Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Test Cricket or Twenty20 - What Tickles Your Fancy?

Chris Gayle has spoken and he has spoken just the way he bats - freely and without a care in the world.

Gayle talks about wanting to relinquish the West Indies captaincy and also states his preference towards Twenty20 cricket as opposed to test cricket.

That he doesn't want to continue as captain is not a surprise considering the long standing conflict between the West Indies Cricket Board and its players. It was bound to happen sooner or later.

What is more of a surprise to me is his desire to play Twenty20 over test cricket.

That is Gayle's preference and he is entitled to it, but the reason I'm surprised is because it comes at a time when most cricketers are talking about the importance of test cricket and how Twenty20 should not be allowed to take over it.

For example, another international captain in Younis Khan has expressed his desire to quit Twenty20 cricket after the World Cup to concentrate on test cricket and ODIs.

So it really is a matter of choice.

I reckon the players who are better at the longer version of the game would want to play that more than ODIs or Twenty20, while those that are better at the shorter version prefer those to tests.

The glaring difference of opinion is obvious in the on-going test series between England and the West Indies. While Andrew Strauss prefers test cricket, Gayle thinks otherwise.

That is not surprising considering Strauss is hardly a Twenty20 player.

A number of bloggers have also shared their opinion on Gayle voicing his views - some agree, some don't.

One of them though, TM of the Island Express, goes on to ask why test cricket should be played or watched at all.

"It is a profession - the idea is to do really well and make as much money as one can without letting it take over one's life. What is the argument for test cricket? The technique - mind numbing boredom of watching a batsment block delivery after delivery? Waiting desperately for highlights at end of play so no one need watch a Dravid bat? Someone give me a good reason for test cricket - a reason to disagree with Gayle"

Well TM, I'm sure that majority of the cricket fans would rather watch the beauty of Dravid grind out a test hundred after battling for a day, rather than watch him smash a 30 ball 50 in a Twenty20 game.

But again, its a matter of opinion and perception. Its about what tickles your fancy as a player and as a viewer.

Imran Khan doesn't care much for Twenty20 cricket; neither does Javed Miandad.

Samir misses the battles that used to be 5-test series that India used to play.

I know that Twenty20 cricket has created a whole new segment of fans for the sport, who are not fans of ODI or test cricket, so I'm sure there are many that support your view.

But that does not take away the high majority of cricket fans who enjoy the battle between bat and ball that a test match provides.

Nor does it take away the cricketers who still think that their is nothing like test cricket.

As for me personally, I enjoy watching all forms of the game, but I must say that over the years my patience for ODI cricket has been tested.

Yet, I enjoy a quick slam bang game of Twenty20 cricket as much as I enjoy the intense battle of a 5-day game.

Its not always about the quick money for less work - as I said, its about what tickles your fancy.

Make your pitch on this post...

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6 Pitched:

  1. ZQ said...

    I say you combine the three. Anyone for a one day, 2 innings twenty20? Each inning will be limited to 20 overs and each side gets to play 2 shortens the game, takes out the 'luck' aspect of a twenty20 and you get a chance of redeeming yourself in the second inning...perfect!

    As for me, theres nothing like watching the batting side either trying to chase down the runs or eek out a draw or the bowling side trying to bowl out the side on the 5th day of gruelling test match!

  2. Q said...

    ZQ: That is actually not a bad idea.. with the way ODI cricket is going I wont be surprised to see it implemented.. maybe a 4th form of the game!

    It was in fact implemented in the Australian domestic circuit some years ago.. they played a 50 overs a side 2 innings game with each side batting for 25 overs first.. it wasnt too successful..

    But I see no reason, why it cant be going forward..

  3. Rayden said...

    Although I prefer test cricket, I am getting really tired of ex-cricketers or cricketers not good as T20 always trying to put it down. At the end of the day, only that version will surive which the masses watch and like. Its all about economics. I say all three versions have a place but it is time old cricketers stop criticising T20. I was not too thrilled with Strauss criticising Gayle either. I liked Gayle's response.

  4. TM said...

    Thanks for picking up the post Q. Let me respond to your arguments.

    I can see why a Younis Khan or an Andrew Strauss (or Cook, Dravid et all) would rather concentrate on test cricket than on the shorter forms of the game - its the only place they are truly welcome and we all know how uncomfortable it can be to be someplace where you are not welcome!!

    I appreciate that it is about what tickles your fancy, but let me ask you this - the ICC, the cricket boards of England, India, Pakistan, Australia, South Africa and the cheating Allen Stanford all believe that T-20 is the monetary future of the game. If we agree that test matches are not put on TV to cater to the desires of 'true cricket fans' and that monetary consideration continues to underlie the broadcast, how long do you think it will be before sponsors refuse to underwrite test match cricket?

    There is a test series on now - SKY (as far as I know) is the broadcaster and has paid a hefty sum for the rights to broadcast this series - I assume that they hope to recover the money through advertising and the advertisers hope to recoup their investment through increased viewership? How many balls of this test match did you see? How many balls of this series are you likely to see? Does it make any sense for sponsors to try and entice you anymore? Can this series be fun when the captain of the opposition publicly claims that he is not interested?

    Economics ultimately triumphs - test cricket is eventually bound to be a novelty sport - only Indian cricket will keep it afloat for some time.

    The debate continues on as well - do join us there Q!!

  5. Q said...

    Rayden: I see what ur saying. I think they r just bitter that T20 was not around in their time for them to benefit from the fat pay checks!

  6. Q said...


    "I can see why a Younis Khan or an Andrew Strauss (or Cook, Dravid et all) would rather concentrate on test cricket..."

    Thats exactly my point. Where there will be players wanting to solely play T20, you will always have the Younises and Dravids who want to play only test cricket despite the more money and less work at T20.

    I also agree with the fact that all the boards realise that the money is in the T20 game BUT test cricket continues to thrive. Tests may not sell the stadiums but they still sell the TV rights and at the end of the day it is the TV that makes them the money.

    I dont think sponsors are going to run away from taking up test cricket on TV. The crowds may be smaller but TV audience is fine.

    I personally was relieved to see some test cricket on TV and I did watch majority of the match. I know majority of England also watched the test - the English blogs indicate the hype their was the for the test.

    I dont think test cricket is a novelty sport.. it continues to thrive and im sure theres ample viewership in England for SKY and the advertisers to recoup their money..

    Will hop over to Island Express as well...

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