Cricket Australia’s prioritisation of Test cricket is a lie

Cameron Rose Columnist

By Cameron Rose, Cameron Rose is a Roar Expert

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    Let me say from the outset that I have not watched a single ball of the revamped Big Bash League (BBL) since its inception last summer. While it may seem silly, it has been done as an act of principle.

    Do I dislike T20 as a format? No. I think it is great fun as a form of sporting entertainment, and the depth and breadth of skills on display can be a wonder to behold.

    What I find abhorrent is the manufactured nature of the BBL and the precedence that Cricket Australia places on this tournament over the supposed number one form of the game – Test matches.

    We have all heard of the Argus Report that, as quoted by Australian Cricketers Association chief executive Paul Marsh yesterday, was about “Cricket Australia’s stated prioritisation of Test cricket”.

    The key phrase here is ‘stated prioritisation’, because I’m not sure the actions we’re seeing in recent times are doing anything to back these words up.

    Take the following, quoted directly from the Argus report itself:
    – Statistics show that our batting has declined in the past four years
    – Our top six has had the tendency to underperform in key Tests

    Without question, the most ‘key’ Test Australia has played since the release of this report some 16 months ago was the third against South Africa last week.

    The result? After a second string Australian attack put the strongest batting line-up in the world to the sword and bowled them out for 225 in their first innings, our batsmen crumbed under the onslaught of high quality Test match bowling, and could manage only a paltry 163 in reply.

    As the South Africans showed in their second innings, this was a wicket where runs were easy to come by – if batsmen were disciplined and patient enough to get through the new ball.

    The batsman most to blame for the Aussie collapse was David Warner, our Test opener who is the symbol and poster-child of the T20 generation.

    To his credit, he had survived the previous evening where Ed Cowan and Shane Watson could not, and walked out to open the play on day two with nightwatchman Nathan Lyon for company, Australia at a perilous 2/33.

    On a side note, I would love to captain Australia simply to offer my batsmen a nightwatchman when the circumstance arose. Anyone accepting such protection would never wear the baggy green under my command again. There are few weaker acts in cricket, and it is poor strategy to boot.

    But back to Warner. Lyon, our number 11 in normal circumstances, could not be counted on to be there for long, and the struggles of Ricky Ponting, next man in, had been well documented.

    The state of the game demanded a mature innings from Warner. The dire circumstances he’d be leaving his country in if falling should have dictated his mindset. He needed the courage to put his natural game away for the betterment of the team.

    His response? To the fourth ball he faced that morning, he swung wildly, with all the elegance and control of a man trying to chop up snakes in a phone booth.

    The result? Lyon and Ponting soon followed as predicted, and for once Michael Clarke couldn’t save the day. An overnight 2/33 became 6/45 in the space of six overs, and a perilous position became unsalvageable. Momentum, hope, and the match were lost.

    Now all of this is not to do a hatchet job on David Warner. After all, this was only his 24th first class match, half of which have been at Test level. It is to be hoped that he is learning with each outing, although little evidence of this has been seen so far.

    A common defence of a player like Warner, and it was often used when Brad Haddin decided to forgo a fighting innings for lazy and self-indulgent play, is “that’s the way he plays”.

    Next time I get pulled over for speeding, I’ll just tell the police “that’s the way I drive”.

    At the cinema, I might remove my shoes and talk loudly on my phone under the proviso of “that’s the way I watch”.

    Perhaps Alan Jones can say Julia Gillard’s father died of shame, and write it off as “that’s the way I broadcast”.

    These are childish responses that abdicate responsibility. As a cricket-watching audience, we must demand more from our elite, and apply higher standards.

    But rather than working on his red-ball game in a tour match, the Sheffield Shield, or even, heaven forbid, grade cricket, according to Cricket Australia the most suitable way for Warner to overcome his deficiencies and prepare for another test match was to turn out for the Sydney Someone’s.

    In fact, all first class cricket outside the Test matches has been suspended for nigh on two months during the peak cricket-watching season so the BBL can take place.

    What sort of message does this send?

