Test cricket is dying, let's help save it

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Gibbke

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I was in Santorini at a bar which must have been the local pom hangout...just Brits and a tv showing the inaugural England v Ireland test match last July. England all out for 85 on day 1, but beat Ireland when they pulled their fingers out of their arses and bowled them out for 30-something in 2 hours on day 3...

Right there is the difference. England is England, Ireland is Ireland. At the core is 250 + years of cricket heritage and pathway development, which some of the test nations possess but several don't, which gets pulled out when they need it. While you will get short busts of unpredictability, the status quo will be Australia, England and India pumping out the players and the bucks, SA and Pakistan pumping out the players, and SL, WI and NZ in this current day money driven market being too small to dictate their own fortunes either through bucks or player depth (although their best is as good as anyone else). What happened 50 years ago is now irrelevant...when I was growing up the WI were the superpower, India was a token test side everyone beat, and Afghanistan was a war zone invaded by Russia. What's been set up now is very concrete...it's all about national cricket infrastructure and who's paying the bills...

Doesn't matter what rules you put in place (if you intend to preserve the essence of test cricket at least) - tests are a sport you simply cannot fluke your way through. You can do that in a T20, and it has happened in ODI's, but mere cosmetic changes will not dilute the pedigree of the teams walking onto the field...you'll get one offs, but 143 years of history says it won't be often...
 

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big_e

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Better preparation.

NZ have been killed here because they prepared by playing at home. Pakistan picked a strange sqaud, and even stranger XIs.

Australia drew the Ashes because we'd been there three months before the series started. That obviously is an unusual occurrence, but even sending fringe players out here the season before would help immeasurably.

And frankly, we have to talk about scheduling of the tests. Starting at the Gabba is great for Australia, but puts touring teams under pressure straight away, and breaks some altogether, and it does nothing for competitiveness of the summer.
 

TommyD13

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Agree with what was being said earlier. We need more preparation for touring sides and we need less garbage ODI games that just clog the calendar. Did NZ even play a warm-up fixture here apart from that Victoria game after the first test?


Sent from my iPhone using BigFooty.com
 

gordo2016

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Still don’t know what that would achieve? If you think the toss can be unfair then look no further than day night test cricket, two sides playing in totally different worlds.
It would give the touring side a slightly better chance of being competitive, instead of getting hammered which most of them do.
 

Barlos Crathwaite

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Aside from the odd game here and there, teams beating other teams at home are smoking them consistently, not many of those matches are close losses either with the odd rain affected draw. The WTC final therefore will probably be played by the two teams who win the most at home. Us and India. Get ready for that every two years
 

Greenstar5

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As has been mentioned already, the calendar is just so busy teams are expected to travel the world and play and win. We see England have just had a huge WC Ashes double at home. Fly the NZ play 2 tests, then straight to SAF for the test series there. Doesn't seem like much time to prepare, or even time to have a break.

Also feels like a real lack of 'A' tours from nations anymore.

It will be interesting see how we prepare for the upcoming tour of Bangladesh.
 

melanChronic

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One way to avoid one sided test series could be to have WTC rubbers that span the conditions of both countries.

Have a four match series with two matches in each country, no tosses (away team chooses). Snagging a draw away would be very valuable (a bit like getting an away goal in Champions league).
 

Howard Littlejohn

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The first thing that would have to happen is the nations (especially the few wealthy ones) put the game above the short term finances of their own nations. This is clearly not going to happen.
Without that starting point, the chances of Ireland, Zimbabwe actually still playing Tests in ten years are highly dubious. West Indies are doubtful too. Afghanistan, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka should all still be playing Tests but it would not be a great surprise if at least one isn't.
It could be argued that only having four or five Test nations would make them more competitive, which is what was being asked, but it is hardly healthy for the game.


Instead of the already wealthy nations demanding a larger slice of the ICC funds be returned to them, money needs to be allocated towards teams that currently lose money hosting Tests to allow them to host - and play - more. (As well as Associates.) For somewhere like Zimbabwe, the ICC may need to pay players directly until suich time as Zimbabwean cricket is run by people somewhat less corrupt than has been the case for a long time.

