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How to Kill Test Cricket

by Mahek

1. Prepare pitches flatter than Paris Hilton's chest.
2. Play from Monday to Friday so that no one watches.
3. Don't make fans aware of your website where they can buy tickets.
3. Batting lineups with almost 200 test hundreds between them.
4. Bowlers who can't swing, seam or spin the ball. Nor can they bowl six balls on a length on off stump.
5. Set fields that don't get you wickets or encourage batsmen to take risks.

Here's a brief look at the percentage of draw in each country for the last 5 years.

Team Matches Draws Draw%
Average RPO SR
Australia 27 2 7.41 46.74 3.7 75.79
England 35 11 31.43 38.89 3.66 63.75
RSA 29 3 10.34 34.27 3.35 61.38
SL 22 4 18.18 43.74 3.56 73.72
India 24 11 45.83 42.18 3.42 74
NZ 20 7 35 31.95 3.29 58.27
Pakistan 13 7 53.85 49.14 3.5 84.24
WI 22 10 45.45 34.27 3.16 65.07
Bangladesh 16 3 18.75 24.3 3.12 46.73
Zimbabwe 4 0 0 18.05 3.1 34.94


Welcome to test cricket in the subcontinent. We like to make our batsmen feel extra special while our bowlers toil away and end up injured sooner or later. Who cares if there's a result as long as Sachin Tendulkar widens the gap between himself and Ricky Ponting? Our best bowler is making a comeback after a long injury lay-off so let's see how fit he is by making a pitch that gives him nothing. After all, there's always Harbhajan to take us to victory with his Lakeresque off-breaks. And if we still don't get a result it's no big deal because the men are busy at work, the women are watching re-runs of Oprah or Ekta Kapoor soaps, while the kids are taking up a "cooler" sport at school. A couple of more years of this and we can financially justify playing only Limited Overs Cricket. Let those white people cling to their tests, sooner or later they're going to come crawling to our leagues for our money. Boy, isn't the shoe well and truly on the other foot!

16 comments:

Naked Cricket said...

Glad you wrote this, was gonna do a rushed toon, now I can go out and celebrate the draw.

Personally, there's little to compel me to watch a test like Motera - if you draw it, that's expected, and if you don't, it wasn't worth my time.

Homer said...

I dont see what the problem is with Test Cricket dying.. Its better off dead that being artificially propped up to pander to a whim!

Test Cricket was dead the moment the ICC came up with trying to standardize wickets ( I am looking at you Malcolm Speed) - the more standard the wickets, the flatter they will be.

And since everyone is fine with it, so be it!

Cheers,

Mahek said...

The problem is it's being deliberately crippled. Standardised wickets are a joke and it's about time the ICC realised it. Let teams have home advantage. 4 days of high TRPs makes a lot more financial sense than 5 days of nobody watching. If they can create a tamasha out of T20 in order to sell that format they sure as hell can put their heads together to make test cricket work.

Look at the disparity in the percentage of draws in Australia/South Africa and India/Pakistan. You wouldn't have such a big difference if pitches were indeed the same across nations. But the ICC does have to clamp down on batting paradises a lot more than it should on tracks that yield results. It also doesn't help that India and Pakistan are two of the more risk-averse teams in the sport.

scorpicity said...

Hmm... Need to see that video for an in-depth comparison of point 1.

Homer said...

Mahek,

Also the percentages are misleading as scheduling a series in Chennai during the Southern Monsoon season will ensure you a draw come what may.
It will be interesting to see how many of the drawn matches have been weather affected and how many happened because of boring cricket.

And since we are in the era of standardization, courtesy the ICC, expect more of the same.

Heck, the biggest argument going against Day night tests is not pink balls or flood lights but that conditions will alter significantly between day and night and horror of horrors, the batsmen will not be able to play as they might have during day Tests!

For mine, I cant wait for the next season of the IPL to begin!

Cheers,

Mahek said...

These are the draws over the last 5 years.

2004 vs South Africa at Kanpur
2005 vs Pakistan at Mohali
2005 vs Sri Lanka at Chennai
2006 vs England at Nagpur
2007 vs Pakistan at Kolkata & Bangalore
2008 vs South Africa at Chennai
2008 vs Australia at Bangalore & Delhi
2008 vs England at Mohali
2009 vs Sri Lanka at Ahmedabad

The only rain affected test was the India-Sri Lanka game in Chennai in 2005. None of the other draws were affected by rain. A couple might have had instances of bad light, like the Bangalore test last year and the Mohali one for fog, even in the Mohali game we gave up on trying to win and the captain and coach gave some bullshit about not knowing play would be affected by fog. Compare this to the number of rain-affected games in other countries and the number is much smaller.

