Strauss: Tests could 'fizzle out'

2014-10-03 11:35
Andrew Strauss (AFP)

London - Former England captain Andrew Strauss has issued a dire warning for the future of Test cricket, saying he fears it could "fizzle out".

Strauss made his gloomy forecast in the paperback edition of his autobiography, 'Driving Ambition', published Thursday.

In it the former opening batsman, who led England to Ashes victory in both 2009 and again in 2010/11 in Australia, highlighted the revamp of the International Cricket Council - on whose cricket committee he now sits - and the rise of lucrative Twenty20 tournaments such as the Indian Premier League as the biggest threats to Test matches.

Cricket's three wealthiest nations - India, England and Australia - now effectively run the ICC, cricket's global governing body, between them.

Should a new television rights deal be concluded, the trio and in particular India - already the richest of the three cricket boards on account of the massive commercial marketplace generated by the huge following for the sport in the world's second-most populous country - will become even wealthier.

Strauss believes this will create an increasing number of lopsided matches, in turn speeding the demise of Test cricket, which although many players still say it is the pinnacle of the game can struggle to bring in crowds outside of 'marquee' fixtures.

"India can argue that they bring the most money into the game, and thus deserve more out of the precious ICC broadcasting rights, but skewing the distribution of the three boards that are already the most financially secure can only create a situation in which the rich get richer and the poor poorer," Strauss wrote.

"With only ten teams playing Test cricket and four of those already struggling to stay competitive, the risk of the game degenerating to the extent that the result of many Test series is a foregone conclusion is both high and real."

Strauss, who captained England in 50 of his 100 Tests, added: "I have to admit that I become more and more concerned about the plight of Test cricket every year.

"Watching a Test match between the West Indies and New Zealand in an empty stadium with no more than a handful of spectators in attendance sends out warning signals.

"Seeing that the viewing figures for a county Twenty20 game rival those for a Test match adds to the growing perception that Test cricket is in crisis.

"I can't help feeling that we have already reached the tipping point as far as Test cricket is concerned.

"The teams will keep playing each other over the next eight years, but aside from iconic series like the Ashes or England v India, I fear that the game is slowly going to fizzle out as a mainstream attraction, especially away from the 'big three' nations.

"It is too late to turn the tide, especially with the glitz and glamour of Twenty20 cricket managing to gain more and more traction every year."

Read more on:    andrew strauss  |  cricket

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