On the importance of Test cricket

Andrew Young Roar Pro

By Andrew Young, Andrew Young is a Roar Pro

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    I write overlooking the University main oval. Despite being washed in sunlight, the undeniable scent of deep heat and dried mud hints at the fact that the football season has begun.

    Our flannelled friends have yielded, imposing sets of goal posts at either end of the picturesque ground act as confirmation.

    Indeed a sorry sight for a cricket tragic, football season means no local cricket to watch or play, but there is still plenty to write about. Especially when the looming Champions’ Trophy, and ongoing Indian Premier League lead to favourable discourse with regards to the shorter, and shortest form of the game.

    Favourable, that is, ahead of Test match cricket. Some seem to think that those amongst us who espouse the values and tradition long form of the game, are behind the times. Pushing the proverbial uphill, they think it’s high time we concede to the trends of the money-making behemoth that is franchise cricket.

    There are some valid points, (one would hope that such an argument would not have gained as much traction without them, though there is no guarantee) and for the most part, it lies in the attraction of the game.

    In an era where we are exposed to never ending stimuli from a broad range of sources, the premise is that cricket supporters, young people in particular, do not have the wherewithal to sit through a day, let alone five, of test match cricket.

    To maintain engagement, they suggest, we need music, bright lights, constant crowd engagement and big hits- because that provides instant gratification and entertainment, where a gruelling five-day contest that can result in a draw just isn’t quite what we are after.

    Australia Test player Glenn Maxwell raises his bat

    Au contraire! As an 18 year old with a passion for the game, I would fall in the bracket of those whose continued attraction to cricket is thought to rely most heavily on a crash and bash for three hours of entertainment.

    Is this correct? Not even slightly. My favourite match of the 2016-17 Australian summer was the Gabba Test between Australia and Pakistan. It demonstrated the real beauty of a format that allows for a true fight back and an exhibition of will-power, that left the visitors so tantalisingly close.

    This match was not an anomaly in terms of being a gripping and enthralling Test. Amazing Adelaide, the 2005 Ashes series in England, and, in more recent memory, the hotly contested Border Gavaskar series in India, the list goes on…

    No doubt T20 cricket is a viable avenue to attract a new demographic of cricket supporters, and to make a great deal of money. It is not, however the way to foster a deep love of the game amongst a cricketing public.

    Since its inception, I have attended a grand total of two Big Bash games. On the other hand, since the time I stood at a height equal to that of the stumps I would stubbornly defend on a Saturday, I have not missed a Boxing Day Test.

    The short formats are crucial to the success of cricket in the long run, and I am not against change. I love day-night Test matches), but I would implore the purists among you to contest the calls for franchise cricket to become our focus. This 18 year old would be devastated were that the case.

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    The Crowd Says (12)

    • April 25th 2017 @ 7:57am
      Peter Z said | April 25th 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      Test cricket is the game being intellectual; short form cricket is the game being juvenile.

    • April 25th 2017 @ 11:09am
      Neville said | April 25th 2017 @ 11:09am | ! Report

      So true. T20 is the junk food of cricket; easily consumed, gone in a moment, quickly forgotten and in excess it is bad for the game. Fewer bucket heads and more red ball cricket is the way forward. See you on Boxing Day!

    • April 25th 2017 @ 3:45pm
      Tim said | April 25th 2017 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

      The Boxing Day Test & New Years test should be axed along with all ODIs played in January. The Big Bash should just go for 6 weeks over December and January with no international cricket played in Australia. It will allow players like Steve Smith, Warner & Starc to play in the big bash. Like the Indian players the IPL.

      • Roar Pro

        April 25th 2017 @ 4:52pm
        Andrew Young said | April 25th 2017 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

        That comment almost made me physically ill, TIm- but thanks for your input nonetheless. For a response to your sentiments, please read the article. It’s all there. Cheers.

        • Roar Guru

          April 25th 2017 @ 5:50pm
          Rob na Champassak said | April 25th 2017 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

          Not sure he was being entirely serious, Andrew.

          But cheers for the article. Tests will always be my favourite format too.

    • April 26th 2017 @ 4:03am
      Brendon said | April 26th 2017 @ 4:03am | ! Report

      Blah blah blah. I’ve read this dross a million times before on theroar and other places. “People are idiots because they don’t like the things I like.” Test cricket is better because I find something magical about it and anyone who disagrees is wrong.

      I’m not a fan of the BBL but I value its importance. Look at it this way. The BBL is a way of CA generating significant revenue that doesn’t have the ICC’s and therefore the BCCI’s fingers in it.

      • April 26th 2017 @ 1:21pm
        BrainsTrust said | April 26th 2017 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

        The whole purpose of the current ICC under BCCI rule is to make sure those countries who are rich don;t share revenue with the poor. So none of the international teams you see here get paid wages by Cricket Australia and Australia sells and pockets the TV rights to all the games hosted here and pockets all gate money etc.
        The BBL it has increased revenue but it has also increased expenses, I would say the BBL has lost money in the initial years and at best its breaking even now,.
        Even if one finds test cricket incredibly boring its a necessary economic evil because it generates massive profits for Australian cricket..

        • April 26th 2017 @ 1:56pm
          Johnno said | April 26th 2017 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

          you saying if no revenue is shared there will then be less competitive teams, we will only have 3-5 decent teams. How is is that good for international cricket in maintaining long term interest in the game.
          Surely the casual Indian cricket fan will get bored of just playing Australia and England.

          • May 1st 2017 @ 3:17pm
            BrainsTrust said | May 1st 2017 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

            Well believe it or not the ICC has just turned against the BCCI, strange that the most significant development in cricket hasnt got article on here, I haven’t seen anything on the news either.
            The fightback from the BCCI has already begun they are threatening to boycott the champions trophy.
            If India boycott all the ICC tournaments there goes a lot of the revenue anyway.
            There are all sorts of possibilities from here ,India could run their own version like WSC.

    • April 26th 2017 @ 12:42pm
      Johnno said | April 26th 2017 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

      I like Test cricket as I’m from older generation, but you can’t force younger generation(born 1990-onwards) to go and watch it. It’s not happening, and Test cricket need to change not the youth of today. The youth of today do not need test cricket, it’s test cricket who needs the youth $.

    • Roar Guru

      April 28th 2017 @ 12:41am
      hairy fat man said | April 28th 2017 @ 12:41am | ! Report

      Test cricket is the only cricket that matters.

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