Was 28th January 2024 the best day in the history of cricket?

DeadlyVenom

Senior T20I Player
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I've recently had a bearish attitude towards the future of test cricket. It probably stems from the steep decline in Pakistan's quality and the decline in interest in the test game in Pakistan. As Pakistan does not have the monetary clout to contend with potential Indian isolation, I have reluctantly felt that Pakistan must de-prioritise its focus on Test cricket to try to raise money and be competitive in the shorter formats. Much of this stems from the toothless actions of the ICC but also from the PCB's incompetence. I think other boards apart from the Big Three are in a similar position.

However, the events of these two test matches kicked me out of my malaise and helped me rekindle my love for the long format (as a fan, from a business perspective, it still seems doomed). I reached out today for the remote control as soon as I woke up before remembering it was all over yesterday.

Some interesting takeaways from me:

1. Sporting pitches make for exciting cricket - it is common sense but it lost on administrators across all formats. You can understand a little bit in LOIs but flat pitches in Test Cricket is criminal ( Ramiz Raja are you listening).

2. We had two games that were riveting with a good balance between bat ( Ollie Pope, Steve Smith etc) and Ball ( Joseph, Hartley)....both concluded within 4 days. Is it time to just go for shorter matches.

3. The most important thing for...every single fan comment, forum post, post on X, post on facebook, general day to day comment said the same thing - I hope Joseph is protected from leagues. The visible ratio of "fans" that want the player to remain in international cricket far outweighs anything else. I haven't seen one comment saying I wish he plays for Melbourne Reds, or Peshawar Zalmi, or New York Abu Dhabi Giants, or I wish the Indian conglomerates sign him for 6 different leagues...so how exactly are the finances so skewed in the favour of many of these artificial leagues. Are we cricket fans living in a bubble, or are the leagues operating in a bubble?

Now how can the ICC capitalise on this:

1: Shorten test cricket to four days ( I know this may be controversial given the overall positive tone of the post towards tests).

2: Schedule games on the same time where possible. For instance yesterdays series could all collectively be marketed as WTC round 5 or something. Try to play as much test cricket in the same window to keep fans engaged.

3: Make all series 3 matches. Oh is India v England more profitable than India v Bangladesh? Doesn't matter. They should both be 3 tests, find a way to make India V Bangladesh or the collective product more marketable. Man City v Liverpool doesn't get more matches than Man City v Luton.

4: Wishful thinking - but ensure that India v Pakistan is a valid WTC fixture. If either side don't play. dock points.

5: Make Classic test matches packaged and readily available viewing on streaming platforms to engage younger viewers. I think tiktoks of epic test battles would engage younger viewers.

We were fortunate that somehow all the stars aligned and the events of yesterday took place. Now is the time to build on top of it.
 
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Continue with your bearish attitude .

You are living in an echo chamber with die-hard cricket fans on your social media feed.

There won't be any meaningful difference.

There is no business model that can allow Test cricket to thrive ON ITS OWN. Simply can't pay its own bills.

Distributing ICC revenues is still subsidising Test cricket from the profits of white ball cricket.

You can't market a product that is inherently unattractive to casual fans when there are far superior options.

The only sustainable way to lengthen the the life of this format is to find a way to dramatically reduce the cost of the product without compromising on its quality - an impossible task.
 
Continue with your bearish attitude .

You are living in an echo chamber with die-hard cricket fans on your social media feed.

There won't be any meaningful difference.

There is no business model that can allow Test cricket to thrive ON ITS OWN. Simply can't pay its own bills.

Distributing ICC revenues is still subsidising Test cricket from the profits of white ball cricket.

You can't market a product that is inherently unattractive to casual fans when there are far superior options.

The only sustainable way to lengthen the the life of this format is to find a way to dramatically reduce the cost of the product without compromising on its quality - an impossible task.
A short term bailout could happen to determine the viability of the format and to help get it to a point where it can potentially pay its bill.

The test championship only came into play once the format was nearly dying.

One collective jump start to try and see if there is a spark left could be worth it.

It would be criminal not to try in some way to capitalise on recent events.

Appreciate the point about the echo-chamber. It is likely true. But does an echo chamber exist anywhere where people call for players to represent New York in the Abu Dhabi T10 or express their desire for Shemer Joseph to play for Cape Town Maharajas?
 
A short term bailout could happen to determine the viability of the format and to help get it to a point where it can potentially pay its bill.

The test championship only came into play once the format was nearly dying.

One collective jump start to try and see if there is a spark left could be worth it.

It would be criminal not to try in some way to capitalise on recent events.

