but he would have got the couple of boat rides that went with it.

This time his five months have meant three continents, representing two teams, playing three formats of cricket and having to line up at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

No wonder he has a permanent scowl on his face.

There might be too much cricket, but if a few of these pointless one-day and Twenty20 matches were culled to fit in more Test matches I wonder if we’d all still be saying it.

Jrod is an Australian blogger, and now author. His book The Year Of The Balls 2008: A Disrespective is available now

Posted in Test cricket | 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “Jrod: Cull the sideshows and give us more Tests”

  1.   Paddy Briggs says:

    The ICC seems to think that each form of the game is of equal value. Here’s David Morgan at the ICC History conference in July:

    “We now have three forms of the game at international level with Tests joined by One -Day Internationals and Twenty20 cricket to form a hat-trick of outstanding formats.”

    Note there was no “Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game and must be protected” rhetoric from the ICC President. The three forms were presented by him as being of equivalent weight. This means that they will compete with one another in a sort of Darwinian natural selection process unhindered by the interference of cricket’s administrative elite. And given that will be one evolutionary driver – and that is money. This means that the money spinning Test series (mainly The Ashes) will survive but other Test series look very vulnerable. And Twenty20 and ODIs will then compete to the death to see which of them occupies the ground vacated by the fallen dinosaur of Test cricket.

  2.   SixSixEight says:

    Yes unless there is some control on the amount of stupid limited overs competitions, a T20 world cup every 1.3 years is just mad - tests are toast.

    While we are waiting for 5 test nirvana - what happens to the 2 test waste of player energy - scrapped or turned into 3 test or do only 5 test series survive? But unless India suddenly become top of the tree….doomed.

    But in the end the format that India does best in will win - so at the moment Twenty20 v ODI. Aus knackerdness is giving the ODI an unfair advantage right now… if ODIs could suffer a quick die off then perhaps then there might be some hope for tests….ho hum

  3.   Winsome says:

    Just less one day and 20/20 but for any player 12 tests as year is enough surely?

    Too many one dayers though, these 7 match series are such a drag. It is a farce that Siddle has only been in the Oz team for a year and must be getting hacked off with it already.

  4.   Purna says:

    Wow, I didn’t even realize that the ratio of tests to ODI’s/T20’s was so one-sided. But I don’t think getting rid of ODI’s is the solution. It’s all this T20 nonsense that’s crowding the schedule. Why do we need a T20 battle between international domestic teams? Actually, why do we need the IPL?

    Remember the good old days when two teams would play 3 to 5 tests and then have another team join them for the ODI’s in a tri-nation setup? They need to come back.

  5.   jrod says:

    And now Siddle is injured and is being sent home. Looks like I jinxed him nicely.

    Winsome, Anywhere between 12-15 a year is enough for me. But alot of test nations have years when they play far less.

  6.   Paddy Briggs says:

    Nobody is in charge. The only international fixtures that the ICC controls are the two limited over format World Cups. All the rest come from bipartite deals between country boards. The boards rely substantially on income from international matches (ticket sales, sponsorship deals and media income). So the boards schedule as much as they can fit in. Hence seven ODIs for England v Australia and the same at the moment for India v Australia. The players have little or no influence over this and are reluctant to take a rest and risk losing their places in the team. The media, especially in India and England, pull the strings substantially and the boards acquiesce. The TV rights deal with Nimbus in India guarantees the BCCI a substantial fee for every match India plays. It is in the BCCI and Nimbus’s interests financially to play as many matches as possible.

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