The loss of interest in Test cricket is worrying authorities all over the world and there are a lot of suggestions coming forward to ensure that Test cricket survives.
The experiment with day and night Test cricket with the use of the pink ball has been tried and while it was successful in terms of the crowd response, which was phenomenal to say the least, the fact that the pink ball swung like a yo yo throughout the game and especially under lights has made the authorities think about that aspect. Clearly you want to have a game where the conditions remain the same for both teams.
Sure there will be sessions when the sun may not be around or when rains interrupt the game and leave the outfield a bit wet which makes it harder for the bowlers to get a proper grip on the ball. The contrast swing which occurs when one side of the ball is kept dry thus goes out of the window when there is a wet outfield.
This is also the problem when there is the dew factor in the evenings and that's why it's important to ensure the day and night matches are played when there won’t be the dew to make the ball wet and take contrast swing out of the equation.
Giving free tickets to schools or at nominal prices is also a great way to attract the next generation to watch Test cricket especially at centres where there is not much chance of having a full house. However the most important thing is to have the authorities show that they themselves care for Test cricket by making sure that every effort is being made to give the crowd, however small it may be, full value for their presence.
The recent washouts in Durban and Port of Spain was not such a great advertisement for Test cricket when very little effort was made to get the ground ready for play. Port of Spain didn’t even have a super sopper which would have made it possible for play to start.
There was bright sunshine but there was no play because the ground couldn't be dried enough for play to restart. The ICC has made its inquiries but as expected nothing much has been done with taking action against the two centres.
Now in Kanpur also we have had the same problem. Rain for half an hour and bright sunshine after that but not a ball bowled for the rest of the day’s play. There were two super soppers seen at the ground but they were not used which only the ground authorities can explain.
But it is scenes like these which will make spectators themselves ask why they should support Test cricket if nobody is interested in giving them the game they have paid to watch.
The last week was one of those rare weeks in the year when there was no international game played so there is no CEAT International Cricketer of the Week but congratulations to Indian cricket for reaching the milestone of 500 Test matches which only three other countries have reached before them.