Thursday, August 20, 2009

The classiest form of cricket is Test Cricket. But the problem is that it is not always entertaining. But if you compare the best test matches with the best one dayers or 20/20 cricket, the limited over version pales in comparison.

The best contests between batsmen and bowlers take place in Test Cricket. Imagine a test match with a fall of just about 40 wickets spread over five days. There is nothing to match it. Batsmen are tested in Test matches and bowlers get enough space to exhibit their skills.

But the biggest problem facing test cricket is not the five long days as is commonly presumed but five dull days. As long as the days are exciting, five days are no problem. To change dullness to excitement, more results are required. But this shall be ensured such that the essence of Test Cricket is maintained.

Here is the prescription

The team batting first starts with the usual eleven wickets and if they have wickets left at the end of the first day, only one wicket can be carried over to the second day. In other words on the fall of the first wicket on the second day first innings ends.

Let us see an example. Suppose India at the end of their first day ends with a score of 5 for 298. Then India's first innings ends on the fall of the sixth wicket the second day. Thus India has batted upto the seventh batsman.

Now the opponent starts their second innings and they will be all out on the fall of the sixth wicket. Thus it can be called a limited wickets match but the limit to the wickets cannot be known in advance.

Let us now see the effects of this. The batting team will try to preserve their wickets while the bolwling team will be out to get as many wickets as possible on the very first day since they can bat for that many wickets. So it will be a superb contest between bat and ball.

Suppose the first team is all out on the first day. In this case it has no change from the present Test. Imagine a situation when the bowlers get only one wicket of the team batting first on day one. In such case the second team can bat only upto the fall of two wickets.

This system will ensure a thrilling first innings. So what about the second innings ?

Rules shall be such that if the first innings of both teams get completed at the end or before the close of second day, the second innings shall be played for full ten wickets. Or else the second innings shall also be a limited wicket affair. Here the limit on wickets shall be fixed based on days or overs any other valid criteria.

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