ICC CEO Dave Richardson doesn’t believe Test cricket has lost its sheen but said the five-day format needs a lit bit of boost to keep the interest alive among fans.
Richardson’s statement came in defence of ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar’s recent statement that Test cricket is slowly dying.
“What he (Manohar) was meaning to say is Test cricket was calling out for more context,” Richardson was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“Yes, there are some iconic contests that take place from time to time, but really, unless you are a part of or a fan of the participating teams that particular series had no real interest (to fans globally).
“And with the introduction of the World Test Championship, that adds interest and helps to promote the Test game worldwide no matter who is playing. That is what he was saying: Test cricket needed just that added boost, it needed to be promoted and the World Test Championship hopefully is the answer to that,” he added.
ICC Chairman Manohar had recently said that “We are trying to see whether Test championship can generate interest. Because Test cricket is actually dying to be honest.”
Richardson, however, said there are many countries where the format is closely followed and provided numbers to prove his case.
“In many countries Test cricket is still very closely followed. We have got more than a billion fans that follow cricket - 68 per cent of them are fans of all three formats of the game, which means that close to 700 million people are fans of Test cricket.
“So it is wrong to say that Test cricket is dying. It is harder for people to go to five days of a Test match, spend every day sitting there for six hours.
“Maybe the way that people are following Test cricket is different to what it was say 10, 20 years ago. But I don’t think it is dying. The (World) Test Championship, though, will provide more context and more interest and just be an extra hat peg that we can hang our hats on.”
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