Gavaskar called on the cricketing world to save Test cricket
Former India batsman Sunil Gavaskar believes that Test cricket has to remain as the pinnacle of the sport and noted that balanced pitches were needed in order to accomplish that.
While limited overs cricket may be the most popular format amongst the fans and provide financial security to all the players, Gavaskar reiterated the fact that Test cricket was still the classic format and everyone should be doing everything they can to ensure that it does not become defunct.
Gavaskar made these comments at the annual MAK ‘Tiger’ Pataudi lecture in Chennai.
“T20 is the one that is helping to globalise the game,” Gavaskar said. “Taking it to countries, to emerging countries and taking it to countries like America and China and maybe Europe as well. I think that is the format you probably need to look at if you want to globalise the game.
“However, I still believe that Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game. I think it is, as all the players here would readily acknowledge, that is the medium, that is the format by which they will be recognised as good players or great players or just ordinary players.
“The performances in T20, the performances in the 50-over format are well and wonderful but at the end of the day, it’s Test cricket … how do you do at Test level is what the players know they will be rated by.”
Gavaskar called on the administrators to ensure that Test cricket still remains the legacy of the sport.
“And that is what the administrators also need to make sure,” he said. “Particularly the major countries, the ten Test-playing countries – and out of that I would imagine there are four or five major Test countries – they are the ones who should ensure that Test cricket remains the pinnacle.”
In their past few series, India have been guilty of fixing pitches according to their strengths, but Gavaskar believes Test cricket will be much more enjoyable for the masses if there is a fair contest between bat and ball.
“For that I think you need to have pitches with balance,” Gavaskar said. “Rather than pitches which are one-sided. Pitches which give the opportunity for the best to be tested against the best. Test cricket is a test not just of skill or technique, but it’s a test of your courage and your temperament. And I have always believed that it is temperament that separates the men from the boys. It can only be found out in the cauldron of Test cricket. I would request all the administrators to have a look at it.”
The former opening batsman was against the idea of changing the rules too many times as it just adds unnecessary confusion and sparks criticism from players.
“I think – and this is what Tiger said as well – that we often tinker too much with the game,” Gavaskar said. “That we keep on changing this and we keep on changing that, which makes it difficult for countries which are not cricket-savvy to understand the game.
“The success of football, of tennis and of golf is because the rules are very simple. It is easy to understand, therefore there is no confusion in the mind of those who have never played the game before and whose primary sport in their country is not any of these sports. I think this is something cricket’s administrators need to look at.”