Test cricket is in jeopardy and this is one step in the fight to save it - Michael Vaughan | Sunday Observer

Test cricket is in jeopardy and this is one step in the fight to save it - Michael Vaughan

Test cricket has been in decline for years and the move to a Test championship is a move in the right direction. It will add relevance and meaning to every game and series.

One of the things that makes T20 leagues so popular is they are easy to understand.

You can see which teams are top of the league, those that are bottom. In Test cricket none of us really knows how the rankings work.

Over a two-year cycle, you would expect England to have a great chance of reaching the final but the teams that finish in the top two will be those that can win away. That is the challenge. Administrators know Test cricket is on the decline. There are a lot of people against change in cricket but they have to understand cricket is a business.

Test cricket costs a huge amount of money to put on. Broadcasters have to be kept interested in the format. If they lose interest, it is dead.

Test cricket needs a story or narrative and it doesn’t happen apart from the odd big series. This will give it that narrative and add value for the broadcasters.

Traditionalists will say Test cricket should not be about money. But if we are going to grow the game with women’s cricket, grass roots and schools then it takes serious levels of funding and that only comes through broadcast deals. I like the idea of trialling four-day cricket and I have no doubt in the future the league will be based on four days.

The average Test lasts for 331 overs. Yes, we still have great fifth days. We have had drama on the last day in recent years, particularly at Headingley this summer when West Indies beat England, but the majority of matches finish inside four days.

Four-day Tests will be easier to schedule alongside T20 leagues. The majority of those leagues are hugely successful and England will have their own new one in 2020. It will be given huge exposure on terrestrial television and make the summer feel less cramped if Tests were played over four days.

Next year scheduling is all over the place. We have a Saturday start against India at Trent Bridge.

If we switch to four days with every Test starting on a Thursday it would enable grounds to cash in on corporate sales on the first two days and then have family days over the weekend.

Test cricket is still the greatest format but we have to do everything we can to make sure it is relevant in 50 years time. This is a step in the right direction.

- UK Daily Telegraph 

 

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