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A test of patience

07 August 2012, 14:06

I’m constantly astonished and horrified by the amount of influence wielded by the BCCI. These people claim they speak for the cricket lovers of the Indian sub-continent, and perhaps they do, but they are doing the game a grave injustice with their insistence on Twenty20 cricket, which is a huge money-spinner, at the expense of Test cricket. And the ICC just tag along, gaily waving teir tails.

They are, firstly bullies, who are very quick to play the race card, however subtly they may play it. They do not believe in the efficacy of the DRS, so it is not used in matches involving India. It’s better to be given out, mistakenly, than have the correct decision made, with the aid of technology. They should offer Sepp Blatter a job; he would fit in perfectly.

This rant, for that is what it is, is occasioned by the Test match that finished yesterday at Headingly. Where can a Twenty20 or one-day match, of any description, match the drama that unfolded in that test as, first Alviro Peterson ground out  century, then Kevin Pietersen blazed his way to an unforgettable century, one of the finest of the modern game, in all probability. Stuart Broad’s five wickets forcing Graeme Smith to make a game of it, instead of batting time. Where else, in what other sport, can you find so many ebbs and flows?

And the ICC, in their accumulated wisdom, make this marquees event a three test series? It’s almost as bad as Australia coming here for a TWO TEST SERIES last year!

Something must be done, and I don’t know what it is, but the BCCI and the ICC between them are ruining cricket. No-one wants to play long innings any more. They want to measure the length of the sixes!

With the exception of the World Cup semi-final at Edgbaston in 1999, and the 434 plays 438 at the Wanderers between Australia and South Africa, one-day games come and go and are forgotten, but Test matches remain burned in our memory.

People still speak of Botham’s Ashes, nearly thirty years after it happened. Even World Cup Finals are not remembered in that way.

Sport is often thought of as a metaphor for war, and Test cricket is the closest thing we have. It’s long enough to encompass many plots and sub-plots and only the superior team can win. You can only win by bowling the other side out TWICE. Not that there isn’t element of luck, there has to be. The ball passing the outside edge instead of brushing it. But all sports have an element of luck.

So, I have a theory, and that theory is this. We live in a society where reading is disdained and relegated to a duty instead of the pleasure and privilege it is. Where, when people do read, they read trashy, fast-paced novels instead of something where a bit of patience is required to get the best out of the subject, be it fiction or non-fiction.

TV, and worst of all, reality TV, is king. Discovery Channel were recently in the news again for all the wrong reasons. They rented a house and left it open with food freely available, so they could film the havoc created by the baboons living in the mountains. This was after the residents of the area had spent years creating an harmonious environment for themselves and the baboons. This is reality TV.

Conversation has been replaced by texting, and everything is instant. Is it any wonder then, that people brought up in this culture struggle to watch five enthralling, or sometimes not so enthralling days of Test Match cricket?

And the BCCI and ICC are fostering this passion for emptiness, and that for the sake of money.

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