ICC should practice what it preaches
Point taken. Shorter format is the money-spinner and ICC needs money. Why just ICC? Any organisation needs money to stay afloat and nobody questions that. However, in the case of ICC it takes an interesting turn. ICC makes sure that every living soul should know that its priority is nothing but to protect and promote the heritage of Test cricket. It claims that there is nothing that threatens the existence of the longest format, not even the latest fad that the younger generation seems to be fascinated by-T20 cricket. Well, we all stand by the ICC's noble cause, but it will have to do more to impress us lesser mortals. Let me elaborate this in the coming paragraphs.
We all witnessed, whether on television or in the stadium itself, the recently concluded Test series between Australia and South Africa. What a fascinating and gripping encounter it turned out to be. The much awaited drama lived up to the hype and expectations producing one of the best Test series over the years.
In between all this, one thing that kept pinching me and probably everyone watching was the surprising short nature of the Test series. Short enough, that it struggles to be even termed as a series. An encounter between the top Test playing nations lasting only for two matches; what was ICC thinking? Nobody knows better than ICC, the value of an Australian-South African contests. Limiting it to two Test matches does justice neither to the fans nor to its intentions. Certainly, a third Test match under present circumstances could have been the decider since the series has ended in a draw.
If the so called saviour of the game has so much faith in the oldest format of cricket, what led it to trim the series that otherwise on previous occasions consisted of at least three Test matches. Has it succumbed to the lure of the money or to the pressure from the broadcasters and advertisers? Whatever may be the reason, there doesn't seem to be a fair argument that it can come up with to substantiate this ridiculous decision. If time was short, then why schedule it at such a point where a tour lasted for only seven matches (2-T20I, 3-ODIs and 2 Tests)? If this was a contest between two low ranked teams or a low and a high ranked team, the decision could have made a valid argument. Compare this to India's tour of England that lasted for two months- (4 Tests, 5 ODIs, and 1-T20I). Why such inconsistencies?
Think of it. If the length of the series would have been longer, think how much more excitement and viewer's interest it would have generated. Couldn't the ICC have used this as a template to support its campaign of raising the popularity of Test cricket among youth? By taking such inconsistent decisions, ICC is doing nothing but becoming a hindrance instead of being an enabler. Let those cricket boards interested in minting money play one format of the game, but not deny a chance to those who are equally interested in playing the longer format as well.
Another preposterous scheduling can be seen in the India-West Indies Test series. The matches are being organised on weekdays and administrators are crying over the empty stands. What else do they expect? Are people going to take off from their offices or bunk schools or colleges to witness a Test match between two teams belonging to the opposite end of team rankings?
Definitely, ICC needs to walk the talk if it is to be taken seriously about its claims about being a promoter of the game.