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Revitalising Test cricket

Revitalising Test cricket
Highlights

December 1 marks a landmark day for the world cricket for two significant developments that transpired close on the heels of each another. The proposed moves by CA and CWG will leave a largely positive and enthusiastic impact and augur well for the sport.

December 1 marks a landmark day for the world cricket for two significant developments that transpired close on the heels of each another. The proposed moves by CA and CWG will leave a largely positive and enthusiastic impact and augur well for the sport.

Cricket Australia (CA) has done wonderfully well by declaring that they would be scheduling more day-night Test matches. The decision apparently stems from the overwhelming success of the experimental flood-lit Test between Australia and New Zealand at Adelaide Oval.

The response has been phenomenally extraordinary, considering that the total attendance touched 1,23,736 spread over three days, while the television audience was estimated at a staggering 3.19 million. It could have been of a bigger magnitude had the match lasted the entire five days.

The very concept of having Tests played under lights is reason enough to celebrate. Replacing the red cherry with a pink is surely a step in the right direction given the visibility factor.

Notwithstanding the myriad opposition that greets any new innovation, the fact of the matter is that necessity is the mother of invention. There were strident protests by Boards heading every Test playing nation in the 1970s when Kerry Packer pioneered coloured cricket and night games.

The Boards had to beat a hasty retreat seeing the impact it had generated and the money that came along. Today, ODI, the T20, IPL, Big Bash and all other Premier Leagues owe their popularity to the steadfast Packer, who gave a damn to the establishment and gave cricket (most matches were ending in dreary draws) a fresh lease of life with his pajama version.

It will be likewise a year from now as the day/night five-day ‘revitalising’ version is here to stay! It has been timed to perfection as there are few takers for regular Test matches, which has been made more worrisome with the dramatic decline in sponsorships.

Street-smart sponsors in India, for instance, wiser by experience and depressed over the massive fall in returns, are moving out of the cricket conundrum and embracing IBL, ISL and Pro-Kabaddi. This implies it makes economic sense if they eye the pot of gold and the financial jackpot from non-cricketing money-spinners.

Another major development has been the move by Commonwealth Games governing body that wishes to bring cricket back into its mainstream. It is no hearsay as CGF administrators are already in talks with the International Cricket Council (ICC) to get the nod. Of course, it will be in the shortest but the more exciting T20 format, which is understandable.

Cricket is no stranger to CWG as the 1998 edition held in Kuala Lumpur featured the sport wherein 16 teams took part in the 50-over affair. If the Federation is to be believed 71 national and territorial associations want cricket to figure prominently, sooner than later. A CWG re-entry may possibly lead the path to Olympics in the not-too-distant future. An Olympian tag has been the dream of many a cricketer including the likes of Sachin Tendulkar

Editor: Prof K Nageshwar
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