ICC Chairman - "Test cricket is dying"

Doss

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Part of ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar's comments on the Test championship that is being brought included this rather stark line.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/25944668/test-cricket-dying-shashank-manohar

Is it actually dying though?

I don't think it is. Has it changed? Yes. Is it being compromised in some places (like Australia) by terrible scheduling of first class competitions? Yes.

But, it's still popular with the crowds, in Australia and England at least (granted it does struggle in some other places). It's still popular with the players. And in the place where people have most commonly written Test cricket's obituary, namely the West Indies, you now have a core side who are complete in their commitment to the format, and they have just romped in the regaining of the Wisden Trophy as a result.

I do worry about what this signposts though, in terms of future direction from the top, if they actually believe the form of the game is on its deathbed.
 

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archibald

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#2
I think Test cricket will be ok in the immediate future. As a player there's a level of prestige and respect that only performing in test cricket will satisfy. Also the demographic of consumers brought up watching test cricket before the invention of t20 still have 40+ years left to advocate for it's preservation.

I do think there will be a greater number of day-night tests moving forward to satisfy broadcasters and perhaps the generation growing up on a gluttony of sixes and instant gratification will see things differently. Only time will tell.
 

PhatBoy

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#3
There are currently 9 sides who right at the moment, you could say are more than competitive at least when they are at home. To me that’s the basis for decent test cricket because you know that even a mismatch on paper can produce enthralling cricket. See South Africa losing in Sri Lanka etc.

The downside is when you get series like the one just completed where you get a side that is slightly better than average, or at least they are at home anyway, against a terrible touring team like Sri Lanka and the cricket is woeful.

The icc should be embracing the fact that of those 9 sides anyone can beat any other on a given day if a few dominoes fall their way. New Zealand are arguably the best they’ve been since the 80s, West Indies look on the way back, India have learned to play overseas, there’s an Ashes series on its way, Bangladesh after 18 years are starting to win test matches against the top tier, and even Zimbabwe got a win over them last year.

As long as fans don’t turn into ****heads and insist that runs have to be scored at breakneck speed, I see no issue for the future. Crowds are ok in a lot of places and rest assured they’ll grow in the west Indies if they continue to improve. UAE will never be good so the sooner we get a return to Pakistan the better
 

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#5
While Kohli holds Test cricket up as the highest form of the game, and his team back that up by holding their own overseas, it'll be ok.

Hopefully by the time he retires, D/N Test cricket has established itself worldwide and the Windies are back to being a consistently good team.

CA getting their shit together re scheduling would be nice too.
 

Cleavy

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#7
"If you look at the TRPs of the broadcasters, T20 has the maximum TRP."
In other words, it is dying because the ICC like most sporting bodies (and all national cricket bodies) will be putting money ahead of the sport they are supposed to be custodians of.
and then the ICC will want to shorten the Tests to 4 days, which means they can squeeze another T20 game or two in.
 

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#8
I would rather a juiced up pitch with the result determined in 3 days, than the drawn out 5 days.

Fortunately when we played India they were enthralling tests, but generally speaking that isnt the norm in World Cricket.
 

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I think the problem is that administrators (and the mainstream media to a lesser extent) completely underestimate the patience and intelligence of the sporting public. It’s often assumed that we’re the great unwashed and all we want are sixes every over and wickets tumbling left right and centre, loud music playing, fireworks going off, pre-match entertainment and cheerleaders dancing whenever there’s a lull in play. T20 leagues around the world provide that hit-and-giggle style of cricket that it’s assumed we’re all craving, hence statements from administrators and articles from the media proclaim that test cricket is dying because it’s boring and no one has the patience for it anymore.

Maybe I’m naive in thinking that most cricket followers (and even more casual sports followers) have a thirst for a deeper contest than shorter forms of the game can provide, but I just don’t buy the simple line of thinking that test cricket has no future. In my opinion it has a fair way to run yet.
 

