Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Shastri favors fewer Test cricket teams; MCC chief supports T20s

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Photo Credit: Twitter Profile Photo of @mcjnicholas, Instagram Photo of @ravishastriofficial

Views expressed at a symposium organized by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) included proposals to limit Test cricket to six or seven teams, with an emphasis on using the 20-overs format to expand the game globally.

The declining popularity of Test cricket outside India, England, and Australia has coincided with the rise of lucrative T20 leagues worldwide. While Test cricket still delivers high drama, the fast-paced and action-packed nature of T20 cricket has attracted a new generation of fans.

Former India player and coach Ravi Shastri emphasized the need for Test cricket to maintain its competitiveness, suggesting that restricting participation to stronger teams could achieve this goal.

Shastri said, “When you don’t have quality, that is when the ratings drop, there are fewer people in the crowd, it’s meaningless cricket, which is the last thing sport wants. You have 12 test match teams. Bring it down to six or seven and have promotion and relegation system.You can have two tiers but let the top six keep playing to sustain the interest in Test cricket. You can spread the game in other formats, like T20.”

Justin Langer, former Australian batsman and coach, expressed his appreciation for T20 leagues but emphasized the importance of safeguarding international cricket for its profound impact on young people.

He highlighted instances such as the memorable debut series of West Indies fast bowler Shamar Joseph in Australia this year.

“…it had Australia enthralled and it brought the Caribbean to life,” Langer added.

“Last week we saw a million people turn up to see India celebrated for winning the World Cup.

“That is bilateral cricket and international cricket.”

MCC president Mark Nicholas said the views were not to suggest test cricket was unwarranted, and that cricket needed money to sustain itself.

He added, “T20 cricket is the behemoth that everybody wants. It is where the new market is, where the fans are and where the money is. In cricket, money is seen as a dirty word but it shouldn’t be because it is the only way to sustain the game.”

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