    Another example of the BBL being put ahead of all else was the recently completed Chairman’s XI tour match against the visiting Sri Lankans.

    Wouldn’t it have been great to see a four day match against a visiting international team consisting of a team of ‘possibles’ vying for Test match selection?

    Warner and Cowan could have been selected to work on their still shaky opening partnership, followed by the likes of Phil Hughes, Rob Quiney, Usman Khawaja and Alex Doolan or Callum Ferguson fighting for the spot vacated by Ricky Ponting.

    Surely a match of such quality could be televised on Foxtel and played over the weekend to allow fans to see these players whose names we read about, but who few of us get the chance to see in action.

    Instead we were served up a host of players whose parents had barely heard of them in a two and a half day joke that I’m not prepared to call a cricket match.

    As fellow Roar contributor Brett McKay explained to me in these pages last week, “it’s worth noting that the selections for the Chairman’s game would’ve been conducted with a view to lessening the impact on Big Bash sides with both Melbourne and Sydney teams playing during the three-day game.”

    Unfortunately for me, and for those of us that do actually prioritise Test cricket, Brett was correct, and so I continue to be disheartened by the supposed commercial realities of the cricket world we live in.

    Remember the time when the Melbourne and Sydney Tests held from Boxing Day and in the New Year were the centrepiece of the cricket season? Now they are lucky to be included as afterthoughts.

    What was once a roast dinner with all the trimmings has been consigned to the ignominy of an after-dinner mint.

    So I’ll continue to boycott the BBL, carrying on my one man crusade as I dream of a tomorrow where the phrase ‘the prioritisation of Test cricket’ is more than just empty words.

    Cameron Rose
    Cameron Rose

    Cameron Rose is a born and bred Melbournian, raised on a regime of AFL, cricket and horse racing. He likes people who agree with him but loves those that don't, for there's nothing better than a roaring debate. He tweets from @camtherose.

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    The Crowd Says (212)

    • December 10th 2012 @ 7:14am
      Johnno said | December 10th 2012 @ 7:14am | ! Report

      Who cares is what I say. We talk about commercial realities, and I see it as simply this. The reality is the baby boomer generation are not the future but generation Z is . Majority wins out. Reality is the majority have spoken. Majority of cricket fans , are T20 fans , and not test cricket fans. Meaning more cricket fans prefer T20 cricket , to Test cricket. And test cricket fans or traidionisitlists just have to deal with it. If there so caring and passionate about test cricket. set up your own rebel test cricket comp if you think it has any market value and will bring in the money, reality is it won’t find an investor as it won’t make enough cash.
      So just give up test cricket fans, and i am one i prefer test cricket to T20 cricket, but I see test cricket is a dieting breed and majority yof cricket fans prefer T20 cricket, and new cricket fans new to the game want T20 cricket and couldn’t care less about test cricket, or the baggy green or cricket’s traditions. So test cricket must just accept this, and if it wants to save it’s game rather than moaning about T20 popularity , and the fans of T20 no longer are listening to the whinges of test cricket fans, maybe test cricket if it wants to attract new fans, must evolve and scrap some it’s traditions and become more commercial , and gimmiky if it wants to survive as that’s what the majority of fans want.
      And alost test cricket fans must suck it up , and face it which i am one of them, but i am honest to say it, test cricket fans are just a vocal minority of cricket fans, not the majority , and they need to evolve and change the game or test cricket will just slowly die, and see ya later as a sport, and no one other than test cricket fans will give a stuff, and majority of cricket fans will just march along to the commercialism and gimmicky beat of T20 cricket as that’s what the majority of cricket fans want.

      People like Richie Beanud, Bill lawry, Ian chapel, tony greig, have no value to the next generation of cricket fans, and that’s just a fact. So if test cricket fans really care about there game then they must fight for there game, and change and make it more attractive to new modern fans, otherwise it will fade away as a sport into insignificance.

      • December 10th 2012 @ 8:28am
        D.Large said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:28am | ! Report

        I agree, test cricket has been a dieting breed since Warne took those tablets.

        Wow, that was a long steaming pile of …

        • December 10th 2012 @ 8:31am
          Johnno said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:31am | ! Report

          And that was for an ODI tournament D.large, what’s your point.

