Test cricket in crisis?

 

How much trouble is Test cricket in ? The only nations where there are large crowds are in Australia and England. We have had the incredible situation of one day of the England v Pakistan series commencing with 53 spectators, Sri Lanka with free admission still not getting a crowd. South Africa appalling crowds, India where 80 thousand people would miraculously appear if Tendulkar was not out at lunch now they only flock to the short version. Pakistan through circumstances beyond their own control have not been allowed to play at home. New Zealand only draws reasonable crowds on Boxing Day.

World cricket basically survives on Indian money through television rights it is estimated that 70 cents of each dollar in cricket comes from India. Society seems to demand the quick fix of 20-20 world wide. Society has completely lost the ability to appreciate the nuances and subtleties of TEST match cricket.

Why is this so?

World cricket now no longer plays proper warm-up games eg touring sides in Australia used to play 3 warm up games against full strength state sides with these matches having significant influence in the evolving pecking order of our players. Australia touring England had even more warm up games. These served the purpose of playing a huge part in having players properly prepared both batting wise and bowling hardened wise therefore providing a contest, world cricket has now evolved to basically the home teams win.

Cricket is in crisis it seems the rest of the world only wants the fast food variety.

How has world cricket fallen away do dramatically ?

Any suggestions to fix the game?

Can cricket just survive on advertising revenue?

How important is the paying spectator ?

What is the future of world cricket?

Solutions folks?

Comments

  1. Citrus Bob says:

    Malcolm
    your questions are ones that have (had) been the talking point amongst cricket fans and officials world wide for many years and still we cannot come up with the right “mix and match”. Jimmy Sutherland’s latest “beach cricket in the Olympics” is mind blowing but it will probably happen as their is money in advertising/promotion.
    What is the solution? As one who has covered cricket across the world people on the streets still love the long game. You never get asked the score of a fast food game but everyone asks you “what’s the score?” when it comes to Test matches. There is always a keen interest in how their country is faring.
    Will this bring more people to the Test Match arena? I don’t think so as the younger generations unfortunately like everything to be going at a million miles an hour and life is about self.
    Personally I think the players and the player’s union should seriously consider the rightful place of Test Cricket on the agenda. This includes fixtures, no play periods, lead-up matches and compensation that equates to more money if you play Test matches. Like the ICC they do not have any teeth and are probably dictated (no they are dictated) by the all powerful India and their minnows Australia and England.
    As they say in the classics “money is the root of all evil” and so it is with cricket.
    Will the pinkies make a difference? Yes, people will flock to Adelaide in a fortnight and only time will tell if this will mean “all systems go” for the only true game.

  2. I agree with your arguments Rulebook. I blame the television networks who seem to have an agenda of no drama no coverage. Perhaps the genesis of this argument can be traced back to the days of World Series Cricket. Kerry Packer was upset with the way that cricket was broadcast and challenged the establishment. The result was World Series Cricket, and test cricket suffered under the new regime of day night matches, white balls and players in pyjamas. Fast forward 20 years and the generation that grew up on a diet of one day cricket now found this form of the game to be too long and boring. Their solution was 20/20 cricket, a farcical game designed to suit a generation that needs constant stimulation. Coincidentally this was the same period of time where a new word entered the cricket lexicon; spot-fixing.
    Where to next? 10/10/10/10 mini tests that are over in one night? Bigger bats? Bowlers are only allowed to bowl half volleys? If the ICC have any say then they will always drive to follow the next trend that will generate maximum revenue.
    As for me, I miss the days where test cricket lasted for 5 days, batsmen didn’t need to play at every delivery, where scoring 300 runs in a day was bloody good going, where teams didn’t have unofficial drunks breaks every two overs, and 90 overs were bowled in a day and play still finished by 6pm. I’ll stop now as I’m sounding like a jaded middle aged man.

  3. Malcolm, the death of test cricket has often been forecast since the 1970’s. However this current period has some worrying features. Where do I start re my concerns? OK, let’s give this a burl; This is in no particular order.

    The demise of the Windies. From a period of circa 20 years where they dominated world cricket to the mess they have been since 94-95. A loss of interest amongst the game per se, the never ending conflict between the board and players, combined with their best players often choosing to play 20-20 for franchise sides ahead of their test side. What can one say re this.

    The dominance of the sub continent, especially India Financially, politically, numerically this is where world cricket is run. The power of T20 here, with its lure to players far surpasses the focus on tests. Test crowds in India are down, 20-20 crowds, and interest, are huge.

    Pakistan playing before empty stadiums on foreign soil, not able to play on home soil, yet they’re currently ranked 2 in test rankings. What do we make of this.

    Here in Australia though we still have decent attendances for test cricket, the Big Bash concept is where the money is, and the focus of young Australian fans. This reflects the contemporary world where we want instant gratification, we want it now if not earlier.