Tour games need to return as proper warm-up matches. At least two four day games before any Test series. Again, finances and a crowded calendar get in the way of that.

The away team automatically being deemed toss winners might help, and finding some way of reversing the pitch doctoring trend. That is difficult, finding truly independent oversight on what is a very subjective matter is probably not possible.

The WTC needs to include all Test nations. Essentially having two-tiers of top-tier cricket doesn't make sense. Hopefully in the next cycle this will be rectified, but I don't think its going to be high on the agenda of any of the current nine nations.

Rules around who can play T20 tournaments need to be examined to lessen the possibility of players from less wealthy, low-paying, nations of retiring - or making themselves unavailable - in order to play the T20 circus ahead of national duties. A good IPL, even BBL, contract can be worth more financially than an international series or three will pay players of many nations.

Limiting the number of ODIs and T20Is played would be benficial to allow more room in the calendar. But that only really impacts the wealthy nations anyway. The weaker nations need more cricket, of any sort. While T20 doesn't teach good Test habits, if they can play higher quality teams that way it is probably better than not playing them in any form.

Imports, I am not so sure on. I sort of wouldn't mind it for players from Associate nations. They continue to play T20I and LOI/ListA for their real nation, but could be picked up for Tests. If the Associate gains Test status, the player immediately reverts to their proper nation.
It would mostly be the weaker Test nations who might want to take advantage of it, and might allow a few players who otherwise would never get the chance an oportunity to play Tests.
Someone like Kyle Coetzer may have been valuable for Ireland or Zimbabwe to draft in for a couple of years. Someone like Lamichhane might be picked up, and placed into that nation's domestic setup, to see how he goes long form and maybe get into a Test that way. That allows players from outside the Test sphere a chance to play Tests. It should also strengthen the Associate nation in whiter ball games top have that experience and knowledge.


But no matter what you do, there will be drubbings. Test cricket lends itself to the weaker team being found out over the long haul. Even in the game's golden ages, matches and series often turned out highly one-sided. We remember the close ones because they are calssics; and, sadly, fairly uncommon.
 

Topkent

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I think the answer is pretty simple but people won't like it.
I think it's fact that the longer a game goes on the more the difference in class is magnified. To see competitive test cricket the world over you would have to do a couple things.
One is make sure the away side always gets to pick whether to bat or bowl first which means pitches will get mixed up a little and not always be the traditional pitches.
Two is spice up the pitches. No more scores of 500 unless the bowling side literally gives up. Every pitch should play like they did in england which is 300 is a great score but most of the time teams are making between 150-250
That way you are always in the game and one good spell by a bat or bowler could make the difference.

Three is shorten the games to be 3 or 4 days. Need more teams to he proactive with scoring and setting fields.

I think just those changes would make a huge difference to the game.
 

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Jimthegreat

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That's what the ICC has done for years and that's why test tours have become, by and large, uncompetitive dross
Everyone has their moments of strength and weakness. It's not a handicap system. One thing you can rely on with people is knee-jerk reactions.

Biggest thing is home ground. It's such an advantage playing on the home pitch that many games are one-sided. Do want you want there, won't change anything. India, Pakistan etc, can't win here (excluding last year when we didn't have a full side, even then it was close), but we can't win over there. India are unbeatable on their home wickets can't win outside of Asia. Won 5 Test outside of Asia this decade. It's not a one-sided thing dominated by a couple of countries, more home ground. South Africa will come good, as will England. Ashes was an outstanding series. NZ are always solid but this is a very strong Australian team building. No-one will be beating us here for a while.

Like I said, leave the game alone, with it the knee-jerk reactions and let it sort itself out.
 

Wedge McManus

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Everyone has their moments of strength and weakness. It's not a handicap system. One thing you can rely on with people is knee-jerk reactions.