          • December 10th 2012 @ 8:42am
            D.Large said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:42am | ! Report

            Ah, good point Johnno.

            It’s almost like the Aussies have been starved of success since then. I for one thought that they’ve needed to trim a little fat for years. Oh well no pain, no gain.

      • Columnist

        December 10th 2012 @ 8:33am
        Cameron Rose said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:33am | ! Report

        Johnno, I find it hard to believe that you are in fact a true test cricket fan. The fact you are suggesting test cricket become more ‘gimmicky’ is proof enough of that.

        There are ways of accomodating both forms of the game in the same calendar without making test cricket a fourth class citizen.

        • December 10th 2012 @ 12:59pm
          PB said | December 10th 2012 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

          +1.

          The impact has been just the same in NZ. Where Aussie standards have fallen to the old England, NZ’s are now at Zimbabwe.

          I appreciate what the players can do in T20; but as a sport it pales to Tests. No kid playing is going to dream of emulating the 1 hour SomeGuy Crowe carried his bat through a T20 innings, or AnotheDude got 4 in 4 overs.But they will aspire to wacking a ball round for the big bucks it earns.

          It’s like McDs – in and out with a greasy aftertaste. “But most people want it” is far less true than “But a few people can make $$ off it”.

          • Roar Rookie

            December 10th 2012 @ 1:09pm
            Neuen said | December 10th 2012 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

            NZ decline was due to bio mechanics implemented where power and heavy bats were traded for footwork. Hitting with power and efficiency was taught at every training ground, academy, school and whatever. It is only since 2008 that they decided to discard that approach which means that 8 years of corrupting batsman still needs to be undone and flushed out.

            • December 10th 2012 @ 1:30pm
              PB said | December 10th 2012 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

              I’m talking a further decline in the post-Fleming(and he was part of the problem, nice guy that he was)/T20 era. The attitude and sense of entitlement from these players who have achieved NOTHING – just because they get paid like superstars – is a disease no amount of fancy footwork is going to help.

      • December 10th 2012 @ 9:56am
        Shahid said | December 10th 2012 @ 9:56am | ! Report

        Warner is an aggressive player. He is best for T20 and ODI. T20 and ODI both format are about run rate while test cricket is about time. Only the player can play a test match who have plenty of patience. Look at Faf du plessis who played whole day with patience and got success to draw the Adelaid test. Selectors should choose the player who has plenty of patience. Sri Lanka has a poor bowling attack. But in ashes english bowlers will be very heavy. Anderson, Finn, Monty and Swan make england to a dangerous bowling attack. India has strong batting line up but english bowling attack mesmerize great batsmen of india. Therefore South African skipper Graeme Smith predicted that England is favourite for Ashes. Selectors should select scott henry for ashes tour on the place of warner.

        • December 10th 2012 @ 10:51am
          Matt F said | December 10th 2012 @ 10:51am | ! Report

          Sehwag is an aggressive player yet averages over 50 in Test cricket. test cricket takes all different types of players

        • Columnist

          December 10th 2012 @ 11:27am
          Glenn Mitchell said | December 10th 2012 @ 11:27am | ! Report

          It is interesting that you raise the name of Faf du Plessis. He is the perfect example of a player being wrongly pigeon holed. He was always considered as a specialist short form player, especially in the T20 format. It was believed that his technique and temperament were not suited to the Test arena. Who would have thought the way he batted in the final two Tests when given the opportunity? To say that Warner is simply the product of the T20 generation is I think a tad simplistic. Opening batsmen like Jayasuriya and Shrikkanth batted in much the same way that Warner does and were players whose development preceded the T20 era. Michael Hussey is regarded as one of the preeminent limited overs players in the game. He played for the Perth Scorchers yesterday. I am not sure that his appearance in that match will dilute his ability to play well in the Sri Lanka series.

          • December 10th 2012 @ 3:49pm
            Shahid said | December 10th 2012 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

            Another player like du plessis should be in australia. Du plessis got success to draw the Adelaid test. If Australia would have a player like du plessis then the perth test could be drawn. The conditions in adelaid were against South Africa while in perth against Australia. South Africa got success to draw the adelaid but australia could not draw the test.