    Test cricket does not meet the need of being a spectacle that can provide the instant gratification and jiussaince we’re taught is what we want. How to move on from here to allow test cricket not just to survive but maintain its mantle as the primary form of the game? I

    I’m happy to hear what others think on this topic.

    Glen!

  4. Matt Lane says:

    No characters left in the game. Over governed by fun police and generally people who have their own interests at the forefront.

  5. Not a fan of day night cricket at all. Pink ball proven to not be durable. Somethings should not be touched no more so than daytime test cricket

  6. More Bob Neil banners.

  7. its like watching paint dry

  8. A lack of a crowd means a lack of atmosphere, meaning the game becomes boring. The Big Bash seems to be the way that most people go with cricket, whether it’s the shorter span of the game or the entertainment, Test cricket just doesn’t have the same appeal to fans anymore.

  9. Lovely Lisa says:

    Over policed and too many stake holders who don’t know the game.

  10. Steve wood says:

    The game is bankrolled by the shortest form of cricket, mainly from the subcontinent with test cricket falling way behind on the ‘entertainment ‘ agenda.
    Tv networks and some who run the game have been telling us for years that the shorter form was a way of getting kids involved from a younger age; and the kids do, but a lot of them will only know this form of the game as that is all they will know and enjoy. That could be because that is the only form they are good at, or that is all the time they have to commit to one particular activity.
    The need for kids and a growing number of adults to have that quick fix of a game over and done with in three hours with all the fireworks and loud music will only grow into the future as attendances will continue to fall at test cricket.
    I saw some of the recent England and Pakistan test matches and you would rather watch paint dry it was that slow.
    As in one if the previous comments, the demise of the windies as a force in world cricket has reduced crowds to any of their fixtures.
    Not sure of the answers, but I’ll bet there will be half the amount of test cricket in 10 years time that we currently have now.
    But will the larger population give a shit? I don’t think so

  11. Nikki Visser.

  12. Matt Lane says:

    Get Shane Warne to run test cricket… Will be a success

  13. Peter Flynn says:

    Lee and Brayshaw commentating.

    Blimey!

  14. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Citrus Bob I love the idea of incentives re for playing test cricket and I couldn’t agree with you more re the whole comment.Scrote a very interesting point re Kerry Packer and World Series cricket and again I agree entirely with your comment and I to would love some slow days tactical fighting test cricket.Glen totally agree the demise of the West Indies has really hurt the game overall.Matt the fun police lack of characters and cost are all contributing factors and yes self interest is a huge problem.JJ how there has not been more progress re a ball for night cricket is mind boggling I remember the Orange ball in shield cricket ( Ben Johnson a superb ton for sa v wa) but it got to dirty and we are not ready for night test cricket.Wes re the spin triplet banner,Shane Warne,Tim May and Bob Neil Tim May said he had finally made it getting his name on a Bob Neil banner.The Bob Neil and Don Bradman stand and people asked who is,Don Bradman ! Yep time for another,Bob Neil banner.Andrew totally disagree.Campbell spot on a crowd is neede for atmosphere and it does bring out the best in players.LL don’t no the game and self centred interests are a huge problem.Steve 20 20 was supposed to bring the youth in to the game and develop a interest in the longer form overall it doesn’t seem to be working and yep society demands a quick fix for everything.TC outstanding yes great memories and would certainly bring crowd backs.Matt having,Shane Warne involved in world cricket administration would be fantastic and innovative for the game thanks folks some thought provoking comments

  15. Dave Brown says:

    My perspective is this has been the case for some time – we like to pretend that that test cricket is a mass spectator sport but with a few exceptions it just ain’t. It is for the most part an elitist institution to be consumed by members of state cricket associations and people on couches. Don’t forget many of the English venues only hold 15,000 so a full stadium there looks like an empty Gabba. If Australian cricket can turn a profit with existing crowds and TV rights then that’s good enough for me. That said, I think the day night test is a great idea (the ball can just be a condition the sides need to consider tactically) and it will be well embraced with many more general admission seats sold than is usually the case.

    As for the popularity of T20 cricket, I just bought my family season GA ticket for the Strikers – works out at less than $10 a ticket, including the spectacle of the New Years Eve game. Costs an adult $46+booking fee for the cheapest ticket to Day 1 of the Adelaide test. One is an affordable family event – the other is not.

  16. Luke Reynolds says:

    While the ball is not yet right, Day Night matches will be a huge boost for a game that needs at least 3 of it’s days scheduled during the working/school week. Scheduling is a major issue, this series has started two weeks too early, and no surprise interest is down when the game begins in Melbourne Cup week. More lead in games for every tour are a must, invest some money in regional venues and people would go and see NZ v Vic in Bendigo, NZ v Tas in Devonport etc. Everything is so capital city based. Also the long talked about but never acted upon World Test Championship would add more context and meaning to every Test match. Get it done ICC.
    Ticket prices also an issue, it’s not cheap to attend a day of a Test with family, most money comes from TV anyway so slash ticket prices. A fuller stadium looks far better on TV.
    And promote it! Where was the promotion for this Test??

