Test cricket is like fine dining in the age of burgers
With every passing decade, the challenge to maintain the status quo gets increasingly harder. There is a desire for prosperity and development, but also a need to retain identity and traditions; this conflict is often at the center of all our endeavors.
In today's fast-changing ecosystem, food gets delivered in 20 minutes, and kids learn trigonometry on the pad. The way we communicate is changing and of course, the way even a family is structured is changing.
Yes, we live in a world of TRPs and hashtags, in a world where trends or likes matter a lot to the video channels. But some people still like masala dosas or parathas in the age of pizzas and burgers; kids are still learning classical dance in the era of hip-hop.
The Royal Enfield came, progressed and is now accelerating again.
Cricket is changing too, and in fact has had significant growth in viewership over the course of last decade thanks to the advent of T20. But Test cricket has never lost its presence.
Test cricket will never compete against T20, as a marathon cannot compete against a 100 meter race. Given its robustness, Test cricket will remain largely impermeable to the change or so-called revolution.
The oldest form of cricket has had a wonderful year of heart-warming moments, and has provided the fans of the game with much to look forward to in the coming years.
We have been witness to the scenes of a broken-jawed Anil Kumble bowling with a bandage or a Graeme Smith coming in to bat after getting injured with a broken finger. The longest format makes the best players in the world uncomfortable, thus giving them a chance to emerge as heroes. The format allows you to show the real personality of the person beyond their basic skill sets.
The year 2018 produced fascinating cricket in the five-day format. With just five draws out of 48 Tests, the format has had a tremendous boost with plenty of positive numbers. And pitches have had a significant role to play this year; there seems to be an apparent shift in the way they are handled.
Test cricket needs nothing to be worried about. It will remain; it just needs to be passed on to the age of digital kids with a touch of education and guidance.
The nail-biting Test finishes during India's tours of South Africa and England; the away Test series wins for New Zealand and England in Asian conditions; India’s dominating performance in Australia - they have all yielded moments of joy, and raised expectations of many more such exhilarating matches in the coming year.
Yes, the year of 2018 raised doubts about the vulnerability of visiting teams. Playing away has always been a great challenge in every part of the world and further, there are no signs of any one team bossing the longest format.
With the first edition of the ICC World Test Championship slated to take place in the next couple of years, Test cricket will resume its battle of finding out the best team over a period of a few years. Although a new concept, it will challenge the best teams.
Bowling overs without a count, respecting dots as much as the boundary, tail-enders battling it out to secure a draw, playing against the rough on a 4th/5th-day pitch to go for a win - confronting adversity with a sense of responsibility, Test cricket demands qualities beyond specific skill sets.
The longest format yields quality cricket which the other formats can’t. Test cricket is special, as it has a different flavor. It is like fine dining in the era of burgers and pizzas.