T-20 cricket is so exciting, but is it the new Test cricket?

Colin E. H. Croft

Oh, how the scenario in international cricket has changed.  T-20 cricket is not only here to stay, which is pleasant, most times anyway, but it is leading the way some tours are being planned!

No longer does Test cricket dominate the façade.  Now, it is about making time for T-20’s!

In the seemingly ancient past, but as recently as twenty years ago, young cricketers world-wide would have been thinking that the only level and games that they would want to get to, in the future, would have been Test cricket for their respective countries.

Test cricket was always the pinnacle!

Nowadays, that is not so true or obvious anymore.

Yes, every young player continues to say the obvious caveat:  “I would like to play Test cricket, since that is still the highest form of the game”.

But going practices do not always match rhetoric.  In the real sense of the game these days, Test cricket is not really needed at all by many players.  Even some cricket authorities too are shunning the format!

Case in point is Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies and Mumbai Indians T-20 super-star Kieron Pollard.

At 25, he has the one-day cricket world fully at his feet, having taken the short forms by powerful storm, lashing deliveries around the world with great aplomb!  Man, is he big, strong and dynamic!

Since making his 1st Class debut in 2007, a scant six years ago, he has already played 220 T-20’s, for clubs, country and region, and 75 ODI’s, but, surprise, no Tests yet.

Indeed, one would have thought that Pollard may have even gotten a look-in in Tests recently against Zimbabwe.  Nothing doing!

While “Polly” always says that he wants to prove himself in Tests, to try to emulate what he has done in shorter games, the truth is that he does not, at all, need to play Test cricket to continue to make his name internationally, and along the way, to ensure a very positive relationship with his bank manager!

That may be just an individual situation, but not so entirely isolated at all!

What is much more interesting is that the world’s premier T-20 cricket competition, Indian Premier League 2013, has, unwittingly, discombobulated ICC’s Future Tours Program by having that set envelope – April and May 2013 – in which to operate.  That has already caused all sorts of potential confusions.

Get this straight.  I like all forms of cricket, including T-20’s, and I really do like IPL.  I think that this season, IPL has become more organized, slick and very streamlined, with better planning and viewing.

But fitting IPL 2013 in this specific envelope has also already seriously compromised the cricket that West Indies will play this year, especially Test cricket.

There simply is not enough time left to fit in Test matches, especially with West Indies itself staging its own primary, initial T-20 tournament – Caribbean Premier League – in August!

Last week, I was having a serious conversation with one of my former West Indian fast bowling team-mates, whose last name is still “Death”, about the merits and demerits of all formats of the game, including T-20 cricket, a format that one gets the impression he does not at all like very much.

I suggested that good cricketers, especially batsmen, be it Test, ODI or T-20, should be able to adjust his cricket sufficiently well to be successful, ala Jamaica, West Indies and Pune Warriors Marlon Samuels.

While grudgingly agreeing, “Death” made a great point too; that very few good cricketers who started their careers initially as T-20 stars have become really good Test cricketers; but it does work vice-verse!

He even argued that no emerging batsman wants to be patient anymore and to try to build innings.  Most of them simply try to be flashy, endeavoring to always score at 100 or more, percentile, hoping desperately to catch someone’s eye, and check-book, to secure his future.

What worries most is what happens to players like Kieran Powell.

The young; 23; talented Nevis, Leeward Islands and West Indies opener has shown that he has goods to be successful, at least in Test cricket.  He has a fair Test record – 15 games, 819 runs, 30.33 avg., and three centuries.

But, if things go as recently published, he will have already played his last Test for West Indies in 2013, v Zimbabwe, since it is very possible that Pakistan will not, now, be touring West Indies later in 2013.

What is Powell to do if he wants to continue his positive international cricket?  Play more T-20’s?  Really!

One of the immediate concerns of the new West Indies administration must be that West Indies, as a cricket nation, regardless of what is suggested in places, has become ‘small fry” in the run of cricket things internationally.  We must simply understand reality and not be sycophantic!

For time allocated, Pakistan has already suggested that they will probably defer to India touring their country, making monies, then play against Zimbabwe rather than West Indies, which makes no sense.

So, overall, T-20’s have already affected schedules and output of our cricket.  Enjoy!

