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Six reasons why Tests are much better than limited overs cricket

Disclaimer: The views expressed are solely that of the authors and do not reflect the views of SportsKeeda.  

Muttiah Muralitharan was once asked if the growing popularity of T20s would mark the end of Test cricket. The world record holder for maximum number of wickets immediately responded by saying that the emergence of T20s could indeed hamper the growth of ODI cricket, whereas the longer version would still survive. He was probably right, because Test cricket, in its every sense, is unique compared to the shorter versions of the game. Or perhaps, just like any other cricketer, the former Sri Lankan off-spinner also wanted the five day format to subsist amidst the gaining popularity of T20s. His answer sounded more like a wish than a prediction.

Sri Lanka v England - 1st Test

If you take an outsider’s perspective, both ODIs and T20s provide instant entertainment for them, where the results are known within a few hours time. For cricketers though, the five day game is the ultimate Test of their abilities. All aspiring cricketers await a chance to make their debut in Test cricket. Playing in the longer version of the game means a lot to them, which also earns them prestige and well deserved praise. It is like how you differentiate the Oscar film festival from the Cannes film festival. For the movie buffs, Academy awards are the ultimate recognition, whereas for the film fraternities, the quality remains with Cannes.

Likewise in cricket, if limited overs internationals are meant for the delectation of the masses, then five day formats are meant for the knowledgeable connoisseurs, plus, of course, the cricketers. Even otherwise, Test cricket is something which has to be safeguarded and has to be played more often, as compared to the other formats.

Here are the six reasons as to why Test cricket is by far better than the rest.

1. Something is there for the bowlers all the time:

The shorter versions of the game are tailor-made for the batsmen. Since normal cricket lovers have developed the penchant to see the balls sail over the boundary ropes always, which provide them ample entertainment, the limited overs format (50s and 20s) were created. The hapless bowlers – even best of the lot – are being destroyed as a result. Because of flat tracks, fielding restrictions and limitation of freedom, ODIs and T20 offer little chance for the bowlers to showcase their talent. Only the maximum of ten and four overs are allowed to be bowled by a bowler respectively in ODIs and T20s, whereas no such restriction is imposed in Test match cricket. It is not just the skills of a bowler which earn him wickets in the shorter versions of the game. On the other hand, most of the wickets are taken by bowlers due to the hastiness of the batsmen. In Test cricket though, the bowlers are allowed to bowl any number of overs, at the discretion of the fielding captains. While anything down the leg side is ruled as a wide in limited overs formats, there is no such ruling in Tests. The ICC has been a bit liberal in case of bowling bouncers too, as compared to the other two formats.

While the major part of dismissals in ODIs and T20s occur through mistakes, like “when you miss – I hit”, leading edges, slog sweeps, hitting against the spin, the good balls do the trick more often than not in the longer version.

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