Survival of Test Cricket – Past, Present & Future

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(Bill Woodfull faces a Bodyline field in the 4th Test match in Brisbane, 1933)

Test Cricket is the longest form of Cricket. The Test matches are contested by the 12 ICC full member nations. In test cricket, the two teams play a four-innings match and the test cricket is the only format of the game where each team has the opportunity to bat and bowl two times in the same match. A standard test cricket match is scheduled to be played over 5 consecutive days where each day’s play usually lasts for 7 hours including 2 breaks, 40 minutes break for lunch and 20 minutes break for tea. Players in test cricket wear the traditional white jerseys and the match is played using a red ball.

History of Test Cricket

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England first discovered the game of cricket in the late 18th century. However, the French Revolution and the American Civil War interrupted the growth of International Cricket at that time. The first ever official cricket match was played between the USA and Canada in 1844. The first recognized official test cricket match was played between England and Australia in 1877 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and Australia won the game by 45 runs. The match began on 15 March 1877 and ended on 19 March 1877. In the year 2012, ICC came with the concept of playing day/night test matches and the introduction of the pink ball. Until 2015, a Test cricket match was always played during the day. The first day/night test match was played between Australia and New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval on 27th November 2015 and Australia won the first ever day-night cricket test by 3 wickets.

(First Day Night Test Match – Australia Vs. New Zealand Full Highlights)

The Significance of Test Cricket

Test Cricket is the ultimate test of a cricketer. The name “TEST” itself indicates that this format of the sport tests both the physical and mental abilities of a sports person. Test  Cricket is considered as the golden opportunity for a player to showcase their ability, skill, and toughness. Test Cricket separates the best from the rest. The success of any sports is measured by its ability to attract people to the stadium, and this is where Test Cricket has been lagging. Earlier, people were so interested in this format of the sport and wherever they go they used to get updated with the live score of the game.

(1932 Indian Test Cricket Team)

Problems Afflicting Test Cricket

The traditional long form of the game i.e. Test Cricket is running behind the times in the 21st century. The introduction of shorter, and shortest-form of cricket is affecting the test cricket most. Interested people are getting scared that Test cricket is disappearing. The trends of money making franchise-based cricket seem to divert the mind of a player. People barely come to the stadium these days to watch test cricket, whenever they get time what they do is just sit in front of their television screen or check the live score of the game on the internet.

The decline of the quality of cricket pitches is another reason affecting test cricket. Earlier, pitches were prepared to witness an even contest between the bat and the ball. It had something to offer to everyone. Nowadays curator prepare pitches that help the home side only.

Future of Test Cricket

Logo of ICC World Test Championship

Introduction of Test Championships (First Edition: 2019–21) and popularizing the test cricket at the grass-root level can resolve this crisis.

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