  17. Mick Jeffrey says:

    The issue (which comes up annually) will probably be amplified this year given NZ are a better White Ball team and the Windies are a basket case whose best players are chasing the dollars in the same country. That said I’m probably going to confirm Boxing Day tickets next week given the ritualistic nature of the pilgrimage although I probably don’t need to like I didn’t for Sri Lanka a couple of years ago..

    I’ve mentioned before that in this country (apart from Qld) simply pushing the start time back a couple of hours would be more effective than scheduling a D/N test match. With daylight still in plentiful supply at 8PM that would be the ideal end to the day given 9 would then still have a largely uninterrupted prime time lineup, which even in the summer non-ratings period is as important as ever. You’d still get the decent crowds rolling in, especially after work.

    As for the upcoming experiment, I would think that CA would be hoping the series would already be decided by the time this test starts. The losing team assuming there’s not a tie or draw would have the handiest excuse as to why they got beaten. Certainly the elements of history and novelty have drawn the attention for this year, with a lack of affordable accommodation in proximity to the ground the reason why I’m unable to attend despite being hopeful earlier in the year. It will be in years 2 and 3 where we can accurately measure success for the concept, when there’s less of a novelty about the so called spectacle.

  18. People need to get a hold of a powerful documentary titled “Death of a Gentleman”, that will help people realise how cricket has been hijacked over the years.

    I loved a comment from Gideon Haigh who said, “Cricket exists for broadcasters, corporate investors, entrepreneurial administrators … and the cricket fan is there to be exploited,

    I hate what the game has become, just like football which has sold its soul to the highest bidder. The game we love is gone forever, there’s no returning it to former glory.

  19. Mmmmm interesting points you make

  20. Martin Rumsby says:

    The evolution of cricket into a game with so many different formats places pressure on each format to be viable. Prior to this year’s World Cup, the 50 over format seemed to be really struggling at international level and I suspect that format is still the most vulnerable.

    As for test cricket; maybe the day-night format will give it a new audience. It is still the most meaningful form of the game.

  21. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Dave unfortunately in reality you are correct and cost is a huge factor it is ridiculous that you virtually need a bank loan to take a family to test cricket.Luke totally agree with every word why with such a vast spread out country we are so city based with every thing is completely mind boggling.Mick logically you are right at least pushing the start time back would help and entry cost reducing thr out the day and yes the novelty factor is huge for this year agree let’s wait and see in a few years.Graeme we are on the same page thanks,Emily.Martin agree re the 50 over format it is still a very vulnerable format of the game and us true cricket lovers hope so as it certainly is the most meaningful form of the game
    PJF the tv commentary in general is appalling the radio a mile in front

  22. Agree RB. The world is now operating in a microwave. The 12 second sound bite for “news”, T-20 cricket, big hole golf, and either Trump or Clinton will decide our fate. Ghastly thoughts.
    But good Test cricket is still very good. Hopefully quality will prevail.

  23. So where are we at ? Is there a future for Test Cricket beyond ashes contests?

    I totally concur with the demise of tour games. The last few years when they have taken place, here or in the UK they don’t get called tour matches, no they are now practice games. This sort of parlance does not help the status of any cricket beyond the hyped up hit and miss encounters. Do tour matches still have first
    class status?

    Living in a time where everything seems premised on immediate gratification and gain it’s hard to see a test revival in the short term. Things tend to be cyclical so there might be an upsurge in a decade or so. I suppose it’s about being in the right place at the right time.

    Anyhow let’s hope we grab those 7 wickets and go one up.

    C’mon Aussies !!!

    Glen!

  24. The issues are many and in no particular order, imo (and most of these have been touched upon above);

    * Play on weekdays in Nov, early Dec automatically wipes out predominant market
    * Sanitisation of viewing experience in soulless stadiums
    * Sanitisation on-field / lack of characters
    * TV broadcasting play in host city
    * Tests more easily digested in bite sized chunks on plasma at home with cheap full strength beer
    * Lack of free time, more recreational/sport options
    * Windies in a terrible state
    * Slow play
    * Some test series squeezed in to fill obligations/fill a space have little context & interest
    * Chinese water torture of playing out tests where result is inevitable from Day 1 or 2
    * Too much other cricket of a type that reiterates sometimes dull nature of test play
    * Lack of Nikki Visser (LOL TC!)

  25. Paddy Grindlay says:

    Slow play and lack of interest don’t help either.

  26. Steve Fahey says:

    I agree with much of what has been said, especially by Rulebook and Luke.

    There has been some terrific Test cricket in recent years, the Sth Africa/Australia 2013/14 being an exemplar of the best of the game.