E-mail:  [email protected]

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  1. bwadiab
    April 9, 2013

    As the Calypsonian said “they want it now”. We live in a fast paced world. As we speak, new airlines are being built that will put the concord to shame. Most international games(soccer, american football,tennis..etc) declare a winner in one day. So cricket fans(being members of a world community)will undoubtedly follow that trend, rather than wait for five days for the outcome of a match.
    I see the T20 style of cricket meeting that need.

  2. LEGIT
    April 8, 2013

    Well T20 is the “lets go take a lime game” its for the new fans who only understand the runs part.A game is lost or won in 1 over.i still prefer test cricket it helps if u sick,on holidays or have a boring job.T20! if u late at the gate by the time u get in 1/3 of the game gone.

  3. budman
    April 8, 2013

    i favourite form of the game is the 50 over ODI. i find t-20 a bit short which then affects strategy and it really doesn’t prove who the better team is.

  4. winston warrington
    April 8, 2013

    The era of Test cricket is over; this generation wants results, quickly. I personally can’t imagine a game being played for five days only to end in a draw! That is time wasted.

  5. As I see it
    April 7, 2013

    Thank God for T20! In as much as I still love test cricket and use it to measure the skill of players, if it had not been for T20 cricket on a whole would be a dead sport now in the Caribbean. We are now in the microwave era and people have no time to seat and watch a slow game for five days. I think the time has come when the ICC should take a hard look at the way test cricket is being played and see to it that they give people value for their money. When people pay their money to watch cricket and it rains for the better part of morning and play is only available for an hour before lunch and yet they stop for lunch and tea is just pure nonsense. Also, take a look at the last match against Zembabwe where Windies needed less than 10 runs with over two days to go, yet they had to break for lunch. How stupid! Sports should be about entertaining the crowd who paid their money to support. This type of actions just turn people away. ICC needs to revisit the sport and try to compromise in other to entertain the spectators.

  6. April 7, 2013

    Now only Dominican does turn out too support test cricket. We appreciate WICB hosting test cricket in Dominica,we also would like to see a T-20 match in Dominica as well.

  7. Anonymous
    April 7, 2013

    I am quite surprised Mr. Croft has an email address. Somehow I pictured him penning his thoughts by candlelight with a quill on parchment paper. In sport, as in other entertainment, the maxim is “give the people what they want so long as no one gets hurt” – and be dammed with Test, Exam – whatever – cricket!!

  8. John Doe
    April 7, 2013

    so damn true…. so true and VERY, VERY, VERY, SAD!!!!!

  9. Sports Fan
    April 7, 2013

    Croft is so true in his article. Every thing in the world is becoming faster. We complain that regionial cricket which is 4 days ends in 2 days. That is the same for test matches. Many of them are completed well within the 5 days. Long ago the fastest sprinters ran a 100 meters in 10 secs. Now they clocking well under 10 secs. So too batsmen and teams are scoring faster and will out quicker. Fast business. Fans looking for entertainment and cannot spend too much time at a match when they have lots of other things to do. Players want quick money provided by T- 20 organizers. Test will eventually go. Not now but not long from now. Then we will see T- 20 as part of the Olympics and the rest of the world will be playing and following cricket.

  10. intoxi
    April 7, 2013

    I understad your concern Mr.Croft but its sad but true that we have lost cricketing mojo as we new it in the west indies. you really can not blame the IPL or any other organisation for their success. what i want to say is they were creative and inovative enough to develop a product hat is selling like hot bread , we could have had that only if the people we entrusted in our cricket high level had a vision and not putting politics in a game.We pack the real heros of the game in a corner people who made name for west indies and brought in people with no vision to run our cricket even at the local level, no wonder why we could not come up with a product like the IPL.
    Take for example Dominica , right now all the talk is about Shane Shillingford. Dont get me wrong i support Shane 150 % but can we not scout around the island to see if there are not more young guys who could be like shane ?isnt there more we can do to make prospective cricketers in the event shane gets sideline we can say well lets push for Dick or Tom? I mean we continue to sit on our a** year after year and wait for a miracle to celebrate yet the people who can make a difference do absolutely nothing. I know stray from the topic but i have something to say about our cricket life style its troubling me i have more to say

  11. %
    April 7, 2013

    it’s the money. I still like my test cricket over all the other versions of the game.
    If the West Indies was more highly ranked,among the test cricket playing nations, the players would be playing more test cricket, but the team is still struggling!

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