Let’s bat for more Tests
Test cricket needs more support and needs to be more meaningful for the interest to be sustained.
Usman Khawaja’s brilliant century saved Australia from a certain defeat in the first Test against Pakistan at the Dubai Cricket Stadium. Khawaja had also got a gritty ■5 in the first innings to add to the century he scored in the second and that should forever silence all those who doubted his ability to score runs in subcontinent conditions. Sure, he didn’t score many in the few innings he had in Sri Lanka, but not many others in that Australian lineup — apart from the then skipper Steve Smith — had got runs either.
There is a tendency, especially in the media of the old powers, to put some players in a bracket and Khawaja was among those who were not expected to score runs in these pitches. So when the Australians came to India early last year, Khawaja did not get a single game despite the fact that he was a left hander and would have given a different problem for the Indian spinners. Ricky Ponting had a couple of centuryless tours to India and he looked clueless, especially against Harbhajan Singh, but nobody would have dared to drop him. He did get a hundred on his last tour of India but his average in India is a little over 26, which by no stretch of imagination befits a great batsman like him.
The sad thing is that if a player is of a subcontinent origin and a naturalised Australian or Englishman he will be stereotyped against certain attacks and not given the same kind of opportunities as those afforded to cricketers of Aussie and English origin. Look at Mark Ramprakash, who was never given the confidence that he belonged to the English middleorder and so he was not able to transform his superb firstclass record into a Test and international one. Others of English origin playing around the same time were never given any tags and so played on despite ordinary returns.
The Pakistanaustralia series is also a twotest series just like the Indiawest Indies one and does little justice as there’s the likelihood that there could be a drawn series if both teams win one game each. Mind you that could happen even in a three or a fivetest series but at least both teams have a chance to break the stalemate and try for a win.
Test cricket needs more support and needs to be more meaningful for the interest to be sustained. As we move into the digital age with less and less concentration time for youngsters unless there is a reason to watch Test cricket they won’t watch it or if they watch at all it will be for a short time and not the whole five days as earlier. Matches hardly ever go into the fifth and final day nowadays,