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Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 | Author:
Test Cricket Field Settings

Test Cricket

Let’s travel back to the glorious 1970s. Joel Garner, one-fourth of the fearsome West Indian pace battery is hurling the ‘cherry’ in full throttle to the Little Master, Sunil Gavaskar, on a deadly Barbados pitch. The result – Sunny went backfoot, and hit an impeccable cover drive for a boundary. The shot was met with a vociferous applause from the Barbados spectators and the West Indian players alike. Can we see this kind of behaviors in the shortest form of the game today? The answer is a resounding ‘no’. Test cricket was, is and will remain the pinnacle of cricket. It brings out the real character of the player. Old timers still say test cricket is what separates the men from the boys.

Test cricket is all about technique, skill and uncertainties, which sadly 20-20 cannot emulate. While much as been written about 20-20 cricket as the ‘new kid on the block’, the truth is far from what is being projected. Sure 20-20 is glamorous; more action packed than a Bruce Lee or a Tarantino flick, and is loaded with more cash and bling you can ever imagine. But does it have the soul, the essence of the longest version of the game? No, 20-20 is what I call the Bollywoodization of cricket with less of cricket and more of SRK or Mrs. Shetty.

Hashmi with Cheerleaders in T-20 Cricket

Hashmi with Cheerleaders in T-20 Cricket

Personally speaking, I still prefer test match cricket. Think of the Ashes, or the India-Australia series, or the India-South Africa series, or the Basil D’ Olivera trophy. Can 20-20 come anywhere closer to the excitement generated by test cricket? Never in a million years. While test cricket is about tradition and grace, 20-20 is all ‘wham bam, thank you maam’. The IPL for one is destroying cricket in multiple ways and we see no end to this madness. Modi and his band of robbers are doing what they do best – destroying cricket and making millions. The auction for players in the IPL resembles the auction for slaves in the Roman Empire. And it isn’t just the auction! The cheerleaders, inept commentary and ‘expert opinions’ will make a true cricket lover switch off the TV in disgust. Move over soaps – the IPL is here and will give you a run for your money in disgustingly low standards (or lack thereof!) of television programming.

Where will you come across “DLF Maximums” for an over-boundary or Lalit Modi’s images every 30 secs? Nowhere! Yes, the IPL has changed cricket, its dynamics, but for the worst. True connoisseurs of cricket still consider test cricket to the ultimate form of the game. The IPL will continue to make millions and who knows we will have new teams like Meerut Marauders or Darjeeling Dynamos or Kochi Killers, all competing for ineptness and meaningless matches. Look what 20-20 has done to players like Binga, Freddie, or Bondie. They have retired from test cricket to ‘prolong’ their careers on other ‘versions’ of the game.

Long live test cricket. May the legacies of Bradman, Hobbs, or Hutton rule over the mediocre 20-20 ‘thought leaders’. After all, a Mozart symphony is always superior to a ghetto hip-hop number.