    Home country advantage has become more pronounced in recent years, due to a lack of decent warm-up/tour games and pitch preparation to suit the home team (note the India/Sth Africa game played on a dustbowl from day one). The lack of decent warm-up games is exacerbated in shorter series – if you go 1-0 down in a three Test series and are still underdone, you have little hope.

    I think that later starts and lower ticket prices are part of the answer in terms of re-attracting crowds, but Test teams getting more proper lead-up games and decent wickets are at least equally important as people want to watch good cricket and a genuine contest.

  27. Too many one sided tests sub standard pitches too many teams.

    My solutions 2 divisions with a promotion relegation systems. Tougher policing of pitch preparation.

    Lower prices. More day night test matches

  28. One particular bane of mine is the two test series which has become increasingly prevalent . WTF !!!! These series are structured around limited over contest withe role of test being almost superflous.

    How can a two test series garner any interest or support ?

    Glen!

  29. Agree Glen, 2 tests do not a series maketh.

    On a semi related point, wtf was going on in the minds of those who arranged the 4 test trans Tasman netball series recently. Australia thrashed in the last game but won on aggregate – what a bizarre celebration that was.

  30. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Dips agree with every,WORD and indeed a ghastly scary thought.Glen some of the warm up games have,1st class status others do not ( get back to proper games not 2 day practice rubbish) seems to be slipping further away rather than a revival..Jeff agree with most of your points I enjoy slow rearguard play on occasion and while it doesn’t happen that often part of the appeal of the game is fighting back from the dead another result of so much,20 20 players seem to have lost the ability to stonewall and grind out a draw.Steve agree completely lack of quality re pitches is a huge problem world wide as well.Raj all for promotion and relegation but long term we need,America,China and others playing cricket and hopefully to progress to test status.Glen totally agree,2 test series are a farce and seem to be fitted in around the
    1 day and 20 20 fixture.JD yes the finish of that netball series was bizarre to say the least surely they could have had a odd number of matches ? Thanks guys

  31. Paul Buxton says:

    You used to be able to sit and talk to your mate, but now some idiot with a microphone seems to feel obliged to tell you everything you can see with your own eyes and on the magnificent Adelaide Oval scoreboard or the less so replay screen. Then breaks also have to be filled up with noise and “content” too. Plus I generally agree with most of the points made above!

  32. It’s sad. As a true cricket enthusiast I wish it were different. Unfortunately the world we live in is dominated by money and the cost associated with going to the cricket are ridiculous. Perhaps make memberships transferable for a start.

  33. Test match cricket isn’t in trouble, New Zealand cricket is though. Basket case is being polite!!

    Chris Cairns ruined New Zealand cricket.

  34. Winnie (The original) says:

    Agree with much of what has gone before. Over rates, constant drink and gear inturuptions drive me mad.

    Perhaps we need to attack this from the ground up. My love of of cricket was nurtured by watching my WA hero’s Lillee, Sargent, Edwards x 2 , Milburn, Gannon, Mann, ect when the ABC televised the last session of the Shield. I think I remember watching the last 100 of Barry Richards triple ton against us.

    It wa straight off the school bus to watch us battle the evil empires of the eastern states.

    The Big Bash has shown the local product can be embraced. Lets promote the bejesus out the Shield . Turn Bancroft, Head, Zampa into cricketing heros for our kids and watch them follow their progress in Tests.

    So many digital free to air stations showing 24hr Demtal crap surley one could be turned into a cricket channel.

    Imagine a cricket show along the lines of The Winners with Drew Morphet,I’d watch that!

  35. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Paul totally agree all the crap over the mike is so frustrating,Ryan administrators just do not seem to understand the bloody cost part just shows how far out of touch with reality they are.Mark they are far from a basket case yes lack a bit of depth but the stupidity of lack of decent preparation is there main problem.Winnie going a step further I would love the shield players out at schools doing coaching clinics,have them doing tours of ad oval really trying to get a connection with the public.i like another suggestion today re after the success of the Pakistan v India World Cup game here that we bid for,Pakistans so called home test matches this has distinct potential

  36. As said as it is, Test Cricket doesn’t hold the appeal for younger fans.
    Mind you, as someone who was brought up on summer’s of cricket, I’m fairly apathetic towards it these days, apart from Ashes series.
    I still think Test Cricket is the pure game. Twenty twenty is dross, beach cricket slog-a-thon for those with short attention spans.

    But what’s the answer?
    Not sure.
    Brissy test was embarrassing.

  37. Cricket administrators (like airlines) view the paying customer as a hindrance – just check the playing/viewing schedules – all loaded towards TV and advertising.

  38. If we use international popularity as a measure then apart from soccer most sports are failing. Both rugby codes are only of interest in a few nations. America’s NFL is not much more than a cult game.

    I’m sure we’ll still be worrying about Test cricket in fifth years.

