Why Test cricket is on the brink of fading away
Change is inevitable
Cricket, for the elites, started way back in the 18th century in England when the superior class walked out wearing their whites. With expectations at a halt, the sport marked a place in people's heart.
Back in the 1800s, Test cricket was the only format and the crowd came in large numbers to support the beautiful game but a change now is inevitable.
The development of new formats resulted in devastating depreciation for red ball cricket. Depreciation which divided its supporters into two groups - cricket purists who were and are keen on watching five-day cricket, the other, the familiar ones, those who love the shorter versions of the game.
Cricket in whites raises unanswered questions, ones which can hardly be answered. Is Test cricket suitable for commercial purposes? Three hours of entertainment or 5 days of admiration? Most on any day would prefer T20 cricket over the purest form.
The viewership problem
One can inculpate T20 cricket for stealing the thunder but the problem lies in viewership. Has the International Cricket Council (ICC) taken enough steps to promote Test cricket? The ICC recently gave T20I status to all member countries. Is this the road ahead for the sport? With different T20 leagues around the world, the T10 tournament and the Hong Kong Sixes, is the trend changing or has it changed already?
Go on a wild goose chase! The 100-ball format is another development which is ready to hamper Test cricket's desire to thrive. The sight of three slips is more exciting than boundary riders who are constantly looking to improve. Unfortunately, this exciting sight is the least preferred in most countries.
Drastic times call for drastic changes. The ICC conducted the first-day night Test back in 2014. Pink ball tests became regular over time but how has the scenario changed for Test Cricket? Test cricket is currently standing on thin ice and to avoid this ice from melting, they must try and pullulate cricket in whites.
Terms related to Test cricket are gradually perishing. Resilience, endurance, class and swing are slowly and gradually fading at an unprecedented rate albeit T20 cricket also requires a considerable amount of skill.
Innovative shots, elevated fielding standards and new variations are a regular part of the game but the classical leave on an outswinging delivery still remains a sight restricted only to Test cricket.
The level of skill and talent in T20 cricket has hit a new benchmark but the format doesn't cover the whole nine yards of the beauty of the sport. The challenge in Test cricket is fascinating.
Test cricket needs to be promoted for its survival
Test cricket in England still attracts a number of viewers, even more than the Natwest T20 Blast. The scenario is different in other countries. The Indian subcontinent, South Africa, the Carribean, these venues hardly witness crowds in the longer format.
Endangered species need to be preserved, preserved in a way which saves them, which prolongs their life. The need of the hour shall be addressed and the extremity should be understood. Test cricket should be promoted, more than promotion, it is in dire need of support which the youngsters are not ready to provide.
Without necessary measures, Test cricket will go down in flames, cricket purists will be teary-eyed, more leagues will evolve, the red ball will disappear and cricket would die. The ball sailing into the stands will eventually become the preferred option, and in the blink of an eye, Test cricket will fade away!