Biggest thing is home ground. It's such an advantage playing on the home pitch that many games are one-sided. Do want you want there, won't change anything. India, Pakistan etc, can't win here (excluding last year when we didn't have a full side, even then it was close), but we can't win over there. India are unbeatable on their home wickets can't win outside of Asia. Won 5 Test outside of Asia this decade. It's not a one-sided thing dominated by a couple of countries, more home ground. South Africa will come good, as will England. Ashes was an outstanding series. NZ are always solid but this is a very strong Australian team building. No-one will be beating us here for a while.

Like I said, leave the game alone, with it the knee-jerk reactions and let it sort itself out.
I am probably one of the lone voices here bringing in perspective to people regarding the knee jerking or "BigFooty" syndrome as I call it regarding players etc. So I try not to knee jerk myself. But leaving cricket "alone" to deal with constant mismatches and a lack of viewer interest, diminishing crowd sizes (notwithstanding the record MCG crowd we've just had) is stupid imo.
Why should we be blasé about whitewashes and say "that's just the way it is"? How many tours do we see where teams actually make a go of it overseas these days? Stuff all. How long can that go on? Not very imo. It's fun right now cos we're smashing teams and it feels good but you'll understand what I mean when the shoe's on the other foot next time we tour
 

Jimthegreat

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I am probably one of the lone voices here bringing in perspective to people regarding the knee jerking or "BigFooty" syndrome as I call it regarding players etc. So I try not to knee jerk myself. But leaving cricket "alone" to deal with constant mismatches and a lack of viewer interest, diminishing crowd sizes (notwithstanding the record MCG crowd we've just had) is stupid imo.
Why should we be blasé about whitewashes and say "that's just the way it is"? How many tours do we see where teams actually make a go of it overseas these days? Stuff all. How long can that go on? Not very imo. It's fun right now cos we're smashing teams and it feels good but you'll understand what I mean when the shoe's on the other foot next time we tour
Can't do a thing. If sides don't have the ability you won't get close matches. Like i said, it's not a handicap system. One thing you can't change is home ground advantage. Pitches as so different in most countries, that's what makes most of the one sided Test matches. We hammer Pakistan here but they hammer us in the UAE. India is unbeatable at home but useless outside Asia. That's just the way it is. Unless you want to go to a franchise system where players play Test cricket for a team, eliminating actual nations, then nothing at all can be done.

What been suggested is cosmetic and only an attempt to paper over cracks. Still have home pitch advantage and that's why games are one-sided.
 

greatwhiteshark

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Much of it still has to do with benign pitches, when a side makes 400 plus in the first innings then pretty much only one side can win the match by tea on day 2.
Now if they played on wickets where moisture and grass greet them on day 1 then you are much more likely to see more competitive games. One side knocked over an hour before stumps on day one for 180 and at stumps the opponent has them 2-3 down for 40 at stumps. Game on. Much better to watch as well.
What many don’t understand is that when you bat second and your opponent has scored 450 it is very difficult mentally to play knowing you can only draw from such an early part of the match.
it happens time after time against all opponents that sides wilt once they have been in the field for a day and a half or more, all countries suffer the same fate. They can’t win and they fall quickly.
Fix the pitches and cricket will be much better for it, the TV stations might not like it though, but gee we Would see some awesome cricket.
 

iluvparis

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^ is a good point - that's why I was stunned people talking up the kiwi's decision to bowl first based on the idea they needed to get 20 wickets to win the match. If anything - recent history has shown the best way to get 20 Australian wickets is to BAT first and post a huge total - we always fold under the pressure of chasing runs.
 

Wedge McManus

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Can't do a thing. If sides don't have the ability you won't get close matches. Like i said, it's not a handicap system. One thing you can't change is home ground advantage. Pitches as so different in most countries, that's what makes most of the one sided Test matches. We hammer Pakistan here but they hammer us in the UAE. India is unbeatable at home but useless outside Asia. That's just the way it is. Unless you want to go to a franchise system where players play Test cricket for a team, eliminating actual nations, then nothing at all can be done.

