How to write an opinion piece on the death of Test cricket



With Test cricket less than a week away in Australia, one of the key questions of the summer is soon to be answered. For all Aussie sports connoisseurs are desperate to learn which sports columnist will be the first in the annual race to proclaim that Test cricket will soon be dead.


As the country’s columnists begin to sit at their keyboards, it seems only appropriate that the Footy Almanac provide some sage advice for those seeking to pen their own addition to this burgeoning genre.


1) Ground your argument in the concept that Test cricket is monotonous and boring. Mention Millennials, also known as Digital Natives, also known as the Short Attention Span Generation. Comment on how these youngsters – “the future of the game” – cannot possibly concentrate for a day’s play. Do not raise the fact that these people are happy to watch whole television series in a day, so much so that the term “binge-watching” was coined specifically for them.


2) Follow up with anecdotes about boring hours of play, peppered with names of especially non-descript current Test players. Support this with the notion that teams can play out draws after 5 days’ play. Even though you will later refer to previous decades as being the peak of the sport’s popularity and brilliance, and those decades also had a higher percentage of drawn tests, and more hours of play with little action.


3) Mention the busy-ness of the modern Australian and the impossibility of them sitting down to watch five days’ cricket when they need to be at work, look after the kids, and do the chores. Subtly imply that back in the 80s and 90s, everyone over the age of 20 was unencumbered by work and family responsibilities and thus were able to spend every single second of the summer watching the play.


4) Explain that the massive nightly crowds at the Big Bash League over summer shows that Australia has moved on from matches that last anything more than 40 overs tops. Do not raise the fact that last year’s Ashes series was the second most attended Ashes series in Australian history and the highest since Bradman’s time.


5) Find a quote from a “concerned” cricketing legend. They should either be (a) a player who made their name in Test cricket late last century and who despises Twenty20, providing magnificent quotes about the idea that the demise of Test matches is a cancer eating away at the game’s soul; or (b) a player from this century who is still trying to make a living off the shorter form of the game once their Test career is over, providing magnificent quotes about how Twenty20 must be championed as the true future of the sport if cricket is to survive.


6) Use the demise of cricket in the West Indies as the definitive example to show that the sport is doomed, for everyone loved the Windies back in the day. Ignore the fact that anyone born in the 90s and onwards has no memories of watching a good side from the Caribbean.


7) Finish with a rhetorical question, asking how cricket administrators can possibly expect people to come and fill up stadiums for all forms of the game when there is so much cricket on over the Summer. Do not allow an answer to the question that points out that cricket in all its forms might actually be in good shape if administrators and broadcasters are keen for so much of it to be available to the public.


8) Sit back and watch the hits on your piece – which must have the words “death” and “Test cricket” in its headline – go through the roof, and the comments roll in from oldies who are feeling nostalgic for days and teams of yore.


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About Edward P. Olsen

EPO is equally passionate about sport and sports writing. While others toil away at the local indoor sports centre re-living their futile childhood dreams of being one of the best of all time, he types away at home re-living his futile childhood dream of being one of the world’s great columnists.


  1. Test cricket is alive and well – mark my words. Next Thursday in Adelaide we will see “house full” signs and watch the best team in the world at the moment take on Australia, damaged but not dead.
    People such as your good self with this attitude, even though it may be tongue in cheek, will help stoke the fire but it will be to no avail.
    King Cricket will rise again and smote the soothsayers with the sword of Arthur and a few cricket bats.
    NB. Must at this point declare that I am a distant relative of the said King Arthur.

  2. Very good, Edward, and so true.
    I am surprised not to have read such an article as yet.
    Neil Harvey was formerly Mr Dial-a-quote. With Dean Jones not far behind.

  3. John Butler says

    Acutely observed, EPO.

    You could couple this article with one on the demise of rock’n’roll.

    I think both genres inevitably end up reflecting more on the fact said scribe has entered middle age, than anything particularly relevant to either topic.


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