T20 could oust Test cricket –

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

GREG CHAP­PELL fears com­pe­ti­tion in Test cricket could shrink to as few as four coun­tries.

The for­mer Aus­tralia cap­tain said Thurs­day that the growth in the Twenty20 game and di­min­ish­ing pub­lic in­ter­est in the tra­di­tional five-day game could see Test cricket marginalised to the fringes of the sport.

Chap­pell was a star when Test cricket sur­vived the World Se­ries revo­lu­tion of the late 1970s. The In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil re­cov­ered from the WSC schism to since ex­pand to in­clude 10 full mem­bers and dozens of as­so­ciate mem­bers, but now Tests are un­der threat again.

“I have a feel­ing Test cricket is go­ing to re­duce in size rather than grow in size,” he told re­porters, days af­ter a Maryle­bone Cricket Club sur­vey con­firmed in­ter­est in Test cricket was rapidly di­min­ish­ing in many coun­tries.

“I can see a time when there will be four or five ma­jor coun­tries play­ing Test match cricket.”

Chap­pell played 87 tests be­tween 1970 and 1984, scor­ing hun­dreds in his first and last in­nings. He hit 24 cen­turies in Tests, av­er­ag­ing al­most 54. His av­er­age in 74 one-day in­ter­na­tion­als was 40. Af­ter re­tir­ing as a player, he went on to coach in the Aus­tralian do­mes­tic com­pe­ti­tion and worked as a con­sul­tant coach in Pak­istan be­fore a stint as In­dia’s head coach from 2005.

His fam­ily in­volve­ment in the sport goes back to his grand­fa­ther, Vic­tor Richardson, who played for Aus­tralia from 1924-36, while his broth­ers, Ian and Trevor Chap­pell, also played for Aus­tralia.

Chap­pell said the di­min­ish­ing in­ter­est in Test cricket was a good rea­son for ad­min­is­tra­tors to per­se­vere with the 50-over for­mat amid the grow­ing clam­our for Twenty20, the short­est form of the in­ter­na­tional game.

“It’s an­other rea­son why 50-over cricket needs to be sup­ported and given a re-think be­cause 50-over cricket could well be­come the Test cricket of the fu­ture for a lot of cricket-play­ing coun­tries,” he said.

He backed the con­cept of Test cricket un­der lights and im­ple­ment­ing a mean­ing­ful Test cham­pi­onship to bring at­ten­tion back to the longer for­mat, while also en­sur­ing that ev­ery lim­ited-overs se­ries has value.

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