Friday, December 21, 2007

First look - Testing times for test cricket

since the general consensus among the cricket chatterati over the issue of test cricket under lights is startlingly similar to what they had to say about it in coloured clothing, one can safely ignore the 'knee-jerks' and make a little time to consider this, a marginally more considered take on the same matter.

the great thing about adding to a topic the world has already had their say on is, you pretty much know the places you don't want to go to; because someone else has already dealt with it well enough - or badly - and there's obviously little merit in doing so again. the bad thing about coming late to the party is you're not left with anything startlingly different to contribute. (unless, you happen to be us.)

happily enough for us, years of consistently going zag while everyone else goes zig means we're more than prepared for the uphill task on hand. so, here comes zag.

tpr is quite keen to see test cricket under lights. for any sport to survive, it has to make money. and test cricket is not making money. in fact, everywhere it goes, it's losing money faster than a bad gambler. indeed, cricket in whites is as sacrosanct as, for instance, the dress code at wimbledon. unfortunately for cricket, it takes about 20 times longer to complete a test match. and there's only this much of tradition that non-cricket writing people with real jobs have the time and stomach for.

when sport - the primary purpose of which is to entertain - ceases to be engaging enough, something needs to be done to rejuvenate it. which is where the australians come in.

time and again the folks from down under have proved themselves to be masters at adding oomph to cricket. had they not introduced the day/night version of the game played in coloured clothing, one day internationals wouldn't have been anything as popular as they have turned out to be. but for the culture of continuous improvement in channel 9, cricket would not have become the huge tv sport that it is today. left to the english and the traditionalists cricket would have remained the elite sport that it started out as.

darwin's theory of evolution posits that incremental change is the chosen way forward. if test cricket doesn't respond to the demands to make it commercially viable, it will, at best, be reduced to little more than a curiousity. (or, at worst, go the way of the dodo.)

happily for the proponents of change, cricket is no longer a white-collar pastime in which the elite call the shots. of course for this latest development in the world of cricket to take place, someone is first going to have to come up with a coloured ball durable enough to survive the course of a test match. or else, neither will test cricket.


Ottayan said...

Test cricket at night will not serve the purpose.

Lets take Australians for instance Test cricket is an opportunity to laze in the sun with a beer. Obviously, the sun will not be in attendance during the night.

Similarly,the same thing holds true for the other 'colder' nations.

In India. Pak and Sri Lanka it does not matter as people in general take a day(s) off during Test matches.

But I agree with you that Test cricket is approaching its 'sale by date'.

√úbermaniam said...

australians will laze in the sun with a beer even when there is no sun. (there will always be beer around an ausssie.) in india and pakistan, the middle and upper middle classes do not take a day off to watch test cricket. they find it too boring to do so. but they might consider an evening after work to watch test cricket. watching and playing cricket minus the sweltering heat is an infinitely more inviting idea.

Ottayan said...

I agree in full about Aussie and beer.

However, I thought it was the crowd and the claustrophobic security the dampening factors for the middle class.