  39. Cricket, in all its forms, like football, tennis, and other ‘sport’s are now primarily spectacles to enthrall us from the mundanity/challenges of our life. Like rabid dog alludes to, the primary purpose of these spectacles is premised towards TV and advertising. I can see the dilemma but i’m out of my depth re finding a suitable answer.

    Glen!

  40. I enjoy all formats of cricket and consider myself unbiased towards one or the other.

    The way I see it test cricket needs to reinvent itself. Whilst the best test cricket is the most intriguing viewing, unfortunately 80% of it is pretty boring. Compared to t20 where 80% of it is very interesting, so it is consistently more entertaining, and more reliable entertainment.

    Test cricket is most interesting when the conditions are bowler friendly. Especially as a TV viewer, being able to see significant lateral movement (either big swing, seam or spin) is crucial and keeps you interested because something could, and is happening every ball. Then when batters make 100 or even 50 it is something to really celebrate and often match winning.

    There is also the issue of fast bowlers not wanting to play tests because it destroys them physically, having to bowl 50+ overs per match, backing up day after day, which would be solved by innings rarely lasting longer than 70 or 80 overs, meaning they would probably only be bowling 25-35 overs per match and therefore not as big a risk of being injured and missing, for example, the IPL.

    So I see the future (in say 15 years time) of test cricket being 3 days long, (potentially with a 4th day held as a reserve day should weather play a part and a minimum of 270 overs not have been bowled) most likely day/night, in bowler friendly conditions.

    I know this all may sound controversial and the purists will probably hate it, but my view is non stop entertainment for 3 days is better than 5 days of lack lustre cricket.

    There is potentially to use 2 new white balls and have 2 compulsory new balls after 70 overs, so each ball only gets 35 overs old. Yes this probably means coloured clothing.

    Obviously tours will be shorter, and 3 day tests can be played Friday, Saturday, Sunday each weekend, so a 3 test tour might only take 3-4 weeks, allowing more time at home for players, or more opportunity to play in t20 competitions.

    A fair bit to digest there, but the only other alternative will be a slow death of test cricket where 1 off test matches will be played between all countries other than ashes and maybe India.

  41. Peter Crossing says:

    Thanks for your thoughts young Malcolm. The problem of where Test cricket fits alongside the other forms has been with us for some time. Even more so now. We live in a rapidly changing society that seeks instant gratification whereas the strength of Test cricket is the unfolding of events over a longer period of time.
    Many of the current problems stem from greed.
    As evinced in the recent ABC 4 Corners program The Great Cricket Coup, India now dictates while Australia and England are subservient. Wally Edwards stated that he has worked hard to ensure that “smaller nations are not disadvantaged” but it seems to me that the monetary carve up is all to the advantage of the “big three”. Also, there is a need for a fair allocation of income to be spent on grass roots development. And this does not mean beach cricket in order that it be accepted as an Olympic event.
    I agree with Graeme’s comments above and thank him for the heads up on the documentary “Death of a Gentleman”. Graeme quotes the ever-insightful Gideon Haigh who has nailed it. The fans do suffer at the hands of those with a vested interest.
    Some observations (old chestnuts) about the state of the Game.
    The scheduling – NZ were obviously under-prepared for the First Test, arriving when they did and then being treated to a pitch that was not up to standard. There were problems in England too, with Australia arriving hot on the heels of previous campaigns, to be beaten at Cardiff and then sent up country to play against a second-rate county side.
    TV, radio broadcast – I accept the advertising breaks because it pays the bills and enables such high quality visuals. I cannot abide listening to the Channel 9 audio for obvious reasons. On ABC radio, Nannes and Rogers made insightful comments at times. Too often, however, the radio broadcast descends to mirror the TV verbiage of “what we had for lunch”. Jim Maxwell remains an exceptional broadcaster.
    Low attendance – Yes, many spectators have headed off to the T20 form or to watch cricket on TV. The cost factor is also relevant, whether in the purchase of a ticket or suffering at the tills of the scalpers who run the food and drink concessions inside the ground.
    Matador One Day Cup – What was that all about? A large fortune was spent on refurbishing the Adelaide Oval in order to provide a brilliant venue to attract spectators (even with the aforementioned scalpers) yet the one-day competition now occurs in the back streets of Sydney. Oh, but the games are televised free to air.
    Spot betting and match fixing – insidious. However I do feel sorry for a naïve Lou Vincent who was easily led.
    Corruption – Compare cricket with the happenings in international athletics (Olympics, world championships and marathons), FIFA, horse racing and cycling.
    Warne to run Test cricket – Now there’s a thought. Tactically astute. Often boorish. The Warne way would be the only way. If anything goes wrong then someone else will cop the blame – Mum, the camera man, the selectors for playing or not playing Siddle as the case may be – but not Sachin Tendulkar or Kevin Pietersen. However, everyone will get a slice of pizza and maybe even a frothy.
    On a brighter note. The World Cup matches in Canberra earlier this year provided a great spectacle, despite Chris Gayle making the laziest double century I have ever seen! The match between Afghanistan and Bangladesh was a particularly joyous event.

