Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum believes that Test cricket will cease to exist in the future due to the meteoric rise of Twenty20 cricket.
With a plethora of domestic tournaments like the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Big Bash League (BBL) dedicated to Twenty20 cricket, McCullum admitted that the clock is ticking in regards to Test cricket going extinct.
Since retiring from international cricket in early 2016, McCullum has featured in numerous Twenty20 competitions all over the world. Currently, he is representing the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.
“I firmly believe that Test cricket won’t be around in time, because there’s only so many teams that can afford to play it,” he told The Cricket Monthly. “I’m also a realist that people are turning up and watching T20 not just at games but also on TV – society’s changing, isn’t it?
“People don’t have four or five days to commit to Test cricket. They might watch the first session, and the last session on day five if it’s tight, but they’re not going to then you strip it back a level as well and you think domestically, how can teams around the world afford to even exist?”
In the future, McCullum firmly feels that Twenty20 franchises will stop letting players leave midway through tournaments in order to represent their countries in Test matches.
“Long long-term, I see a T20 franchise as owning players, and I don’t see them releasing those players to play for their nation in a Test match,” he said.
McCullum also made it clear that by separating Test and Twenty20 cricket even more, it will greatly benefit the latter.
“I don’t buy that you need residual [Test match] skills to be able to then transfer into T20,” he said. “To me, they’re played with the same instruments but they’re completely separate games. I think once we do separate it even more, then the skill level of T20 cricket will go to a whole new level altogether.”
In the ongoing edition of the IPL, McCullum hasn’t been at his best as he has scored 127 runs in six matches at an average of 21.16. Despite this, the 36-year-old still believes that he can keep playing for a few more years.
“I’m invigorated by it, to be honest, the way I’m hitting the ball,” he said. “So I’ll do that, and then I’d like to transition into some coaching stuff, because I think the IP – especially in T20 – the IP of three hundred and something games is quite valuable, and also I like the idea that I can help people.
“And I think if you’re running an environment, then you have the ability to be able to free guys up, knowing that you have influence over selection and things as well, so the message of freedom and selflessness within an environment, you can actually back [it] up through looking after them and ensuring that they are playing the next game and the game after that and the game after that.
“And there was one thing I was proud of with my New Zealand role as well – so there wasn’t an off-tour selector on tour – and the way [New Zealand coach] Mike Hesson and I would work, I’d always have a strong say in that, and we’d always back the guys more than we didn’t back them, and we gave them their freedom and I think they responded because of it. And I think long term it would be nice to be able do that in a T20 environment.”