        • Roar Rookie

          December 10th 2012 @ 1:24pm
          Neuen said | December 10th 2012 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

          India batting line up not that strong anymore especially on pitches that are not that low and slow and give assistance to quicks. Then there is the short stuff.

      • December 10th 2012 @ 12:43pm
        Timmuh said | December 10th 2012 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

        Johnno,
        I have to disagree with your basic assertion, the bulk of actual cricket fans are Test cricket fans who may or may not be T20 fans as well. Those who are T20 fans are more likely to be the theatre goer version of sports fans, and their allegiance to (form of the) sport is as yet untested for longer than novelty value. The equivalent of the racing fan who turns up for the Melbourne Cup carnival, and goes nowhere near a track for the remaning 51 weeks of the year.

        Test cricket’s problem is not a lack of fans, or even a lack of interest, but a lack of people prepared to watch for six hours a day (plus breaks, plus the inevitable overtime due to rubbish over rates). Cricket fans – even Gen Y and Gen Z ones – still want the scores, still care about the results, still debate the selections : but just don;t have the time or dedication to 30 hours play a match. That is T20’s advantage, its three hours of light entertainment with a cricketing veneer and able to get cricket fans who don’t have time for a full day’s play and also a set of non-cricket people who can appreciate the faster paced game in a single evening.

        • December 10th 2012 @ 1:25pm
          D.Large said | December 10th 2012 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

          Well said Timmuh

        • Roar Guru

          December 10th 2012 @ 4:25pm
          biltongbek said | December 10th 2012 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

          One of the most logical explanations I have read on why test cricket does not draw as many supporters to the ground.

          I think the fundamentals of test cricket and its importance is still there. Most of us agree that T20 is there for pure immediate gratification, a “quicky” if you will, it is like taking the one night stand to the nearest motel, but lnce it is over the relationship ends.

          Test crciket however is more serious than that, it is like the girl you take home to mother, but you don’t see her the whole week as you have other commitments, work, study etc.

          It doesn’t mean you don’t give her the daily phone call or text, sometimes if time permits you’ll see her for a few hours during the week, until the weekend when you have more time to soend with her.

        • December 10th 2012 @ 9:28pm
          Evan Askew said | December 10th 2012 @ 9:28pm | ! Report

          Best comment so far.

      • December 12th 2012 @ 12:01pm
        Brendon said | December 12th 2012 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

        As gen Z grow up, they will want to watch a game that requires, resolve, patience and skill. As they get more patient in their own lives their tastes will change and they will want to watch Test Cricket, I am only 30 and as I get older I love the test matches more and more.

        I’m with the writer, I’m not watching or going to the BBL, can’t watch it anyway because I can’t afford Foxtel.

        I see the attendances are pretty poor and the players only play for money, so they don’t care, why should I?

        Bring on the first test against Sri Lanka, can’t wait.

    • Roar Guru

      December 10th 2012 @ 7:25am
      sheek said | December 10th 2012 @ 7:25am | ! Report

      Good morning Cameron,

      I respect a man of principle. And as someone who loves both horse racing & cricket, you might appreciate this following analogy.

      The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most famous horse race. Yet racing authorities are doing just about everything to ensure its future failure.

      There is an obsession with breeding over racing, or retiring racehorses too early for breeding, a mushrooming of sprints over a scarcity of staying races & a diluting of the pathways (Brisbane Cup down from 3200m to 2400m) designed to ensure the viability of the Melbourne Cup.

      Is it any wonder the Melbourne Cup, in its present format – (an ultra-staying quality handicap for 3 years olds up) – can actually survive?

      So what does this have to do with cricket, readers ask?

      Because precisely the same thing is happening in cricket. Test cricket is supposed to still be the ultimate, according to both players & administrators. Yet the pathway necessary to help test cricket remain the ultimate – Sheffield Shield – is being both diluted & ignored.

