Is test cricket on its way out, or is it still drawing large crowds to the stadiums? It continues to be one of the most contentious questions in the game of cricket to this day, and the answer isn't always straightforward.
So, in order to make your argument, we have to understand how it started and where it is leading towards.
The History and start of Test Cricket:The first test match was played between England and Australia on 15 March 1877 at Melbourne Cricket Stadium, and it was the first time the world witnessed the test format in action. The match lasted until the 19th of March. Australia won the match by 45 runs.
Charles Bannerman became the first ever Batsman. In the history of the Test format, to score a run and a century. On the other hand, England's Alfred Shaw bowled the first delivery and took a total of three wickets.
Even though the first ever match was allegedly played between the United States and Canada in 1844, it was never recognized internationally.
The Legend of Ashes:The Ashes are one of the most watched and most anticipated events in test history, and they are adored by cricket fans all over the world, regardless of where they live.
In this series, England and Australia compete against one another, and the series' origins can be traced back to an article published in 1882.
The first meeting between England and Australia took place in 1877, but it was at the Oval in London in 1882 that the legend of the Ashes was established.
Several days after Australia won their first match on English soil by seven runs at the Oval, Reginald Shirley Brooks wrote an article for the Sporting Times in which he mockingly quoted,
"In Affectionate Remembrance of English cricket, who died at The Oval on 29 August 1882. Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances, RIP. NB – the body will be cremated, and the ashes taken to Australia."
The format of Test Cricket:In terms of time duration, the Test format in cricket is one of the most exhausting in the world. It is played for up to five days and is considered to be one of the highest standards in the game.
Test cricket earned its label because it is a physically and mentally demanding sport for both the teams competing and the individuals participating. It takes a more in-depth strategy and more practice to stay on the field and face the challenges ahead.
Two teams of 11 players compete in four-inning games that can last up to five days, compared to the previous six-day games that were played. It is a comprehensive examination of the team's endurance and ability to work as a unit, and all of this makes it fun for fans all around the world to place their bets.
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The decline in popularity:People have made the assumption that test cricket will be phased out in the coming years ever since the introduction of Twenty20 cricket several years ago. It shouldn't come as a surprise given the amount of money that is being invested in the game and the fact that players are gravitating towards other formats.
In addition to the Ashes, the decline in the number of people attending live matches at stadiums indicates that the oldest format in cricket is in danger of being phased out.
"If we are arrogant enough to believe that Test cricket will always be available, we are sowing the seeds of our own demise," said Andrew Strauss, the former England captain, in one of his interviews.
The most significant factor contributing to the decline is a lack of income. Teams in leagues such as the Indian Premier League and the Pakistan Premier League have shifted the financial balance away from Test cricket and toward the shortest format of the game.
But looking at all of this, the fans have the same opinion.
Is the test still the fan favorite?Looking at a fully packed Ashes stadium, it's not a big argument to make.
According to an MCC poll, 86 percent of 13,000 cricket fans still believe the test format is the best. Therefore, it's safe to say that the test format isn't going away anytime soon, and the fan base is growing.
Fans still consider it to be one of the most entertaining formats to watch since it puts a player's talents and a team's endurance to the test.
The ICC is also encouraging teams all around the world to include the test format in their tours to raise the profile, and no matter what, the public still enjoys a long day at the Oval venue watching different heads collide for the title.