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Test cricket -What’s testing us?

Posted by farkandfunk on July 11, 2009

As I pen this down, the Ashes are well and truly under way- which would translate to England getting their customary beat-down in this famed series.  For all the noise that was made,  if the way the first test is progressing is any indication, it’s not going to get any better for England .  Their batting still shows some promise – with the likes of Kevin Pieterson and Flintoff sure to contribute in the future, but the tall order is to beat this Aussie demolition squad.  A simpleton (Katich),   Cribber Ponting , an offspring of a backstreet boy  copulated with a pomeranian Clarke , a compass North all are piling on the agony for the english.

The questions on both sides remain the less than inspiring bowling attack. Australia is currently undergoing a makeover of sorts,  with stalwarts such as Mcgrath , Warne etc being replaced, and the newbies are not exactly the greatest discovery since sliced bread.  England’s attack on the other hand blow hot and cold depending on the situation, conditions, weather and other such things as UFO sightings and the chances of a successful Harman Bewaja movie.

In test matches, I feel that it’s the bowling that can make or break a test match (along with the pitch and conditions). Recall the nightmare of a game where India took on Sri Lanka at Columbo (952 runs scored) etc. True , it was a world record, Jayasuriya scored a shitload of runs, and Nilesh Kulkarni (remember him??) took a wicket of his first ball delivery.  But what else can we possibly remember from it, except that it was just a miserable game no matter how you break it. Similar to this on-going game, where we know that an English win is highly unlikely in this game even by the end of the 2nd day and almost impossible by the end of the 3rd day ( unless the englishmen metamorphize into Laxman, Dravid, Harbhajan etc).

Games such as those,  drawn test matches, and the fact that there are fewer folks coming in to watch a game at the stands,  have caused many sections to ponder how to modify the format (4-day test matches anyone?)  so that we have less of it. The purists in all of us wouldn’t change a thing of course. If was the case, there would have never been any 50-over games, and there wouldn’t have been T20 games.  We’ll never know what’s good or not, but lets assume we HAD to change something (since change is permenant and all that blah), what would it be?

Typical to my (lack of) style and character(lessness), I’m coming up with  a couple  of random suggestions here.  I’d like you all to spit at, germinate, nurture, these and more ideas, and see what  do we think of all this.

1.  Have a first innings run-rate limit which the teams should be on par or over. This can be calculated and set through statistics (ground, teams involved,  seasonal conditions,  what not).  Not being on par with this could lead to some form of penalization – negate some of the runs scored for example .

Pros: run rate is probably a big criteria in test cricket for forcing a result in a game. If there can be some way of upping the run rate – it might go in a long way of making it more interesting

Cons: This might get too complicated . Similar to the DL method, enforcing teams to think in statistics might attract too much flak.  It is highly likely to cause more controversy if not thought through and tested well enough.

2. Keep the 5 day format – but allow substitutions (perhaps 2-3) .  Increase the stake for both teams in the deal. Imagine some of the possibilities. There could be a situation in the 3rd and final test of a series which a team is leading 1-0. There could be a situation where one team might have 7 bowlers (5 + 2 all rounders)  in the 2nd innings, and just 3 premiere batsmen in the game, just to force the result. Or a team is chasing 350 of 40 overs for a win, and you bring in someone like Yousaf pathan in (who’d normally find it tough to break into a test squad), to try to win it.

Pros:  It might add some excitement to the game, where some new permutations and combinations of players might cause renewed interest and increase possibilities of results.

Cons:  The strategy might not really be endearing to the purists, and the desired results (results, crowds) might not happen.

What do you folks think?  The rotten eggs and tomatoes are in the comments section. Feel free to throw some at this.

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3 Responses to “Test cricket -What’s testing us?”

  1. kojak said

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  2. Q said

    I honestly don’t think test cricket requires any change.. I love the game the way it is..

  3. let’s talk.

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