      It is being diluted with leading players rarely if ever able to participate, & it is being ignored by being pushed to the sidelines as other more jazzy comps (read BBL) take centre stage.

      Like you, I don’t have anything against T20 per se, but I can see the potential harm it can bring to traditional cricket via “unintended consequences.” These have been well-documented, but basically, it’s now easier for a player to make a living out of T20 than test cricket.

      That fact alone brings with it a whole host of problems that will impact on test cricket.

      If the Melbourne Cup is the most valuable horse race in Australia, then isn’t it wise to get the surrounding pathways right, rather than let them stagnate, or head off in another direction?

      Similarly, if test cricket is the most valuable form of the game, isn’t it wise to get the surrounding pathways right, rather than let them stagnate, or head off in another direction?

      It seems to me that, far from preserving the Melbourne Cup & test cricket, administrators are doing everything, unintentionally or even intentionally, to destroy both of them…..

      • Columnist

        December 10th 2012 @ 8:38am
        Cameron Rose said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:38am | ! Report

        Interesting response Sheek, and there are parallels to be drawn. No one wants the short term pain for long term gain I suppose.

        We can’t control how much money is to be made out of various domestic T20 tournaments, and nor is it strictly fair to suggest players forgo these sums if they are capable of earning them…if they have the choice. This is why Cricket Australia needed to be stronger about its programming and exercising control over its players.

        I would simply be saying that between the first test of the summer and the last, if you want to be considered for selection then you must abstain from T20. We need to demand more of our test players, and if that means losing out in the short term for the betterment of our national team, then so be it.

        • Roar Guru

          December 10th 2012 @ 6:34pm
          sheek said | December 10th 2012 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

          Cameron,

          I’m not saying we shouldn’t have T20 as a money making venture, although I’m opposed to it being played at international level.

          If the Melbourne Cup is the major race in the country, then make it so by preserving its pathways, with plenty of 2400-3200m races.

          If test cricket is so valuable, then get leading players participating more often in Sheffield Shield.

          You won’t produce quality Melbourne Cup runners by running them in 1200m or 1600m races, & you won’t produce quality test cricketers by playing them in numerous T20 tournaments.

          What you will end up with is a weakened product for each, thus accelerating its demise.

          • December 12th 2012 @ 12:02pm
            Brendon said | December 12th 2012 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

            I like this idea, no international t20 games, great suggestion

      • December 10th 2012 @ 9:14am
        Matt F said | December 10th 2012 @ 9:14am | ! Report

        Sheek, I’m not so sure that Test Cricket and the Melbourne Cup are quite comparable. I would have thought that the Melbourne Cup succeeds because of otherwise uninterested people like myself who only pay attention to one race a year (maybe the odd flutter on the Cox Plate or Caufield Cup.) I don’t think that most of these people, myself included, really care about the quality of the race or whether the horses are local or international. It’s more about the event that surrounds the race (office sweeps, everyone talking about it, taking the afternoon off etc.)

        In some ways the Melbourne Cup may have more in common with T20 cricket. Most people who attend/watch don’t have a serious emotional investment in the result ($20 bets on the Cup aside) and some wouldn’t even be traditional fans of the sport, but it’s simply a bit of fun and entertainment

        • December 10th 2012 @ 9:31am
          D.Large said | December 10th 2012 @ 9:31am | ! Report

          Great Point Matt F

        • Roar Guru

          December 10th 2012 @ 6:10pm
          sheek said | December 10th 2012 @ 6:10pm | ! Report

          Matt F,

          I believe you have missed my point.

          The correlation is that both the Melbourne Cup & test cricket are in trouble because the administrators of both are focusing their energies elsewhere.

          If stayers don’t have sufficient staying races over 2400-3200m then they won’t develop the stamina to run those distances, irrespective of their breeding. They won’t get stamina from sprint & mile races.

          If cricketers don’t spend sufficient time honing their skills in Sheffield Shield, they won’t have the skills to play out a five day test. They won’t get those skills from T20 cricket.

          In both cases, the prime product is being weakened through , in the first case, by poorer quality domestic stayers, & in the second case, by being propped up by a gimmicky form of the game.

