Thursday, July 25, 2024

“Test Cricket Summed Up”: England Great Gives Verdict On Reality Of Test Cricket


Former captain Nasser Hussain said England’s quickfire victory over the West Indies in the first Test at the Lord’s summed up the problems the longest format of the game finds itself at. England beat West Indies by an innings and 114 runs in the first hour of day three, to now take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. While England had some red-ball preparation in the form of County Championship games, West Indies played just one three-day red-ball game against First Class Counties XI in preparation.

Moreover, the majority of the members in the West Indies squad haven’t played red-ball cricket since the wonderful eight-run win over Australia at Brisbane in January. “Those two days summed up for me where we are with Test cricket. You talk about all the batting they could have but they’re off in a white-ball sunset, you’ve got bowlers who haven’t bowled, you’ve got undercooked cricketers, and then you lose the toss and have the worst of conditions, and everyone goes ‘Test cricket is dying’.”

“But if you prepare for a Test match like that, you’ll get exactly what England get when they go away. It frustrates me because you’ve got to give Test matches the preparation that they deserve, which is a very easy thing to say but a very difficult thing to do in modern times,” said Hussain on the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast.

There is curiosity around whether the second Test between England and the West Indies at Trent Bridge will prove to be more competitive. “The other story is ‘the West Indies are in terminal decline’ — England haven’t won in the Caribbean for two decades and (the West Indies) hold the Richard-Botham Trophy.”

“England travel to India or Australia and don’t particularly do well, so it shouldn’t just be a West Indies story. All it does is add to the fact that Test-match cricket is in a difficult place, and it is sort of self-perpetuating.”

“If you don’t look after it, then sides turn up and put in a performance like that, and everyone goes, ‘Told you, Test-match cricket is dying’. Listening to you speaking to Jimmy Anderson after 188 Test matches on the podium, I would like to think we would try to look after Test-match cricket.”

Michael Atherton, the former England skipper, elaborated on how Anderson spoke passionately about his love for Test cricket following his retirement from international cricket at Lord’s and will now take up the role of fast-bowling mentor in the red-ball team.

“Anderson said, ‘Test cricket has literally made me the person I am’. So, all the lessons he’s drawn from Test cricket — the ups, the downs, the highs, the lows, the coming back for that third spell at six o’clock in the evening and having to dig deep within yourself.”

“All of the things which have made him the mature person he is, Test cricket has helped him along the way. I wanted to ask him about it because it’s at a fragile time, he’s going to move onto a mentoring role and you’d hope, because there are young players coming through now who will have career choices to make.”

“You’d like to feel Jimmy would say to them ‘sometimes the easiest choices are not always the most rewarding or most fulfilling’…although everybody needs to pay the bills, one understands that.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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