Big news in test cricket today, of course, as Ireland announced its plans to achieve full Test status no later than 2020 (a delightfully ironic year to choose as a goal, for sure.) The plans include growing the popularity overall as well as the establishment of a first class domestic league.
And I must admit that I am excited, I think Ireland will make a wonderful addition to the Test cricket family. I even voiced a bit of excitement over on Twitter – unfortunately, as you can see, the party was properly spoilt by @grangergabblog.
Of course, she was not completely serious, as even if Test cricket was finally and properly dying, I do think it is going to hang around in one form or another for at least another eight years, but her point about India is a valid one: will Test cricket die if India, or any other Test playing nation for that matter, loses interest in Tests, and if so should we ALL be worried about India’s current Test form?
The answer to the first question is a resounding yes – save for one qualifier: if Bangladesh or Zimbabwe started focusing on their one day game, and the fans become disinterested in Tests, then while I think cricket as a sport would suffer overall, but I think Test cricket would be just fine.
The answer to the second question is no, of course not. India has been playing Test cricket for 80 years, and the long format has a wonderful tradition in that country. Sure their form has been awful, but one 12 month blip is not going to erase eight decades worth of achievement; and sure there is the IPL, and sure their most recent success has come in the 50-over format, but just reading the Indian blogs shows me that Indian fans are still fanatical for Test cricket, and while the players might look disinterested, the passion from the terraces will surely continue to keep Test cricket alive and well in India for generations to come.
But to insure the above: make the Test Cricket Playoff a reality and let Mumbai host it in 2017.
In fact, doing that strengthens the format all over, and would serve to keep all countries interested and competitive – and competitive Test squads from all 10 nations is imperative to the growth of the game.
And that is why I am really excited about the prospect of seeing Ireland play Test series around the globe throughout the next decade. Good for Ireland, good for Tests, good for Cricket. Surely.
And it’s a big few days for Test cricket: Australia is putting the hammer down on India at the dead rubber in Adelaide (just a real shame how this series is ending – it started with so much promise.)
Meanwhile, in Abu Dhabi, the second test between Pakistan and England is due to start in about four and a half hours: a must win for England? Not necessarily – but at the very least they are going to need a draw to avoid a serious media inquest.
Finally, the first and only Test between New Zealand and Zimbabwe starts tomorrow afternoon, Minneapolis time. I will probably choose to watch that over day three of India bending over for Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting.
And, yes, that ugly metaphor is accurate: they have scored 1,038 runs between the two of them in this series. And while their remorseless accumulations have been impressive, surely, even the most diehard of India supporters would tell you that a lot of those runs were given away rather cheaply – easy runs, for the most part, in other words.
As we speak, Clark is at 206no and Ponting 193no – and India just seems to have no interest whatsoever in getting them out…
Isn’t it, like, a million degrees in Adelaide this morning? Don’t they want to get off the field?
And thus this series will wilt to a close. So very disappointing…Dhoni and Co. should reimburse the travel expenses of the traveling fans. It’s been that bad.
And that’s it for tonight. Look tomorrow for the start of a new feature here at Limited Overs!
Until next time.