Too much of a good thing is bad. That is what will happen as Twenty20 cricket swamps over all other forms of cricket. The IPL begins April 7 and will continue until May 28. All eyes will be focused on the tournament which is the showpiece of the year. T20 matches will be on offer relentlessly day in and day out.
Then there are other T20 events schemed in just before the IPL begins. In other words, the cricket world will be in a T20 state of mind. Yes, T20 provides quick, result-oriented matches whose duration is only four hours at the maximum.
But they can get boring and repetitive. This happens when one team keeps losing a string of matches. Or when the wickets don’t offer help to bowlers. Sometimes high scoring matches become dull as the bowlers get pounded on batting tracks.
There are signs already that the cricket authorities are trying to cut down the number of Test matches to accommodate more one-day and T20 matches. For example, England will play only two Tests in New Zealand. India’s recent tour to South Africa had only three Tests and at least 10 matches in the shorter version.
Test cricket is the purest form of the game and only hardcore enthusiasts still follow it.
England all-rounder Moen Ali recently expressed disappointment that Test cricket is in danger of becoming extinct after the low crowd turnout for the major Ashes tournament in Australia which England lost.The authorities need to sort this mess urgently. Just coming up with reforms to improve Tests are not enough.
There must be proper scheduling of all forms of cricket. Else all countries will be playing only shorter versions of the game and Test match cricket will become extinct.
Cricketing skills will not be required. Anyone who can hoick the ball far and wide will become the new hero. Bowlers who send down a bit of everything will be in the limelight. Techniques will be a thing of the past. Building an innings will become redundant. Defence and patience will have no place.
Bowlers won’t have time to work out batsmen. The shorter versions have destroyed the technical skills of many a player. Having no Test cricket at all is a scary thought. One hopes that day does not come.
The shorter versions bring in money for the boards. But greed will not pay all the time. The authorities took so long to increase the global footprint of the game and only recently expanded the number of teams participating in Tests.
Teams like Afghanistan, Ireland and Namibia among others have been playing well since quite a few years. But the International Cricket Council (ICC) took their own time to admit them. They have actually reduced the number of teams for the next World Cup to 10, making it difficult for such teams to make an entry.
This elitist attitude must go. All teams take small steps before getting into their stride. Cricketing authorities all the over the world need to use their heads instead of stagnating in the narrow path of making money.
And Test cricket must remain in the scheme of things.
#All views expressed in this column are the Authors and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.