What been suggested is cosmetic and only an attempt to paper over cracks. Still have home pitch advantage and that's why games are one-sided.
Agree to disagree then. I don't agree with you at all. If you want to watch boring no contest test cricket be my guest. It won't be around much longer the rate it's going
 

Jimthegreat

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Agree to disagree then. I don't agree with you at all. If you want to watch boring no contest test cricket be my guest. It won't be around much longer the rate it's going
There's no solution. Zero, zip, none. Suggest a decent solution then I might agree but it is simply not possible. You're talking in theories, I'm talking in practicalities. Pitches are so different around the world, you can't change that and that a huge advantage to the home side. Change whatever else you want, result will be the same.

People enjoy Test cricket all the same. Not often people really find it boring. If people find it boring then people won't turn the TV on to watch. Thing is they do. No need to do anything, not that you can anyway, it's obvious you enjoy watching, like all of us, otherwise we wouldn't be on this forum.
 

Park cricketer

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To win in alien conditions, you need two things.

1. First you should have the tools to beat the home team. Without that, no amount of familiarity in conditions or toss advantage is going to help you. For example, NZ simply didn't have the necessary tools to beat Australia in Australia. They lacked bowlers who could match the Australian attack in average pace and while the NZ pacers were accurate, a drop of 10-15 kph has a huge influence on the potency of your bowling attack.

Now, this can only be tackled by strengthening your domestic system. Australia for example had a diabolical record in asia for a long time because they lacked batsmen who could play spin and spinners who could outspin or atleast match the asian spinners. Only recently they became competitive in the India series by having Steve Smith in their ranks and Lyon who matured as a bowler. Ditto with respect to India outside asia, they could never challenge sides outside asia consistently as they lacked the fast bowlers to pick 20 wickets and only recently they've become competitive with the emergence of Bumrah, and Shami and Ishant maturing as bowlers. So without having the necessary tools to win in hostile conditions, there's no point asking questions. England for example will take a long time to win in Australia or India once again as their fast bowlers are all medium pacers with the exception of Jofra and they don't have a top spinner, and I think it's a result of the conditions prevalent in their county system promoting medium pacers and their venues not aiding the development of spinners at all with the exception of Taunton.

2. Secondly, even if you have the tools to succeed in away conditions, you need some luck with tosses going your way to overcome the home advantage of the home team. Only the greatest of teams take the toss out of the equation no matter where they play but the fact is, we are in an era where most teams are very strong at home but find it hard to challenge sides away. Take Australia for example, they came to India with a team that had the tools to defeat India in India but imagine if they had lost the toss at Pune, they would have found it very hard to win there after losing the toss. Conversely if Australia had won the toss at Bangalore too, I think they most definitely would have been 2-0 up going into the 3rd test at Ranchi. Similarly India had the tools to win outside asia last year but they endured some terrible luck with the tosses and almost always had to chase the game after falling behind the eight ball. They had a change in fortunes with the tosses as they landed in Australia and it was one of the factors that helped them win the series in Aus imo. Toss is a 50-50 thing and depends purely on luck, but I think this could be addressed by giving the toss to the away team that would ensure the home team making fairer pitches and touring team getting a headstart.
 

Howard Littlejohn

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There's no solution. Zero, zip, none. Suggest a decent solution then I might agree but it is simply not possible. You're talking in theories, I'm talking in practicalities. Pitches are so different around the world, you can't change that and that a huge advantage to the home side. Change whatever else you want, result will be the same.

People enjoy Test cricket all the same. Not often people really find it boring. If people find it boring then people won't turn the TV on to watch. Thing is they do. No need to do anything, not that you can anyway, it's obvious you enjoy watching, like all of us, otherwise we wouldn't be on this forum.
Home advantage will always be a thing. Which is well and good. Different natural conditions are part of the game.
That doesn't mean certain steps can't be taken to mitigate it, rather than maximise it.
 

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