Test cricket in the early days was the only form of cricket and the public enjoyed it and went to the cricket stadium to watch it for five days.
The result was not predictable and after five days the match ended in a draw. But still the people enjoyed it. Test cricket is a science and the game still needs application, concentration and full participation by the players, who played for fun and to win.
The players had role models to follow and those days the public was emotionally involved with their teams. Since the advent of TV cricket has gone to another dimension and the public prefers to watch it in their air-conditioned comfort at home.
This led to prominent advertising in the field from the clothing of the players to the stumps. TV brought sponsors and money started to trickle in into the game and now it is a business.
Thus the cricket world has changed. The attitude of players along with their commitment has gone by the way-side. The cricket governing bodies in various countries have also moved away from their responsibilities and now have an authoritative power over the players.
The main criteria now is how rich the board is. For example the Indian cricket board is the richest in the world today and they are able to control the cricket world.
Actually the lucrative places in the world for cricket are the subcontinent countries of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Australia. They have sponsors and have the capacity to fill their stadia with people.
The West Indies Cricket Board is having problems raising money and the turnout in the stadia is small. Moreover West Indian’s cricket decline has been enhanced I feel by sports like football and basketball that are popular among the youngsters.
I believe cricket starts in the school level. In early years youngsters used to play cricket in the streets or in the beach and then go on to the club level.
From there they went on to regional cricket such as the Shell Shield or Red Stripe tournament and finally the Test level.
I hardly see children playing cricket in the street or even in the schools. The interest is not there and the Board has to look into this seriously. If regional cricket continues being played in sub-standard grounds then there will be more sub-standard players.
This brings me to the new wave of cricket of excitement in a shorter time with definite endings and most importantly lots of money involved. This is the 20/20 cricket.
The sponsors are happy and they are pouring money into that. The players are happy as they get more money and they do not have to toil in the hot sun for five days.
I understand the feelings of Chris Gayle as he is reaching the age for retirement and the money he will make in 20/20 will surpass the total money he has made in Test cricket. I am sure many players are feeling the same way.
Players to come will also gear themselves to this form of cricket where there is no time to settle when they come to the crease and could have the ability to hit all balls for fours or sixes. The bowlers will also have to have new weapons to get batsmen out.
20/20 cricket will definitely affect the future of the test cricket. Many fans like me who were exposed to the Test cricket initially may not agree with it but we have to accept the inevitable. This is not only happening in the cricket arena but in every field. The fact of the matter is the present generation will accept the 20/20 version and embrace it for better or worse, just as many West Indians did with Test cricket years ago.
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