          Unless remedied, the future is a Melbourne Cup reduced to 2400-2500m, or even 2000m & test cricket becoming T20.

    • December 10th 2012 @ 8:13am
      jamesb said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:13am | ! Report

      I could argue that do we have the bowlers to bowl out sides. In Adelaide, Australia couldn’t bowl out South Africa in 1 and half days,, while in Perth, the SAFFAS were 6/75, eventually making 225. The bowlers should’ve knocked over SA in Adelaide and bowled them out for around 125 in Perth.

      The point I’m getting at is (my theory BTW) T/20 cricket also affects our fast bowling development as well. Nowadays fast bowlers instead of having hard training for first class or test level, have been replaced by training and playing T/20. Instead of training for 40 overs, they are training for 4 overs. There is no patience or stamina from our fast bowlers.

      Australia’s bowlers in the 2nd innings were downright awful!

      The point is bowlers as well as batsman are affected by T/20 cricket. Just like our bowlers, our batsman are trained for T/20, not test cricket which may explain the lack of depth in batting. The simple solution is we need to have our bowlers and batsman train more and more for first class cricket. Its just a theory of mine.

      PS: In the Big Bash, check out the Sydney Thunder line up, its full of stars.
      Borgas, Lockyear, Carters, Abbott, Tremain, Sandhu, Doran.

      • Columnist

        December 10th 2012 @ 8:44am
        Cameron Rose said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:44am | ! Report

        While I do think missing James Pattinson (in my opinion the best fast bowler in the country – and possibly our most important player over the next ten years if he can stay fit for a length of time) in Adelaide was the reason we couldn’t win, there is a simple truism in test cricket:

        Bowlers win you games, and batsmen make sure you don’t lose them.

        So, by not winning in Adelaide, yes we must look at the bowlers. But when we lose, the batsmen are culpable – especially those who get out irresponsibly when so much was resting on their shoulders.

        Our bowlers were awful in the second innings in Perth, there can be no doubt. But I’ll wager that it would have been a different story if we had a 150 run lead in the bank. That would have brought about a different set of pressures for the SA batsmen.

        • December 10th 2012 @ 1:06pm
          Christo the Daddyo said | December 10th 2012 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

          Let’s face it, we really should have won in Adelaide, but the bowlers weren’t able to finish off the tail. And we probably should have had a lead in Perth, but again the bowlers allowed the SA tail to wag.

      • December 10th 2012 @ 2:22pm
        Shahid said | December 10th 2012 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

        Hi Jamesb, I agree with you that T20 is producing hard hitters not test batsmen. Last year I watched big bash in which Usman Khawaja didn’t hit any six but in this big bash he has hitted a six in his first match. It means that now players like T20 league because the franchise give them a lot of money. Every player want to play IPL and BBL. I agree with you that Instead of training for 40 overs, bowlers are training for 4 overs. There is no patience or stamina from our fast bowlers. Thus the bowlers will get tired after 4 overs.

    • December 10th 2012 @ 8:25am
      Pri said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:25am | ! Report

      The way to kill the golden goose. Overfeed it. Then we can all live on pate de fois gras. All other diet not needed. We’ll all end up very healthy!

    • December 10th 2012 @ 8:33am
      D.Large said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      I refuse to watch any sport without meaning and T20 has no meaning. No one remembers who won a week later, let alone 2 years later.
      If T20 is just for entertainment, why not just watch The Young and the Restless instead?

      • December 10th 2012 @ 2:06pm
        Pri said | December 10th 2012 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

        Exactly.

      • Roar Guru

        December 10th 2012 @ 5:27pm
        Andy_Roo said | December 10th 2012 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

        I would rather people watch cricket for their entertainment than watch the young and the restless. At least then there is a chance that 1 in 100 T20 fans might become test cricket fans.

    • December 10th 2012 @ 8:40am
      Rob said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      Quality article. I think there are many who will put the BBL on simply becuase it’s there, watch 5 overs now and again, simply becuase there’s a genuine lack of sport at this time of year. It’s all about programming, as the wirter points out, it’s clear that the BBL succeeding is a priority. It’s being pitched as the footy of summer, each night over the weekend it will be on, in bars, pubs at when the BBQ’s are on, great positioning.

