Why we should appreciate Test cricket after the T20 extravaganza
India was locking horns with Australia in January and every Cricket analyst had their eyes glued like a hawk to every miniature moment of the series. The main purpose was to eke out every possible analytics for the 2016 World T20 in March to be staged on the turf of the inaugural Champions. The heat of T20 fever was at its peak.
The whole cricketing family was busy garnishing final touches to their preparations. Even the Asia Cup, in its glorious history of 20 years, saw its first version of T20 Cricket. All these served as a stage rehearsal for the T20 carnival in March. The World T20 was a huge blockbuster and in spite of India not coming up trumps, DJ Bravo’s Champions had at least the Indian contingent of the viewers vociferously roaring for them.
It was two months of T20 bashing and the fever was only seen proliferating among the fans which portrays the love and passion. The IPL huckster followed suit with the Orange Army, to everyone’s surprise, pinning down a star-studded Red Army in the finals.
Steadfastly enough it was from mid-winters to mid-summers in India that T20 had its stranglehold both on the players and the viewers. They say that more of anything is not good and quite rightly T20 Cricket is slowly, but surely taking a strident form.
Getting treated by delicious dishes is a treat to the tongue for any food fanatic, but serving them at regular intervals will give it a monotonic dimension that ultimately leads to complete displeasure. The TRP ratings for this year’s IPL is a palpable manifestation of the overindulgence of T-20 Cricket.
Dire requisite for a balanced cricketing diet
When Shaminda Eranga hurled down the inaugural delivery of the England vs Sri Lanka Test Series to Alastair Cook, the feeling was harmonious with that of soothing the ears with some slow romantic songs after they have been pounded by an array of screeching metal music. It was exactly like sanity prevailing after a few months of absolute rampage.
For an average Cricket follower, T20 may have entrenched its avenue to a poignant position in the mind, but it’s the ardent Cricket fanatic who misses out on the heavenly touch of the much-needed balance between all the three formats.
The fans, the broadcasters and for that matter, even the Cricket boards can’t be handed over the accountability for Cricket becoming a game only for the willow. Bathing in the sauna of a pressure-cooker daily work-life, if followed by some agricultural brand of Cricket, works as a rejuvenating tonic for the public. On the other hand profitability can’t be completely dismissed out of sight for the broadcasters, the sponsors and the Cricket Boards.
Cricket business attracts as a prolific and alluring source of income and with the growing huckster of the T20 format, the humongous task of getting mentally steady for repairing the already damaged treasures of Cricket awaits the honchos of the game.
Though not an impracticable one, but it’s no less than sheer disappointing to see the domestic T20 tournaments running away with it, undeservingly leaving behind the high profiled One Day Internationals and Test Matches in the dust.
The vigil of Test cricket
The Test Series vs South Africa saw tickets being defenselessly priced with the amount tantalisingly kissing the three figure mark. The World T20 had tickets sold for less than peanuts and a day has indeed come when for witnessing an IPL match live, one has to shell out a thousand bucks. And believe me or not, it’s nowhere to near to shelling out for International Cricket or I should say International Test Cricket.
Glamour has taken over class and elegance over the past few years. Short errands of engraving a positive image of the game, somewhere down the line, has been detrimental to the game’s cause. The game from 1970’s to the 2010’s had their share of equality both among the fans and the big daddies of Cricket, but since then it’s a story of two divergent lines going in opposite directions.
T20 Cricket, though had seen three World T20’s and a couple of IPL seasons, was still a new animal in the jungle of the game in 2010. A time when even foreign four-day domestic Cricket was a regular feature in the television, Cricket was the most pleasurable for someone who adores all forms of the game; domestic or international.
High time for some revamp
The alarm bells were loud enough to welcome pink-ball Test Cricket. It undoubtedly added a different aspect to the game, but it was more of one of the very first steps of dishing out a ventilator for a gasping-for-air Test Cricket. The jam-packed throngs gathering at grounds for classical Cricket has gradually gone out of existence with sombrely disguised empty stands being the story at least for now.
T20 Cricket provides entertainment, but an innings of 40 in 250 odd deliveries of Day five of a test match on a spitting cobra is no less appreciable and pleasurable than a blistering ton of 40 balls. It just needs open eyes to realise that entertainment lies in every form if one’s wishing to find it.
Preserving T20 Cricket does no harm, but not at the cost of the riches of the game. Glamour is essential but not at the expense of tradition. T20 over the past few months has been a form of entertainment, but now it’s time to shift the focus on what we refer to as copybook cricket.