Posts Tagged ‘test cricket’

India’s victory over Sri Lanka in Mumbai, and the series win that it has brought, has seen the hosts take over as the world’s top-ranked Test team, at least for the next few weeks.

It’s difficult to imagine India enjoying the dominance of Test cricket that the West Indies, and more recently Australia, have – partly because of how little Test cricket India play at the moment, and partly because of their mixed record away from home – but the masterplan seems to be working so far.

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Kim Hughes doesn’t think they should continue to play Tests, but does the Windies’ recent run of poor form (although not too long a run, they humiliated England less than a year ago) and apparent lack of appetite for five-day cricket undermine their long history of Test greatness?

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There’s been lots of discussion recently around Ireland’s application for full membership of the ICC (and for the Test status that goes with it). Gaining membership of cricket’s top table has always been a difficult barrier for associate nations to overcome, with the list of requirements including such items as a “sufficiently large pool of players to draw from capable ofp erforming at the highest level of the game” and the “standing of cricket in society”.

The main issue for Ireland seems to be the absence of a domestic competition at a sufficiently high standard, although the likelihood of regular defeats and of not being taken seriously by the cricketing world in general also loom large. Whether or not elevation to Test status would prevent the exodus of Ireland’s best players to play for England is also a moot point.

A two-tier Test championship, or some sort of limited qualification in the way that associate nations gain eligibility to play full ODIs at the moment, could be the way forward, but it’s likely that internal politics will be the deciding factor.

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What might turn out to be the future of Test cricket is taking shape with the news that Bangladesh and England are set to play a Day-Night Test– assuming that the ICC agrees.

The MCC’s World Cricket Committee is set to meet ICC representatives in November to discuss the idea, which could include the use of coloured balls and maybe even a change of clothing for the players.

With the longest form of the game seemingly under constant threat, ideas like this could be the way forward, but those involved will have to be careful that they don’t end up losing the ‘traditional’ elements of the Test format that make it such a unique spectacle. Ultimately, it will be the attitude that the ICC (and, realistically, the BCCI) takes to this development which will be crucial.

It’s also nice to see the MCC at the forefront of new developments, giving the lie to the organisation’s reputation for conservativism.

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The third day of the Fourth Test between India and Australia was an old-fashioned grind. The hosts reached stumps with an 86-run first innings lead, despite dogged resistance from the likes of Cameron White lower down the Australian order.

India’s defensive tactics have been criticised in the past, but the pressure that was exacted today seems to suggest that India won’t really care. This is, after all, Test cricket, not some newfangled Twenty20 shootout.

Now the stage is set for India’s batsmen to make some runs before the pitch deteriorates. Australia’s hopes of saving the series could fade rapidly if India get settled in.

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Finally, some proper cricket is taking place. Gambhir has stepped up a gear (as well as impersonating Alan Shearer) in front of his home crowd, Sachin made his umpteenth Test fifty, and no-one is upset about whether or not it’s appropriate for someone to sit on someone else’s lap.

Incidentally, Ricky Ponting still seems a little reluctant to toss the ball to his spinners (although the first day was never going to belong to Cameron White). The Australians may not be over their Mohali nightmare just yet.

That said, no-one ever got rich underestimating Australia’s cricketers.

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Sri Lanka’s tour of England has fallen victim to a combination of the IPL and the political machinations of the BCCI.

Does this signal a shift in priorities on the subcontinent? The death of Test cricket has been long heralded, and Twenty20 is certainly making the headlines at the moment with the Stanford Dash for Cash and talk of an ICL-IPL merger. Personally, I’d take the longer form of the game any day of the week, but it seems many in Sri Lanka (and of course India) disagree.

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