This whole Test/ODI/T20 is not a zero-sum game. Unfortunately that's how everyone wants to look at it and they want to put all their eggs in the T20 basket.

Purna said...

Homer I disagree. I am not fine with Test cricket dying. It may be 5 days long and unsuited to our fast-paced, pay by the hour life style...but it's still the best. T20's are a tease and ODI's always leave me wanting more.

Prabu said...

OF course there will be more draws in India - if we prepare a pitch to suit our strengths of spin then ICC will call in an enquiry. You see, only pitches that help fast bowlers are considered fair by ICC. Between being sanctioned by ICC and creating a run fest, state associations will opt for the latter.

Homer said...

Purna,

Based on what exactly? If it is the best and it is a Test, how many are being really tested in the true sense of the word?

Test Cricket is a glorified joke, made worse by the apathy of the people who should care.

Cheers,

Bhaskar Khaund said...

Great post . Gawd what a pain it was ! anyway , its not so much the draw as the wicket itself...i mean a great draw is also a valid test match result as much as a win or loss . i.e. as in a skillful (or else close , last wicket-type) saving of a match ...but today's kind of a game brings on depressing memories of yore....they really gotta do something and fast

Mahek said...

I should acknowledge Homer's wise words about the whole issue after a reasonably intense telephonic conversation. There has been a number of instances of the ICC pointing a finger at the BCCI after a short but riveting test but not saying a word when it happens elsewhere.

What exactly are the curators supposed to do when Clive Lloyd criticises a pitch that produces a result on the fifth day? Why does the BCCI get called out over the Kanpur Test last year while not a word is said when the Headingley Test is over within 7 sessions? And it seems the ICC is more than happy with these pitches because they haven't said a word about the snoozefests.

The ICC dossier is very subjective in terms of assessing pitches, it says pitches with excess seam, spin, bounce are deemed unfit but it's at the match referee's discretion to decide how much is excess. Why can't we have more objective guidelines like the minimum number of overs a match should last? Also have a rule whereby you can penalise a venue if it produces consecutive draws inspite of over 400 overs of play. Atleast that eliminates any subjectivity in assessing pitches.

straight point said...

look at the point of view of curators... they suddenly can't produce wickets that has pace in it... by nature our wickets are spin friendly... and if they prepare a wicket that assist spin... icc comes knowing at our door calling it a dust ball... like what happened at kanpur last time... so what he should do... other than producing a batathon...?

Rohit said...

Come on...really? I agree this pitch was abysmal but then so was Kanpur...and the mumbai one which gave Clarke a fifer. These are two opposite ends of the spectrum and are equally harmful for cricket. The good pitches lie somewhere in between...

Mahek said...

The pitch at Nagpur was just fine. If it was really that bad I wonder how India put on as many runs as it did for their tenth wicket. That game lasted longer than the one at Headingley but no one said a word about that test, did they? So why only call India out when a game finishes inside three days? Hell Clive Lloyd complained about the Motera pitch even after we beat Sri Lanka on the fifth day of the test in 2005.

Batsmen have gotten so used to playing on flat tracks they can't cope with a pitch which has even a little bit in it for the bowlers. Unfortunately the match referees have to use their judgement to rate pitches and we all know how subjective their judgement can be.

Nathan said...

No wonder that Pakistani captain quit; how do you acquire > 50% draws and look yourself in the mirror afterwards??

If there's one thing I love about the Australian team its that they adopted the view that a Draw was a Loss with a fancy title.

Let's take the obvious away from this Test Match; the groundskeeper at Motera needs to become Minister for Infrastructure, STAT, and the current Minister for Infrastructure needs to become a roaming groundskeeper for the Indian test grounds. That should ensure some "lively" pitches!

And Sangakkara needs to do something exciting to break this hyper-cautious approach. Take him sky-diving or something, I'm sure you can find someone in the Sri Lankan team who would like the experience of shoving him out of a perfectly good airplane after that last match...

Purna said...

Homer, I realized I never replied to you here. I still love Test cricket because I don't enjoy watching batsmen hit sixes and fours every other ball. I love the classic bowler vs batsmen mind games on the field. And what do you mean who is being tested? Watch the Pak vs NZ game or even the Aus vs WI game Homer. Or maybe just Sreesanth? :)