Sunday, December 19, 2004

Put the Test back in Test Cricket!

Well, that was a hard one to predict. A maiden Test century for Gambhir, earning him a berth for the home series against Pakistan and beyond, and a humiliating defeat for Bangladesh. And South of the Equator, we have the Australians now firmly in favour of three day Tests.

I've long wondered why it is that fast trampoline-like pitches are considered acceptable, whilst turning wickets are rubbished from all quarters. The truth is that both provide for cricketing entertainment, and we need more of them. Batsmen of the modern era have been mollycoddled for far too long, and we've come to a point where a "good wicket" is synonymous with a batting paradise, and a "poor wicket" is one which helps the bowlers. It's impossible to comprehend what Bradman might have achieved on the "good" wickets of the current generation.

There is a reason that most observers believe that the most watchable Test series' are those played in Australia. Certainly, the Australian team is a major factor, but I would contend that the variation that you see during the course of a 5 match rubber is key for the spectator.

A Brisbane green-top; a batting track at Adelaide; a hard and bouncy WACA; help for the spinners at the SCG; and the typical classic cricket wicket with a bit for everyone at Melbourne. All that's missing is the raging turner. It is precisely this variety that makes the game both entertaining and durable.

Throw in a sharp turner like the recent Mumbai wicket, and over the course of a series, you would see Brett Lee bowling with 5 slips and two short legs, Rahul Dravid and Michael Clarke pulling and driving to all corners, and Anil Kumble bowling with 5 men crowded around the bat. Earn every run, and work for every wicket. Now that's Test cricket.

No comments: