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Cricket Fever - Test Cricket

Four slips, one gully, forward short leg, silly mid-off, fast bowler running in. He bowls a brilliant outswinger the batsman plays a rash drive the ball edges his bat and he is caught at the second slip. Sounds thrilling right? This is real cricket. The purest form of cricket which tests the player’s mental and physical fitness. Test has longest match duration than any other sport in the world. The Test lasts for long 5 days. The first test match took place between England and Australia between 15 and 19 March 1877 at the iconic MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground), Australia.

Before 19th century Test Cricket was the only known format of the game. Test was very popular. The stadiums would be jam packed when legends like Sir Don Bradman, Sir Vivian Richards and our very own Sunil Gavaskar batted whole day long without even wearing a helmet. ( Once Sunny bhai was asked why he is not wearing a helmet to which he humorously replied that there was nothing inside his skull to protect it with a helmet).Not to forget the bowlers especially the spinners who bowl long spells of 15-20 overs.

Test is very beautiful in itself. The pitches in SENA countries (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia) are very green. They are very bowler friendly rather fast bowling friendly where the ball swings madly with deadly bounce. In subcontinent the pitches are batting friendly and spin dominating.

The greatest test ever played in Indian Cricket history was between India and Australia in the Border-Gavaskar series of 2001. 2nd test at the Eden Gardens. In that match Harbhajan Singh took a Hat- trick. Who can forget the mammoth partnership between VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid. Laxman scored 281 and Rahul scored 180. A very interesting incident happened in this match, when Sachin got out the spectators left the stadium. The stadium was empty, but when Rahul and Laxman started getting runs the crowd was back again.

The purest form of cricket is declining now because of T20s. The audience wants only entertainment. Those who understand Cricket only those watch Test matches. The stadiums are deserted. Especially in India, but the top players like Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers, Kane Williamson, Steve Smith and many more prefer Test over T20.

Catching attention of the spectators is a challenge for Cricket boards. They are doing great job by bringing reforms in Test Cricket such as World Test Championship. Its like a Test World Cup which is a 2 year long tournament. Where a team will play 3 home series and 3 away series. The final will take place between top 2 teams. The best part about it is that name of the player is written on the jersy. This had never happened before.

Another initiative is the Day-Night test match. It was first time in 2015 when Test was played under floodlights. Also the Red ball is replaced with Pink ball. The match was played between Australia and New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval. India played its first Day-Night match in 2019 against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens. The presence of the audience for that Test Match was unbelievable. The stadium was jam packed again.

Test Cricket is not at all boring. We need to understand the beauty of the original cricket. Of course becoming a test player is not everyone’s cup of tea. I feel test should be promoted more. Let’s get into detail about ODI’s next time.

- Vedant Rajesh Kulkarni

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