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#13
Stop scheduling bloody two match series then, and stop overindulging the "Big 3" rivalries. Australia not playing the West Indies for 8 years (by 2023) is an absolute disgrace. Get back to the simple home and away every four years model, and make the test championship series a minimum of 3 tests.

ICC needs to set strict scheduling rules and enforce them. None of this India refusing to play Pakistan crap. If they don't want to play them, they forfeit the points.
 

Leeda

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#15
I feel a 'petition' coming on from those notable players from the past thirty years to show that a very long
team sport should be continued.

Get it on board that a lot of people still like to watch the slooooow transport of the test match over just under a week if they are good
enough. Watching a slow game is kind of relaxing and well the old days was a bit of bash, a bit of speed ball, and a bit of grumpyness
along with a perfect addition of the best kind of banter we know.. steve waugh where are you now?...
 

to1994

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#16
I think the key for Test cricket is for the boards to figure out ways to make more revenue from it that don't rely on people being at the game or glued to the couch for 5 days straight.

If anything, Test Cricket should have more going for it then it did 20 years ago. Nowadays people can stay up to date on the scores from their phone or browser while at work, whereas years ago you'd be relying on the radio to be on and at best would hear about the scores in the radio on the way home.

Times have changed, people don't have the time or attention span to sit around watching a 5 day Test from start to finish. That doesn't mean there's no interest in the contest though and I'd argue more people are actually following Test cricket then ever before, they just aren't actively watching it from start to finish. They're checking scores, probably tuning in to the TV for key moments etc. but also more importantly, with the age of the internet they're also likely watching more interviews, reading more news in the build up and can also keep an eye on multiple games of cricket thanks to these apps.

How can they create revenue from this? Well speaking for Australia the board needs to stay ahead and instead of relying on get rich quick deals with Fox they should be doing more to control the broadcast avenues themselves. Australian's shouldn't be going to Cricbuzz or Cricinfo for their coverage the best way to follow the game should be via either the Cricket Australia App or a Foxtel/Channel 7 app. The fact that no Australian option is as good just tells you they're getting it wrong.

Speaking from a commercial standpoint there has to be ways to monetize this. You can have ads at the bottom of the screen at all times like Cricbuzz has, you can have ad pop ups occasionally and even company logos etc. next to each ball. I'm not the expert but they're basically ignoring this avenue and just relying on what they've done from the start (TV) and it just doesn't work with 5 Day Cricket.

T20 is a more viable product for television in 2019 but it's not a better product. No one can be bothered going to a full day of Test Cricket anymore, people have other options for entertainment and with the quality of cameras/broadcasts these days being at the game isn't as good as it once was. Instead of saying it's "dying" realise there's more interest then ever for good Test Cricket, but people will follow it in their own, different ways via apps, highlights, pre-series coverage etc. and if you can't find ways to monetize it, it's not on people being uninterested it's on the boards failing to do their job.
 

Leeda

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#17
however how does this all translate into bums on seats and getting people or an adequate number to actually go to one day of the
cricket. or is this not as important anymore and that tickets are going to be more expensive as a result.
Or even that online structures like you say will pay for it.. and is it just about money or about a game that getting a certain number
of people to go and watch. It is all about the money after all nowadays and the players contracts and should these be reduced as a
consequence of lower fan participation.. god it is getting murky as to what we all want and what we will all pay and where it is going
to end and it is getting a little superficial in the signs of money which is owed to players and then the fans are slugged for this 'and that'
and so it goes on with a rush of fever pitch that we don't know where it ends..
 

Richard Pryor

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#18
I think the key for Test cricket is for the boards to figure out ways to make more revenue from it that don't rely on people being at the game or glued to the couch for 5 days straight.

If anything, Test Cricket should have more going for it then it did 20 years ago. Nowadays people can stay up to date on the scores from their phone or browser while at work, whereas years ago you'd be relying on the radio to be on and at best would hear about the scores in the radio on the way home.

