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T20s have actually benefitted Test cricket: Dr Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor with former IPL chairman Lalit Modi during IPL 2010. Image Credits: ESPNcricinfo
Shashi Tharoor with former IPL chairman Lalit Modi during IPL 2010. Image Credits: ESPNcricinfo
Modified 04 Sep 2020, 17:25 IST

Lok Sabha MP Dr Shashi Tharoor has spoken in favour of T20 cricket, saying that the shortest version of the game has not only revolutionised cricket but has helped increase the pace of Test cricket, attracting more audience in the process.

In a live chat with Indranil Basu on Sportskeeda’s Facebook page, Dr Shashi Tharoor spoke about Sunil Gavaskar’s reign as the Indian captain and the many Test matches in the 1970s and 80s that ended in draws.

He said that T20 cricket has helped reduce the number of drawn Tests, in turn, making it more interesting for the common man.

“The number of draws in Test matches before T20s came into existence and the number of draws thereafter, I think you will find a very steep drop off. Because thanks to T20, people have come up with innovative strokes, your reverse sweeps being tried in Test matches, you have more push for results and the audiences are also demanding more. So, in my view, the T20 game has actually benefitted Test cricket,” Dr Tharoor, who was associated with the erstwhile IPL franchise Kochi Tuskers Kerala, said.

However, Dr Shashi Tharoor feels that T20 matches can only be enjoyed from the stands. He reasoned that one cannot gauge the big hits and crowd atmosphere if not present at the ground. He also added that unlike Test cricket, even dot balls become crucial to the result of a T20 encounter.

“Even if a defensive stroke is played and therefore slows down the asking rate or prevents somebody getting to the other side in time to hit a big shot the next over. That's part of the excitement of a T20 match live. The evolution of the T20 match is absent from a T20 highlights where you are really getting a highlights package of a highlights package,” Dr Tharoor, who also worked as an international diplomat, added.

There have been fewer drawn Tests in the T20 era

England v Pakistan: Day 5 - Third Test #RaiseTheBat Series
England v Pakistan: Day 5 - Third Test #RaiseTheBat Series

Dr Shashi Tharoor’s words indeed hold water for there is a sharp contrast in the numbers.

According to stats on ESPNcricinfo, 168 of the 390 Tests played between 1969 and 1985 ended in draws, accounting for 43.1 per cent of the total matches.

The ratio, however, came down to 38.9 for Tests played between 1986 and 1999. And post that period, it has seen a sharp drop. The percentage of drawn Test matches between 2000-2009 and 2010-2020 are 24.6 and 19.2 respectively.

Published 04 Sep 2020, 17:25 IST
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