Kohli’s advocacy of Test cricket gives hope to England great Gower

The Indian skipper, who has been one of the top run-getters in Tests in recent times, has often been vocal in his support for the longest format.

“It’s the most beautiful format of the game. I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere," India captain Virat Kohli had said in support of Test cricket.   -  Getty Images

Virat Kohli’s endorsement of Test cricket has given hope to former England captain David Gower about its future, amid fears that the traditional format is in danger due to the rise of T20s.

Although the popularity of the five-day game has taken a hit, with the emergence of multiple leagues, like the cash-rich India Premier League (IPL), and Big Bash League (BBL), the Indian skipper, who has been one of the top run-getters in Tests in recent times, has often been vocal in his support for the longest format.

READ| Test cricket should not be tinkered with, says Kohli

“It’s the most beautiful format of the game. I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere," Kohli had said earlier.

And Gower believes Kohli’s comments, following India's 1-4 series loss against England, are significant.

“We had a fantastic series against India, closer than the margin suggests,” said Gower during the inaugural Ranji Memorial Public Conversation on Cricket in London.

“It is a reflection of the balance of power if Virat says that — you’ve got a lot of people who will listen,” said the 61-year-old, adding that the launch of next year’s World Test Championship will spur the popularity of Test cricket.

READ| No negative points for losing World Test Championship match

Test cricket could receive a fillip if Kohli can break India’s jinx in Australia by winning the four-Test series, which starts with the opening match in Adelaide on December 6.

India has never won a Test series in Australia in 11 attempts.

The Caribbean decline

One of the most dominant Test nations in the past, the West Indies, has witnessed a steep decline in  and Gower said it won’t be an easy task to revive the five-day form in the Caribbean.

“If you are talking about the Caribbean, you are not talking about one nation but several nations,” he said.

READ| ‘We can’t force people to play Test cricket’

“You are talking about socio-economic problems and it’s disjointed.”

Of some consolation to traditionalists is that the debate is nothing new, with Test cricket still alive and kicking.

“In this ultra-modern age, counter-attractions have multiplied many times...They (young people) just haven't got the time to devote to cricket or is it they just can’t be bothered to dash home to tea, then to the local cricket ground?,” he added.