I have been following the happenings in the current test series between India and South Africa. The first test could have gone upto 8 days and the chances of getting a result even at the end of 8 days were grim. The second test lasted for a mere 3 days. The second test though had been a exciting one for the South Africans and the India baiters. The first one was stale. Barring Sehwag’s audacious stroke play, the first test was a real dud. The India-Pakistan Series in Dec 2007 also did produce a couple of most boring test matches.
After all, why do two teams compete for over a period of 5 days. For nothing? They strive for a win and if there is no assistance for the bowlers, how can one expect a result. For that reason, i do believe that a green top or a square turner is a better test wicket than a flat track. Whenever there is something in the wicket for the bowlers, the matches turn out to be interesting and on most occasions do produce a result. Howover, when the players realise that getting a result within the 5 days is not possible, they play out for a draw, they play for records, they conserve energy, the effort level and the commitment is of a lesser degree. This is not what one, as a spectator, wants to see.
So, how about making test cricket more interesting, more alive, especially when playing on flat tracks?
Here are a couple of suggestions:
Each test spans for around 450 overs, considering that 90 overs are bowled on each day. Each team is entitled to bat for a maximum of 225 overs. The batting team can decide on the number of overs they want to bat on each innings (e.g. 125/100 or 150/75 etc) . They can declare whenever the going gets tough, or when they had enough runs, keeping in mind that they can get to play the remaining overs in the second innings.
The second suggestion is restricting the maximum number of overs a batting team consumes during an innings to around 150. This can be implemented to only the first innings as the dynamics change during the second innings and the parameters like the Lead, etc do come into picture. The second innings can then be a lmited overs affair, based on the amount of time left in the test match.
These changes would definitely make test cricket more interesting and the players more involved and committed to the cause.
I am a fan of test cricket, but i hate boring draws!
Purists definitely are gonna oppose changes to the older format. But the authorities have to decide whether they want to cater to just the purists or they want test cricket to be more interesting and more appealing to a common man. Boring draws and 20-20 are taking the spectators away from test cricket. Test cricket does really need some drastic changes. Sooner than later.