  42. Luke Reynolds says:

    And of course Test matches in November and early December when everyone is busy, as opposed to January Tests (remember the Australia Day Test at the Adelaide Oval??!) make a huge difference in attendences.
    Hosting some Pakistan Tests is a great idea, Pak v India & Pak v Sri Lanka would draw excellent crowds in the capital cities where plenty of ex-pats live. Maybe Tests against other teams could be at smaller venues like Canberra, Newcastle, Geelong, Townsville etc.
    And get the first class game out to the people too. The Sheffield Shield is made up from STATE teams, not city franchises (for now anyway). Playing in Bankstown, Albion & St Kilda is not taking the game to the people. If you could take your kids to a 4 day game in Ballarat it might help get them keen to go to a Test match in Melbourne.

  43. Luke Reynolds says:

    About 10 or 11 years ago I went to a Victoria v Queensland state one-day game at Ballarat’s Eastern Oval. The ground was packed. Ballarat hasn’t hosted a state game since. Ridiculous.

  44. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Thanks Cuttysark76 test cricket is the most pure form of the game,Rabs totally agree sad but spot on.
    Mickey hope so but there are huge concerns at present,thanks again,Glen.A player while I reckon the percentages are open for debate your solution is a very interesting discussion point and I can see the game moving in the direction you have suggested ( appreciate getting a players perspective)
    Noughts allocation and distribution of money is vital and yes it does seem to be heavily weighted in the big 3s favor.( those with a vested interest sad but so true) Radio every time imo.Matador cup purely in Sydney agree with you completely such a flat start to the season.Cost,corruption,gambling huge issues which leave a bitter taste in the mouth.The World Cup in Canberra as Luke says it is crazy that the game in general is so city based.How many champions of the game come from the country for goodness shake share the playing of 1st class games around the country ! Thank you

  45. Barry McAdam says:

    Much of it is timing Malcolm. Tests in November are shit. Now we have low drawing ODI’s in January instead of in early December and February. There should be tests throughout January when people have free time. And the bloody big bash takes up so much time over the dec/jan period. People will turn up for the 3 hours of a big bash game in October, November, February, & March. Put the bloody thing on then. Play test matches when they should be played.

  46. Rulebook.
    The issues with our time poor population is amusing. We want a contest as long as we win. The ratings in the ashes were interesting to analyse. The game we were winning great, the games we were a chance fine. The ones we looked like losing , not so much.
    Maybe I am stuck in the days when Simmo came back to captain a mob of boys but we still had great crowds against India. Probably before your time.
    We are now hooked on instant gratification. A happy ending for some one? Has the good clean battle , a relevance no longer ? In my travels I get asked is what is cricket, the same gets said about Assue rules.
    I wonder if my grand children will have similar reflections or will the games be gone? ?

  47. Tom Martin says:

    It all bloody started when they changed the bloody back foot no-ball rule…

    But I only recognised the decline was terminal when the broken stumps first burst into neon.

    The sports promoters’ relentless surge to make everything more entertaining and profitable has no limits. Ultimately this will save Test cricket. In a decade, the skippers of the Moscow Mules and the Tokyo Twenties will waddle out to the centre of Sydney Harbour Cricket Ground for the toss dressed in costume as a carton of washing powder and an energy drink, respectively. After the toss, brought to you by Kleenex Aloe Vera Super Fly Seven Ply, a squadron of naked fembots smeared in decorative excrement will get the giant roulette wheel spinning dizzily fast. The new teenage Chinese Dalai Lama will swing forth a Nike Air sandal from beneath his Lululemon robes and shove Tyrion Lannister down a gigantic tube of toothpaste into the centre of the roulette wheel where he can only spring clumsily over three of the hurdles before face-planting on 26 Red. On the big screen some lucky punter is apoplectic with ecstasy at having won a rocket trip to the Sun. Mules fans are less pleased – 26 Red means they will pitch the first three innings before the Change of Socks, and the outfield at cow corner will be landmined. The Mules players take to the field of play accompanied by their signature Extinct Whale Song, setting up with a relatively orthodox 7-11 (open 24 hours) field. Since spider cam’s trapeze was first converted for human use (cue Spider-Man theme song on the PA) dismissals out caught have more than trebled. The opening bowler consults his Palsonic smart nipple-ring (the Nippal Ring – brilliant) to check what the Pokemon T20 app has him bowling in his opening spell. For a moment the big screen says ‘Underarm’ and the robot butlers in gunmetal blue-collar Rose Bay 13 cry out ‘Boo!’ before an animated Greg and Trevor Chappell appear on screen and start applying Recklessona Sport 72 hr to each other’s perineum. Brilliant. In real life, the bowler will open with a spell of wides and no-balls to celebrate the second birthday of the Steve Harmison Spot Betting School. The Tokyo Twenties’ two opening holograhams have been in a form slump of late and their strike rate has dropped below 600% for only second time since they passed the Turing Test. The sky-graffiti announcer cheers all the boys and girls up though by swoop-writing some big news on the ionosphere screen. At the tea break, the Today Show will bring us the live human sacrifice of an ex-ABC sports journalist, forced to post Instagrams of himself eating a bucket of Naga chillies until he selfie-immolates.

