Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Test cricket is here to stay

Gentleman dressed in white wielding their willows or shining the red cherries always earned the respect of cricket enthusiasts. Test cricket has been trying to hold its own, with tough competition from ODI cricket and the even shorter format, Twenty20 cricket in its recent years.

Twenty20, introduced by England initially, began to extract large revenues from ticket sales and endorsements. It was started in order to attract the crowds towards the stadiums and was successful in doing so. People found this format entertaining, as the result was decided in a short span of 3 hours.

With the rise of Twenty20; test cricket took a back seat. Test cricket played during the calendar year began to decrease as twenty20 matches became a permanent fixture in any tour. The world began to witness how the Gentlemen's game fell into the nexus of the commercialized version of the game. Then the Indian Premier League and the Stanford League came into existence to capitalize on the growing popularity.

Test cricket began to lose its luster as crowds began to find the 5 day game longer and boring. Due to this fact, the International Cricket Council has come up with plans to make Test cricket exciting-there are even talks of staging a test cricket world cup! Test cricket still remains to be a top priority among international renowned cricketers.

Test cricket gets the best out of a player-it's an ultimate test for any cricketer. Playing for 5 days in a row demands immaculate concentration, determination, and temperament. So the hard-fought earned victory of over 5 days is much sweeter than any other victory.

One of the most thrilling aspects of test cricket is the 22 yards pitch where cricket is to be played over 5 days. These days the pitches are tailor made according to the wishes of the home team. The best cricket is played on those sporting wickets which have something for batsmen, faster bowlers and spinners too. Test cricket does not give batsmen the chance to score free and easy runs with strong fielding arrangements.

The vanishing art of Reverse swing bowling can be seen only in test cricket, where the same ball is used for a minimum of 80 overs. Its master exponent was Wasim Akram. Only good batsmen can handle these deliveries with perfection, else they will look totally helpless and lost. Three players who immediately spring in our minds are Malinga, Anderson and Zaheer Khan from the current list of players who are near to mastering it.

Test cricket is here to stay. Twenty20 cricket is like a baby, who will be loved by everyone initially. The 50 over game has to be nurtured and monitored regularly. Why do players first get a chance to represent their countries in the shorter format of the game, and then later the longest format of the game? It is because the players need to pass the "Test" of a Twenty and a Fifty over game before being declared fit to play the purest form of cricket-Test cricket.

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