ICC to blame for Test shambles

November 22, 2011
by Paddy Briggs

Newlands

We have just witnessed one of the best Test series in recent times between two heavyweights of cricket, South Africa and Australia. And yet before we could even get comfortable in our couch, the two teams shook hands and Australia have boarded their plane home having levelled the series.

The drama and tension of a nail-biting last day proved that there is no better spectacle than that of Test match cricket. A fifth day wicket with both sides exchanging blows in order to triumph just cannot be recreated in any game played within a limited number of over inside a day.

Ten days of phenomenal cricket has been enjoyed by viewers worldwide, but in these same people, a bad taste has been left in their mouths. Why are we not getting more of this? Australia were in South Africa for about as long as Louie Walsh’s acts were on X-Factor this year.

The ICC will blame the countries Cricket Boards for setting up this convenient series so that both sides could play home matches around the lucrative holiday season. However for the good of the game, the ICC needed to put their foot down and do what was right for what is in some people’s eyes a dying product.

Touring should be a tougher business then popping into a country for two weeks and playing a couple of Test matches. I can understand a two Test match series for teams that are not equally matched, but this series from before the first ball was bowled had the makings of a great contest.

Whoever allowed this to happen at the ICC must be held accountable, and should be expecting the sack at a similar time to that of Steve Keane at Blackburn Rovers.

Good on you ICC

One thing that the ICC has got right over the past 12 months is their new directives on Test match playing surfaces. For many years we were seeing the bat dominate the ball in a way that was making viewing Test cricket unbearable. There was a mixture of reasons why the pitches were created in this way in the past. In England and Australia where the crowds are good for Test matches, administrators were making sure that matches were being played into day five, and they were not bothered about drawn matches as long as their pockets were full. In places like India, Sachin Tendulkar was not requesting anything with a bit of grass on the wicket, and that was that.

The new regulations state that pitches must offer a balance between bat and ball and that flat batting surfaces will be marked down, just as much as unplayable wickets where matches are over inside two days. Batsmen now have to work a bit harder for their runs, and batting collapses are far more common. The public are always actively engaged in this type of contest.

Aussies go foreign

One thing I thought I would never see is Australia appointing a foreign coach for their national side. To me this is a statement of acceptance that they believe that they are not ‘streets ahead’ of everyone else like they thought they used to be, in the hiring of Mickey Arthur. Whenever I visited Australia in the early 2000’s and talked cricket with anyone, I always got the feeling that ‘we know what we are doing’. This would stem from the way they train, to the way they play, but more importantly then anything, it was the way that their Australian coaches would coach. That is why they believed they were top of the tree.

‘English batsmen are useless. Their trigger movements are ridiculous and none of your guys pick the bat up straight like us Aussies’. These words are still ringing in my ears from the great Bobby Simpson, who was actually a brilliant coach.

A few years on, and a South African is in charge and a lad called Phillip Hughes is opening the batting. Oh how times have changed.

The Scoop 22/11/2011

2 Comments to “ICC to blame for Test shambles”

  1. Diego
    November 22nd, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

    Couldn’t agree more Scoop! Where were you in OZ? You are a mystery!

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  2. Eddie
    November 22nd, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

    Must admit I’m not a fan of foreign coaches but I guess this is the way of the world right now and I cant complain about Andrew Flower! Lets get rid of Capello though sooner rather then later! Cant even speak English!

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