T20 could oust Test cricket –
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.