When I see the word, ‘Test’,I did not see it as a real challenge for my writing ability, but rather I consider it as a real opportunity to write about the multifaceted word ‘Test’
It provides an opportunity to have a test on my writing, but it does not contemplate any physical test stipulated by a physician, such as blood test, urine test, or motion test etc, because, the context does not arise since I am perfectly alright.
But when I come across the word ‘Test’ the foremost thing which comes to my mind is the one I am very passionate about since my teen days.I don’t want to put you more on suspense.It is cricket.
Cricket has of late two versions, the shorter, and longer.While 50 overs game and Twenty Twenty cricket are included in the shorter version of the game, Test cricket is the longer version of the game.
Test cricket is the traditional form of the game, played by cricket legends like W.G.Grace, Hobbs,Barry Richards,Don Bradman, Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar and a host of other players hailing from India, England, Australia, Sri Lanka, West Indes, South Africa and New Zealand.
Being traditional in format, the Test cricket is played for 5 days.Of the three formats of the game, Test cricket offers the real challenge for a cricket player.As a bowler, you have to show variety in your bowling in the Test cricket, as you are called upon to bowl more and more overs.If you are the strike bowler, the entire fielding team, repose more confidence in you.A bowler has more chances to take as many wickets as possible since he has a chance to bowl in two innings of the game.
Similarly, a batsman has a chance to sharpen his batting prowess and even to experiment or innovate his batting only in Test cricket, since he has a chance to bat twice in both innings of the game.There are umpteen number of batsmen like Sunil Gavaskar, who scored centuries in each innings of the game.Test innings also provide a chance especially for a batsman to score as many runs as possible.There are batsmen, like Brian Lara, Virender Sehwag and a host of other players who scored centuries, double or triple utilizing test cricket.There are fine batsmen such as Boycott and G.R.Viswanath who showed to the whole cricket world how best you can defend your wicket spending as much time as possible at the crease.
With the emergence of 50 overs or T20 cricket, the shorter versions of the game, Test cricket is losing its charm and even in the danger of falling into disuse.Time is the constraint.While the shorter versions of the game are being played on a single day or in a couple of hours, test cricket offers real testing time for the cricket lovers.After all, the shorter versions of the game of cricket are result oriented, but the test cricket does not guarantee it.Who knows? The test cricket played between two best teams, may end in three days or full quota of five days.If it ends in three days, it means most probably, a team has an innings victory.If the test is played for five days,it may have a result or it may even meander towards a dull draw, notwithstanding the centuries scored by batsmen on both sides.Thus, we see, while the shorter versions of the game are result oriented, it is not the case with the test cricket.Hence people are gradually losing interest in the test cricket as reflected by the poor attendance for the test matches.Poor attendance means dwindling income from test cricket.
No doubt, ICC makes frantic attempts to save test cricket.It has suggested for the inclusion of the game in Olympics.Holding an international championship for test cricket is under active consideration of ICC and among the test playing countries.Reducing the number of days for a test cricket from five days into four days is another idea under active discussion.Holding the test cricket matches as day and night matches is yet another idea on the card to lure the crowd.The crux of the matter is since the test cricket match involves two innings to be played on both sides actually tests the patience of the cricket fans.They are no longer interested in witnessing the rock solid defense of a batsman, hours together.Especially after the advent of limited overs cricket, the cricket fans seem to be result oriented as quickly as possible.In fact, they are not ready to wait for five long days to see the result of a test match; nor they are willing or ready to avail leave for the sake of test matches.Hence, realizing the situation, the cricket administrators always schedule most of the test matches with the intervening holidays.Unfortunately, cricket fans choose to come to witness the matches only during the holidays, as proved by the statistics of their daily attendance.Above all, the live telecast of the test matches in the Television and also advanced recording facilities etc, virtually force them to witness the live test matches from their drawing room, with the ball by ball commentaries,expert comments etc, which are not available when they directly witness the match from the cricket stadium.Above all the proliferation of smartphones play a significant role in reducing the status of the test cricket.If any person with a smartphone can witness the test cricket live and now and then get the latest and updated score, why he should go all the way to the cricket stadium, stand in the queue and spend thousands of rupees to get a ticket?
For the reasons stated above,the test cricket is now enjoying a low profile, just because of the emergence of the limited overs cricket and due to the very advanced live telecast facilities arranged by our own cricket administrators.Despite all the disadvantages enjoyed by the test cricket, still, it is considered as the real cricket, with a long tradition of its own.Again it is the test cricket which strengthens the cricket playing techniques of a batsman or bowler and makes them quality players.In fact, a cricketer’s actual skill in the game of cricket is proved only through test cricket which is played in a natural and traditional way.Of course, there may be dull and monotonous moments while playing test cricket.But as Neville Cardus puts it, a dull moment in test cricket may get enlivened all of a sudden through a fine catch, or the fall of the wicket or through a whopping six.But the moot question is how long a cricket fan has to wait to see that momentous occasion?