Rahul Dravid, the former Indian captain and one of the major match winners with the bat in the longer format, has asked for a greater number of tests to be played by the countries that have that privilege and cut down on the number of one day internationals being played. The legendary batsman, also known as Wall and Jammy, has also asked for more care to be taken of the first class structures around the world. While speaking at an event named ESPNcricinfo for Cricket he compared test cricket to the root and the shorter formats to branches and offshoots. He has stated that the branches always catch the eye since they carry the fruits or flowers but tests, to him, are the life source, the root, of that tree and if it was taken away the tree called cricket would cease to exist.
The Karnataka man has also suggested several ways in which tests could be made a more attractive proposition such as day night games and paying more to players who are adept at the longer form. He also feels that the cricket calendar needs to be more regular and in better shape for the longest version of the game to survive. He has also called for a test championship that will make the test matches more meaningful.
The opinions expressed by Dravid are, mostly, not new. The ICC has been trying several years to start day night test matches but the colour of the ball has been a major issue. If and when the game is played like this, they will be using a pink ball but there have been plenty of problems with the ball under lights, especially the colour. However, Dravid feels that the pink ball has not been too much of a problem from the experience of having played a couple of day and night first class matches for the MCC of late. The situation is that he is the only player who has not had much problem with it and so there is a chance that the ICC may not take his opinion that seriously after all.
The ICC has also been trying to create a proper format for test matches for the full members. It has a definite test schedule in place and wants to start a proper test championship once the present cycle comes to an end. However, given the escalating political tensions between India and Pakistan as well as England’s policy of not visiting Zimbabwe, one wonders whether this will ever achieve fruition.
His calls for more money for the first class and test specialists is a good one however, considering the plethora of fine cricketers who have missed out on the millions being forked around carelessly in the various premier leagues and big bashes. This will encourage youngsters who are good at playing the longer form of cricket to focus on those skills and not look for shortcuts.
Truth to be told, the fortunes of any enterprise are dictated by market demands and gauging from the attendance and attitude of players, there looks little possibility that Dravid’s calls will be heard and one day test cricket will become an optional form of the game, if not a dead one – it’s disheartening but that is the future, whether we like it or not.