Times have changed, people don't have the time or attention span to sit around watching a 5 day Test from start to finish. That doesn't mean there's no interest in the contest though and I'd argue more people are actually following Test cricket then ever before, they just aren't actively watching it from start to finish. They're checking scores, probably tuning in to the TV for key moments etc. but also more importantly, with the age of the internet they're also likely watching more interviews, reading more news in the build up and can also keep an eye on multiple games of cricket thanks to these apps.

How can they create revenue from this? Well speaking for Australia the board needs to stay ahead and instead of relying on get rich quick deals with Fox they should be doing more to control the broadcast avenues themselves. Australian's shouldn't be going to Cricbuzz or Cricinfo for their coverage the best way to follow the game should be via either the Cricket Australia App or a Foxtel/Channel 7 app. The fact that no Australian option is as good just tells you they're getting it wrong.

Speaking from a commercial standpoint there has to be ways to monetize this. You can have ads at the bottom of the screen at all times like Cricbuzz has, you can have ad pop ups occasionally and even company logos etc. next to each ball. I'm not the expert but they're basically ignoring this avenue and just relying on what they've done from the start (TV) and it just doesn't work with 5 Day Cricket.

T20 is a more viable product for television in 2019 but it's not a better product. No one can be bothered going to a full day of Test Cricket anymore, people have other options for entertainment and with the quality of cameras/broadcasts these days being at the game isn't as good as it once was. Instead of saying it's "dying" realise there's more interest then ever for good Test Cricket, but people will follow it in their own, different ways via apps, highlights, pre-series coverage etc. and if you can't find ways to monetize it, it's not on people being uninterested it's on the boards failing to do their job.
I'm not sure I would enjoy aggressive monetization of Test cricket, and I think it could actually be counterproductive, destroying the mystique of Test cricket, if the sponsorships are too prominent (i.e. "And he's out for a Red Rooster LBW") or something.

Could prove necessary though, as mystique doesn't pay bills.
 

to1994

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#20
I'm not sure I would enjoy aggressive monetization of Test cricket, and I think it could actually be counterproductive, destroying the mystique of Test cricket, if the sponsorships are too prominent (i.e. "And he's out for a Red Rooster LBW") or something.

Could prove necessary though, as mystique doesn't pay bills.
Don't get me wrong. I can't stand stuff like that and nothing is more chringeworthy then listening to the t20 commentary and hearing them talk about the "Alinta Energy Ball", I'm just pointing out that the boards are stuck in their ways doing nothing to strengthen the position of Test Cricket.

I could suffer through a few ads on a quality Cricket Australia app/streaming service (and mind you there should always be a completely ad free option available via subscription) if it meant that Tests were the product being prioirtised. t20 is lucrative for CA but as we've seen it's losing steam and no matter how you negotiate the TV rights a kick up the backside is needed when it comes to how everyone can access the content. This should accompany Channel 7's coverage but it should be of an even higher quality including all the things I mentioned above.

Australia is the front runner to actually kick start something like this, we have one of the richest boards, England are even more old fashioned and still have their cricket completely behind a paywall so I'd bank on them doing absolutely nothing while India has no need given it's the most popular sport there anyway.
 

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#21
The Smashes

Australia v England
India v Pakistan
Ireland v Scotland
South Africa v Zimbabwe
Sri Lanka v NZ
Afghanistan v Bangladesh
West Indies (Caribbean) v Nth/Cen/Sth America All stars?
Gee how will the Tamil and Sinhalese people manage to contain themselves at the prospect of uniting to cheer on their heroes against their mutual oppressors from New Zealand after the 0 years of subjugation imposed on them by their southern (distant) neighbours
 
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#22
It's aging out. The Ashes is deeply reliant on nostalgia for marketing. And 10 countries don't have an Ashes.
I dunno so much. Ashes generates mass interest, but:

Aust vs India is always hotly contested, with plenty of feeling.
India vs Pak is always fiercely fought and means a lot.
Aust would hate to be beaten by little brother NZ, and likewise NZ love to bash their big brother given half a chance.
 