      The number of people who I’ve heard say ‘how awesome was Perth’ simply loving the fact they could watch test cricket after work.

      Unless test cricket switches its time slot unfortunately i think it’s focus and importance in the publics eyes will only diminish. In this day and age the number of people who are going to sit at home during the day and watch cricket all weekend is ever dwindling with so many substitutes and competing forces (look at how hard golf finds it). Test’s must be moved in Aus to incorporate a night / evening component, I think this is the only chance to get it back in the spotlight unless it’s an Ashes.

      Many other factors are combining against test cricket, somehow it needs to rise above the commercial game and pitch itself as the ultimate, the pinnacle of the sport, like the World Cup of soccer rises above the popular week to week club games.

      • Columnist

        December 10th 2012 @ 8:50am
        Cameron Rose said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:50am | ! Report

        Excellent contribution Rob, and I couldn’t agree more about the evening component. Like you, almost all people I speak to on the Eastern seabord love the Perth test because of how much more can be watched.

        If there is a way to make test cricket work in the evening, even a couple of extra hours until 8pm then it must be seriously looked at. I don’t believe this would be messing with the tradtions of test cricket, as some may argue, but would merely be changing slightly to move with the demands of society and broaden its reach.

        • Roar Guru

          December 10th 2012 @ 9:29am
          mds1970 said | December 10th 2012 @ 9:29am | ! Report

          The Adelaide Test is a good example. A gripping finish that went down to the wire – but because it was midweek during the day, we could only listen on the radio and the crowd was two men and a dog.
          In this era, when players are well-paid full-time professionals and TV rights pays the bills, Test cricket isn’t going to survive when gripping conclusions like that aren’t able to be seen.

          Test cricket doesn’t need the gimmicks like Johnno mentions below. It just needs to be played at a time when we’re able to watch it.

        • December 10th 2012 @ 1:03pm
          Timmuh said | December 10th 2012 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

          In the southern capitals, its easy. Hobart, in particular, stays light long enough to finish at 7:30 or 8:00 without the artifical lighting taking over – provided its a clear day. In summer it also isn’t a heavy dew city like, for example, Port Elizabeth in South Africa where night games would be impractical – and should not even be played in the limited overs forms of the game.
          Melbourne or Adelaide perhaps could go to 7:00 easily enough, not that it is particularly important for Melbourne given the number of people who take the week off between Christmas and New Year.

          • December 10th 2012 @ 4:51pm
            Rhys said | December 10th 2012 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

            The easiest solution for the Adelaide Test is to move it back to the Australia Day long weekend, or if Australia Day falls mid week, schedule the Test’s 5 days to cover that.

            As you say, Hobart can easily accomodate an 8.00pm finish, making the final session prime time viewing. Perth is already a prime time winner for East Coast viewers, whilst Melbourne and Sydney fall during the holiday season.

            Hmmm, that just leaves Brisbane.

            • December 10th 2012 @ 8:02pm
              Arthur Fonzarelli said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:02pm | ! Report

              Easy solution – lets lobby for daylight saving to mean winding the clock forward 2 hours instead of 1, then we could easily play test cricket till 8 or 9pm.

        • Roar Guru

          December 10th 2012 @ 6:42pm
          sheek said | December 10th 2012 @ 6:42pm | ! Report

          Day/night tests is something I’ve been spruiking for ages. It worked quite well back in WSC days, which was 34 seasons ago. They had the technology back then & isn’t it supposed to be a fact we are more advanced today?

          If part of the problem of test cricket is making it relevant to today’s attention span deprived youth, then have 4 day/nights (4 x 7 hours = 28 hours) instead of 5 days (5x 6 hours = 30 hours).

          A saving of one day but a net loss of only two hours.

          More importantly, it fits in better with people’s lifestyles, especially on the weekend. An early afternoon start allows family sports, swimming, shopping, housework & other activities to be completed before heading out to the cricket.

          On Friday & Monday afternoons, office workers can go directly to the cricket for the last session or two.

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