The four test cricket match series currently played between India and Australia reveals a stark reality. Though Australia and India are the top teams in the cricket world, now holding the No.1 and 2 ranks in the ICC test cricket ratings respectively, the popular attendance for the four test series in Bengaluru, Mohali, Delhi and in Nagpur has been very poor. Cricket circles especially the ICC and the BCCI are worried over it.
Cricket has become a religion in India. BCCI is the richest cricket controlling body in the world to the envy of all other cricket playing countries. Many cricket stars and world record holders in cricket like Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni,latest bowling sensation Ishant Sharma are playing in the Indian cricket team. Australian cricket team has cricket giants like Ricky Ponting, Mathew Hayden and rising stars like Mike Hussey and Michale Clarke and speedster Bret Lee. Despite of all these plus points in favor of current test cricket series, still all the above mentioned test cricket venues have attracted very little crowd.
When we proceed to analyse the reasons for the poor turn out for the current cricket series being played between India and Australia, we arrive at the following conclusions:-
1)Shorter version of the cricket like ODI and Twenty Twenty matches have gained popularity and they attract more crowd.The IPL and ICL series are partly to blame.
2)ODI and Twenty Twenty games are result oriented and being played on a single day with 50 overs and 20 overs respectively. Whereas the test cricket match is being played for five days continuously and there is no guarantee and you cannot remain rest assured that a team will win. For example, in the current India -Australia test series, India having already won the Mohali test and one up in the test series, is playing with a negative approach and mindset aiming for a draw and a series win, so as to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy from Australia.
3)When a test match is meandering for a draw, it is dull and prosaic. But people who come to witness a match all the way from different parts of a country spending money and time are not prepared to witness a dull event that too for a period of five days.
4)Getting leave or permission for a single day to witness a cricket match is comparatively easy than obtaining leave or permission for five days. Finding accommodation for a single day is comparatively easy and cheaper than seeking accommodation for five days.
5)When a test match is played in a flat pitch,it becomes the batsman paradise and a bowlers' dilemma.Records may tumble but it is very difficult to get a result and the teams may struggle to dismiss a team twice in a match.
6)Live telecast of the cricket match is the another reason that leads to poor turn out.
Though one can not deny the fact that test cricket has got its own drawbacks as mentioned above, still it is the real cricket to test ones' cricketing talent and character to assess how one performs in a crunch situation.
Recently while commenting upon the cricket test match in Nagpur during the fourth test match being played between India and Australia, former Indian cricket player Ravi Sasthri has spelled out some concrete proposals to revamp the test cricket so as to make it more result oriented, interesting and to attract crowds. His proposals are really interesting, meaningful and noteworthy and merits consideration both by the ICC and the BCCI.
Ravi Sasthri suggests for the restriction of overs per innings, say 100 overs per innings in a test match, which is bound to produce a result in a test match which is otherwise dull.He also suggests for the preparation of bouncy pitches for the test matches which are bound to test the real character of a cricket player as a batsman besides assisting the bowler.
Revamping of test cricket on the above lines is the urgent need of the hour.Otherwise, it may go into oblivion in the near future.
Let us hope that test cricket will regain its preeminence very soon and provides a real entertainment to the people.
1.The Hindu (daily)
2.Deccan Chronicle (daily)
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