    It is all one ridiculous sideshow and the only redeeming feature is how quickly it is parting company with the actual sport. I wait patiently for the summer that Cricket Australia writes its own epitaph with its latest Kentucky Fried slogan – ‘T20 – Inspired by cricket’.

  48. greg perkins says:

    it`s the world we live in…an `overload` of everything……………..Cricket…Football(in all codes)…Surfing etc etc etc…………anything & everything at the end of your fingers…24/7. It works for a while then people have had enough…..Test Cricket being played over 5 days where no result is possible is a prime one to `go`….
    highlights package at night is enough?? Too much else to do in life……..T20 is fab….ODI`s r boring now…..time to `invent` a better form of Test Cricket…….quicken it up……….60yrs ago people had little else…now they have `everything` available…..Test Cricket as it is is tooo slow for me…and i would rather play Golf or Lawn Bowls than watch cricket as i am a `doer`…not a spectator. cheers Perky

  49. Peter Flynn says:

    Give me a kg of what Tom Martin is on.

    Superb Tom.

  50. Sean O'Dwyer says:

    Sad times, but disappointing but there’s nothing I can do about it

    The only good sign is that Australian Cricket is still going well

  51. Like most pundits have already mentioned, there is too much cricket, too many forms of the game, and sponsorship and TV rights are king. Thats why CA couldnt give a toss if nobody attends a first class game, and can tolerate ordinary crowds at some tests. Modern society is becoming more and more addicted to fast hits of action then move onto the next thrill. Everything is over analysed and over-commentated so you sit on the couch with your brain in neutral and take in the “expert” opinions as well as the outcomes from the state-of-the-art technology. That aligns with a majority of current society who live their lives through social media and virtual reality. No objective thinking or input required. As long as the shorter fomrs of the game stay popular (which wont be as long as some may think) and that India basically run the sport, then it wont matter whether test matches are relevant or not. Money ruins the grassroots of most sports. As long as the elite come through then who cares about the local community or grade club? Our cricket club has 6 or 7 junior sides but the number of guys that end up plying any form of senior open age cricket would be less than 5%. Why? Because even 80 overs a week is too long for them and it means they cant do other relaxing stuff. The “excitement” that is the T20 will fade unless they continue to reinvent ways of keeping it from becoming predictable – if that hasnt already occured.

  52. Cricket has spread itself thin through different formats and test cricket is paying the price – was only 40 years ago that it was the only game in town in the summer. Test matches are not the premium product they once were, especially outside Australia and England.

    I don’t buy the idea of people having no time to watch, though. Some of my mates with FT jobs spend their whole weekends watching 8 games of footy during footy season, or watch every Big Bash game. Huge betting interest in big bash games to, especially live betting on betfair.

    People are choosing not to watch it because other formats are given equal status and it appeals to them more – if that is the case then so be it – you can’t fight the fact the some people actually like 20/20. Unless the ICC want to wind back the clock have to accept that test cricket is essentially in competition with other forms, albeit that the ICC can dial up or down the amount we are getting.

  53. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Barry totally agree re schedule test matches should be dec and jan why so much prime time for big bash is mystifying.Honda Snr I was at the test match v India ( it was a 6 day game ) with Wayne Clark and Ian Callen bowling us to victory on the last day ( Thommo did a hammy ) Sunil Gavaskar came out of the nets before the last day ( he was already out and says to me I won’t need these any more and gives me his batting gloves saying I won’t need these any more spewing that they got lost a while ago ) today’s society with instant gratification with every thing is a huge issue not just sports wise.Absolutely superb,TM comment of the week.Perky I am strong re there is a place for the subtlety and changing pace of test cricket but it will be interesting to see the changes over the next decade thanks,PJF and Sean.Jags unfortunately I agree with every word trying to keep juniors playing as adults is getting harder and harder with work and so many other things on the go now days with the standard of local cricket dropping by the year.BC totally agree the interest in test matches in general is there better and more flexible programming and costing is vital and betting in sport is a huge hidden issue with we all wonder how many players involved thanks folks

  54. Nick Raschella says:

    I dont think Test cricket is in crisis. Attendance at test cricket might be in crisis but interest is still there. People dont have the time to attend games, but they are interested. They will watch on TV, the net, listen on radio dropping in and out of viewership but less and less people want to go or can go and commit to a full day where the only thing they do is sit and watch the cricket.

