Sadly, it will also be the end of quality test cricket for the foreseeable future – with a number of other players around the world also playing their last year now. Its a shame that the younger players haven’t caught the imagination of the public, save Ajantha Mendis. We sit and hope that another Adam Gilchrist or another Sachin Tendulkar will come along and everything will be good in the world, but alas, we are wishing for too much. Since the famous Ws left Pakistan, the once proud cricket team has turned into a basket case of team, though not all due to the players or administrators themselves. The similar thing has happened in the West Indies, were the popularity of the sport has fallen to epic portions.
I predict that to a lesser extent, that the Australian cricket team will also find itself in a similar place. Aside from the Sri Lankan cricket team, No team has actually improved in the 3 years in real terms – Bangladesh is lucky to find 12 people who want to play for them, Zimbabwe has gone to the dogs and weasels, South Africa since 2002 has been steadily declining and the list goes on and on. Even India, which seldom matched its talent in times past, is now looking to the future and forced to replace old players with new players who seem to lack any temperament. And therein lies the problem.
Sport is a reflection of the society that partakes in it. The Romans had gladiators and Christians and lions, which was bloody – and this was accepted by society in those times. Basketball is popular in a country that has as much modesty as a drunk whore and as much humility as a heavy weight boxer – again a reflection on the American people themselves. The changes in cricket on a global level is a reaction to the changes in the attitudes of society – cricket has to remain relevant in people’s lives. In this very way we see the growth of 20-20 and 50-50 cricket with a drop in test cricket patronage, which tends to reflect people’s shortening attention span. Test cricket may of had its day already.
It breaks my heart to see falling standards across society, but especially in cricket. Cricket has turned from a team sport to a sport of “I”. Soon cricket will become another English premier league, where the money and ego does the talking and not the loyalty to team nor country. Maybe I am stuck in 1500s still and maybe I am being completely unreasonable, but I know one thing and that is that sport is no longer for the purist. If you want purism, take up another religion.
I digress, As for this test series, It should be a great series but a very sad one. If you have opportunity to go, by all means go – because I doubt in our lifetimes we will see a collection of finer players playing test cricket again. And to God that I was wrong about the future of the Game, but the coming colours for test cricket are not good.