England vs India 2014 Geoffrey Boycott exclusive- England should not be gloating over their victory | gocricket.com
gocricket.com exclusiveGeoffrey Boycott

Boycott: England should not be gloating over their victory

20 Aug 2014, 0856 hrs IST,  Geoffrey Boycott,  gocricket.com  
Boycott: England should not be gloating over their victory
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England may have won resoundingly but Test cricket may have lost out.
Amidst the hullabaloo over India's miserable performance in the Test series, I would like to draw attention to a point that seems to have gone unnoticed. As I have said elsewhere, Indian batsmen seemed nothing more than lambs to the slaughter, but think back to last winter, when the English batsmen were getting a similar sort of treatment at the hands of Australia. It was annihilation.

My point is, we shouldn't really be gloating about the victory over India. England may have won resoundingly, but Test cricket may have lost out.

It is never a good advertisement for any sport when contests become so one-sided. I wouldn't know about you, but I want to see a hard-fought contest, to enjoy the rise and fall of a team and, hopefully, see the team I support win in the end. Uneven match-ups are invariably boring.

This isn't the first time I've voiced my theory that in order to survive the challenges posed by limited-over cricket: Test cricket needs to be boosted with some oxygen. In the past, there was a theory that Test cricket could be revived if only we had more result-oriented games. Well, we do have a result here, and things still do not look promising.

Plenty has been written about this particular series, and going through some of that, I came upon a very interesting statistic, which says that of the 41 Test matches played during the whole of 2013, a visiting team won only two, which I thought was an astounding piece of information. And on both occasions, the losing team was Zimbabwe.

That makes it evident that Test matches are becoming harder to win for a visiting team. And that defeats the entire purpose of a five-day tussle between bat and ball, where the advantage constantly shifts from one team to another, which is supposed to be the fundamental quality of Test cricket. Instead, what we are increasingly witnessing is the almost complete domination of the home team, any home team.

The other thing that strikes me is the breakneck speed at which modern Test series are played. India and England played a five-match series in a little over a month, so they had very little time to recover in between. And make no mistake, Test cricket imposes severe demands on the body. Contrast this to series in the past, when visiting teams were hosted for as long as three or four months, which meant they played at a far more leisurely pace.

Such hectic schedules and year-round cricket simply means players lose both fitness and focus far more easily than they would have done had the recovery time been longer. And that leads to contests that really do little for the sport. Shouldn't we act now, before the death knell sounds?

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