R.I.P Test Cricket

       As a child visiting the George Headley Stand for various Test and One-Day Internationals, even skulking school to view the ICC’s World Cup of Cricket 2007 it is with distaste that I say, the premier format of the sport is dead and buried. Some might say that is as a result of modernization in the sport and a need for a faster and much more lively version of the game. Test matches were first used as the competitive dictator between two cricket teams, and it was not until 1975 that ODIs were introduced for international competition. It would seem as if as the game is shortened, so is the lifespan of the older and longer version of the sport. With the introduction of the twenty over game, the sport has seen a boom in marketing and commercialization, a revitalization that may solely be due to the multi-million dollar revenue generating Indian Premier League (IPL). Several other international cricket boards have followed suit and so much attention had been given to T20 Cricket that immediately after being introduced worldwide the International Cricket Council sanctioned a Cricket World Cup dedicated to the game’s shortest format.
     Some might protest that the livelihood of the sport was headed down a downward spiral especially since a Test match could end without either side being the victor. Certainly, I concur that after four to five days of next to uninterrupted cricket in the blistering heat, not recording a favourable result, with much at stake can grow rather frustrating; however it is my astute belief that the original format of the sport should be preserved. Cricketing tours were usually trod all year round with the outcoming champion having to have defeated cricket teams within and beyond their geographical regions over four days of continuous cricket. Nowadays these tours entail more ODIs & T20 fixtures with a few Test matches just to rank and place the teams in order of elongated or miniature levels of consistent performance, or none at all. It is safe to say that international Test Cricket rankings are overlooked in comparison to the ODI & T20 rankings along with the top bowlers, batsmen and all-rounders for each respective version.
        Test cricket has had a prestigious history, whether it be Perth, Lord’s, Auckland or right here at Sabina Park. The legendary Ashes Test Series has always been spicy and one after the other they keep one at the edge of his/her seat. The urn might have mighty or microscopic significance to the cricketers but I’m certain that after playing continuous cricket and emerging victorious one might develop a sense of accomplishment. Several milestones achieved in Test Cricket can only exist or be attempted during such a match, whilst others require several matches to challenge. These include record bowling hauls, undefeated innings consisting of unbelievable individual and team tallies just to name a few. The competitiveness of certain cricket teams in the format has certainly deteriorated and thus Test Cricket has suffered as a result. With only a maximum of five Test teams performing above average annually it is no wonder that the tour and tournament organizers face a mammoth task keeping interest in the sport. Seeing that, I might be foolhardy for thinking and hoping that Test Cricket has not yet seen her final days of glory. The recorded inventors of the game may or may not have intended this, however with the excitement that T20 Cricket has brought back to the sport, the future of the sport is in safe hands. Players are being cultivated specifically for certain formats and surely T20 Cricket has generated a lot of youth interest in the sport.
        T20 Cricket’s place among the other formats, even any revised or future formats, is undeniable and irreplaceable. In my opinion though, it takes great measures of skill, tactical analysis and mental duress to undergo continuous cricket. It is an authentic Test of the core makeup of these cricketing professionals, an ability to readily adapt to changing competition circumstances and a Test of communal morale. Professionals are forged from the toughest mettle, nevertheless, it has been proven and arguably, players of the other versions find it more difficult to substantially perform under the stipulated conditions of a Test match; as opposed to seasoned Test Cricketers. Additionally, champion Test cricketers have migrated to the other versions of the game and done exceptionally well. Some might have a little trouble adjusting at first but it’s not impossible, meanwhile it will surely take a One-Day or T20 Cricketer much longer to contribute significantly to his/her team’s overall performance. Therefore Test Cricket naturally deserves the utmost pinnacle of respect for its longstanding means of testing an individual and a unit as well as being a traditional sporting event, one can look forward to. If  Test Cricket is played lesser and lesser throughout the year, I believe it is owed some form of preservation through allocated competition yearly or bi-annually. Overall the sport has become more competitive, seeing more international teams emerging over time but even those teams may be confined to sub-par ODI performances. Similarly, in my opinion, Test Cricket needs the most supreme level of competition as does a machine need to be well-oiled.

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