    TV will continue to pay decent dollars in the advanced countries. Test cricketers pay packet is in crisis. Other industries go thru it. Media produce digital content but nobody wants to pay for it. The smart media organisations are finding innovative ways to survive whilst downsizing. Same will happen with Test Cricket. It was supposed to die several times since the Packer Cricket war ended and One Dayers took over.

  55. Dave Brown says:

    Geoff Lemon nails why crowds are limited in number – way too expensive if you haven’t already paid for your ticket (i.e. members of state cricket associations) http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-12/for-the-crowds-to-come-back-the-cricket-must-be-cheaper/6935088

  56. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Papa yes agreed there is huge interest re following test cricket but attendance is vital for the whole benefit of the game.Thanks Dave Geoff Lawson’s article is spot on as he admits he was out of touch with the cost of entrance and associated re food,drinks etc,I reckon overall most administrators wouldn’t no the costs either.It is a disgrace that you virtually have to take a bank loan to go to a day’s play of test cricket with a family and that is so wrong.It would be interesting to no the costs in other countries

  57. I’ll be intrigued at the attendance when the Boxing Day test is on. Despite the Windies being at their nadir i still imagine a crowd of 80,000+ on Boxing Day, but after that ???

    Melbourne i sthe sporting capital of Australia so there’ll be a huge turn out on Boxing Day. But day 2, day3, and day 4 if it gets that far, the numbers will dwindle rapidly.

    Glen!

  58. Like Dave Brown (3 posts previously) I agree with Geoff Lemon.
    The admittance costs are just too great.
    Why not lower the prices – there is very little to lose.
    And Day 5 should be free – for each and every Test Match if play lasts that long.

  59. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Glen to say it will be intetesting re crowd on Boxing Day is a understatement if it is massive administrators will continue that all is ok if it is significantly reduced and the punters by not turning up say stop taking us for granted and we want and deserve a contest,what will be the outcome ?
    Smokie cost how cricket can not see it is pricing itself out of the average family has me beat.
    Nathaniel to quote,Pauline Hansen please explain ? thank you

  60. The average wedding speech is recommended to be less than 3 minutes. Corporate meetings > 1 hour ‘lose’ people. So in this era of busy people having no spare time, nobody is going to care about 6 hours in 5 consecutive days. Which is a shame, as the game is designed to be a war of attrition over 5 days, testing the technique, temperament, durability and patience of the best on the planet.

    And so a bastardised version throwing all technique to the toilet that lasts 3 hours, has lots of wickets & 6s, embarrassing fireworks and female cheer leaders, appeals to the masses. A NYE domestic 20/20 in Adelaide will get a larger aggregate crowd than a Gabba test. If you’re West Indian, are you gonna care more about $100k a year playing tests, or $1M having some Sh!ts n giggles for 6 weeks in India…? Nuff Ced.

    And English stadium capacity is half that of the 20 EPL teams with 10 matches most weekends. So yeah, from an attendance & $$$ aspect, test cricket is dead, and will be for some time. But don’t get too upset at the public who dictate all of this… they’re only electing to view what they deem interesting in a timeframe they deem acceptable to concentrate on. It’s just a shame that public interest, and the intended fabric of the game, are polar opposites.

  61. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Jamesey you are 100 per cent correct any 1 any ideas what happened re to the shorter attention spans now days ? Shocking wickets and idiotic pricing are huge factors as well

  62. Yeah true… I rocked up to the SCG several years back when Graeme Smith came out courageously with a broken arm with 9 wickets down (we won the test, but not the series), and vaguely remember the peasant tickets costing around $80 for the day. Probably doesn’t help!

  63. Hmmmm, a lot of posts. Though we hear test cricket is in crisis, he Football Almanac website shows a lot of interest in the topic. How do we get this message across to the masses?

    Glen!

  64. Almost a full house at the Bangalore Test yesterday … phew … what a relief after no one turned up at last weeks game.

    Brisbane Test last week was a record crowd for Aus-NZ at the venue, so let’s not get too alarmist about the best format’s demise.

    IMO, one day cricket is in more trouble. No one goes to the games here anymore, and the Sri Lanka – WI games last month had poor crowds.

    And the Ashes will ALWAYS survive.

  65. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    JT,Glen ( every 1 ) I wrote this out of concern of the well being of test cricket) fantastic that there was a far better crowd in India yesterday but I felt it was a vital subject to get out there as a discussion point overall.The almanac readers are the thinking sports follower and the number of comments with some excellent suggestions to help test cricket Iis exactly what I was hoping for whether cricket administrators read and listen about the problems and have the health of the game as there main focus is another matter

  66. Certainly potentially the subject of a PhD thesis. A psychologist would want to survey a bunch of people in all of the test-cricket nations to see what their responses to a set of carefully crafted questions would be. The cause(s) of the lack of attendance outside Australia & England needs to be investigated. For the most part though, I blame poor parenting!

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