Len Nicodemo

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#23
I think the problem is that administrators (and the mainstream media to a lesser extent) completely underestimate the patience and intelligence of the sporting public. It’s often assumed that we’re the great unwashed and all we want are sixes every over and wickets tumbling left right and centre, loud music playing, fireworks going off, pre-match entertainment and cheerleaders dancing whenever there’s a lull in play. T20 leagues around the world provide that hit-and-giggle style of cricket that it’s assumed we’re all craving, hence statements from administrators and articles from the media proclaim that test cricket is dying because it’s boring and no one has the patience for it anymore.

Maybe I’m naive in thinking that most cricket followers (and even more casual sports followers) have a thirst for a deeper contest than shorter forms of the game can provide, but I just don’t buy the simple line of thinking that test cricket has no future. In my opinion it has a fair way to run yet.
I like to think of this generation (2000 and beyond) as the fingertip generation; everything we have is accessible at the tap of a phone or click of a button. Last year my daughter was 3 and could use an I phone to watch ABC Kids (not the worst app you can have). To put that in perspective when I was 3 in 1988;
There was no internet
Mobile phones were probably pretty new
Melbourne made a GF!
Ted Bundy was still alive
House prices were a fraction of the price
The Berlin Wall still stood
You rented videos
Not everyone has a VHS player

That’s perspective. Sport like everything has gone the way of commercialisation and to be exciting & popular. The market demands instantaneous fixes because that’s what life is about. There’s no patience. The ICC has recognised this as an opportunity to provide entertainment to a market and to adjust their product accordingly. That’s why you see a BBL game packed out compared to a fifth day test match that goes down to the wire. People want fast, colourful and instantaneous entertainment in record time.

The only way for test cricket to become relevant again is to have improved competition in every nation who plays. If any team could be competitive anywhere, then it would raise the level of entertainment. We have to also cultivate a mindset that test cricket is the greatest level of cricket. If you look at what is exciting about cricket, people will say the big shots, the huge sixes and the big names hitting it out of the stadium.

I believe that we need to see better playing surfaces that go 5 days and still get a result; aka, Perth v India. Let’s bring the bowlers back into it, let’s see the fast West Indians dishing up hostile bowling spells again, make the GABBA and Perth the wickets for pace bowling. Don’t just put out roads all the time. We also need to appreciate the skill levels and characteristics of good test batsman, because they far outweigh what a BBL slogger has up their sleeve.

My son (if he gets into cricket like I did), will be taught that BBL or T20 is just hit and giggle, that Test Cricket is the pinnacle of the game. The best cricketers are guys like Khan, Richards, Holding, Marshall, Ponting, McGrath, Hayden, KP, and Steyn. It’s not some BBL slugger like Lynn.

Let’s put the focus back on the Test cricket.
 

Len Nicodemo

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#24
I dunno so much. Ashes generates mass interest, but:

Aust vs India is always hotly contested, with plenty of feeling.
India vs Pak is always fiercely fought and means a lot.
Aust would hate to be beaten by little brother NZ, and likewise NZ love to bash their big brother given half a chance.
But does this generation know this? You’ve got to look at kids born from say, 2000-2005 onwards. Is the 12 year old boy or girl next door going to understand that rivalry? Will they watch re runs of the 2005 ashes series? Or will cricket to them just be the Melbourne Stars?
 

Len Nicodemo

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#25
Stop scheduling bloody two match series then, and stop overindulging the "Big 3" rivalries. Australia not playing the West Indies for 8 years (by 2023) is an absolute disgrace. Get back to the simple home and away every four years model, and make the test championship series a minimum of 3 tests.

ICC needs to set strict scheduling rules and enforce them. None of this India refusing to play Pakistan crap. If they don't want to play them, they forfeit the points.
Yeah bang on point. Love this call mate. Like you say, the West Indies? I used to love watching us play them. It was to me, the greatest test, way better than England.

A meaningless two test series against SL just was a waste of time. It should’ve been a 3 test series at minimum, or a 3 test series v NZ. The politics involved in Indian cricket for example is disgraceful, as you say, if India don’t want to play Pakistan they lose points.

There’s no reason not to play everyone on a frequent rolling 3-4 year basis.
 
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