Appreciate the point about the echo-chamber. It is likely true. But does an echo chamber exist anywhere where people call for players to represent New York in the Abu Dhabi T10 or express their desire for Shemer Joseph to play for Cape Town Maharajas?

Sure they can try but I don't see any way out of this .

The echo chamber for T20 leagues doesn't need to exist because that is the default path for cricketers coming from the West Indies , Sri Lanka and such. Even Pakistan

People don't call for players to play in these leagues because that's the inevitable reality.

The fanbase of these leagues know that these players are going to end up in these leagues anyway.

Only bilateral fans feel the need to protect him from the franchises and endlessly mention that on a loop.
 
I've recently had a bearish attitude towards the future of test cricket. It probably stems from the steep decline in Pakistan's quality and the decline in interest in the test game in Pakistan. As Pakistan does not have the monetary clout to contend with potential Indian isolation, I have reluctantly felt that Pakistan must de-prioritise its focus on Test cricket to try to raise money and be competitive in the shorter formats. Much of this stems from the toothless actions of the ICC but also from the PCB's incompetence. I think other boards apart from the Big Three are in a similar position.

However, the events of these two test matches kicked me out of my malaise and helped me rekindle my love for the long format (as a fan, from a business perspective, it still seems doomed). I reached out today for the remote control as soon as I woke up before remembering it was all over yesterday.

Some interesting takeaways from me:

1. Sporting pitches make for exciting cricket - it is common sense but it lost on administrators across all formats. You can understand a little bit in LOIs but flat pitches in Test Cricket is criminal ( Ramiz Raja are you listening).

2. We had two games that were riveting with a good balance between bat ( Ollie Pope, Steve Smith etc) and Ball ( Joseph, Hartley)....both concluded within 4 days. Is it time to just go for shorter matches.

3. The most important thing for...every single fan comment, forum post, post on X, post on facebook, general day to day comment said the same thing - I hope Joseph is protected from leagues. The visible ratio of "fans" that want the player to remain in international cricket far outweighs anything else. I haven't seen one comment saying I wish he plays for Melbourne Reds, or Peshawar Zalmi, or New York Abu Dhabi Giants, or I wish the Indian conglomerates sign him for 6 different leagues...so how exactly are the finances so skewed in the favour of many of these artificial leagues. Are we cricket fans living in a bubble, or are the leagues operating in a bubble?

Now how can the ICC capitalise on this:

1: Shorten test cricket to four days ( I know this may be controversial given the overall positive tone of the post towards tests).

2: Schedule games on the same time where possible. For instance yesterdays series could all collectively be marketed as WTC round 5 or something. Try to play as much test cricket in the same window to keep fans engaged.

3: Make all series 3 matches. Oh is India v England more profitable than India v Bangladesh? Doesn't matter. They should both be 3 tests, find a way to make India V Bangladesh or the collective product more marketable. Man City v Liverpool doesn't get more matches than Man City v Luton.

4: Wishful thinking - but ensure that India v Pakistan is a valid WTC fixture. If either side don't play. dock points.

5: Make Classic test matches packaged and readily available viewing on streaming platforms to engage younger viewers. I think tiktoks of epic test battles would engage younger viewers.

We were fortunate that somehow all the stars aligned and the events of yesterday took place. Now is the time to build on top of it.
Your 3rd point doesn't make much sense.

There is no reason for india to play 3 tests series against Bangladesh, it would be a borefest with 0 fan interest and india would hammer them 3-0 home and away.

There would be 0 public interest for it and who's going to pay the bills.

I see no point in humiliating minnows in front of empty stadiums.
 
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Sporting pitches is the main issue with Test matches. Pakistan and West Indies have been preparing notoriously dead pitches leading to low interest in the next generation of players and hence decline of these two teams.
 
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Test cricket is for purists. The whole reason T20 cricket took off is because a game from start to finish lasts about 3hrs rather than five days after which you still might not get a result.

T20 is exciting, gets the the casual fans involved, and really most successful sports like football or tennis won't last more than a few hours.
 
That was the most extraordinary day of cricket I can remember, and one of the most joyful days I've experienced as a fan. It made all the petty politics, the controversies, and the nonsense we see following cricket worth it.

Close finishes are rare in what Scyld Berry described as the brutal meritocracy that's Test cricket. Even rarer is India and Australia, comfortably the hardest places to tour, on the losing end. However that's only part the story. Both Tests provided narratives that'll be told for years to come.

A Guyanese security guard that grew up in a remote village, who's shot up the ranks in a year, blowing a World Champion team away in his debut series with a nearly broken toe.

A balding Lancastrian debutant with a mediocre FC record who some wrote off before he landed in India (and nearly everyone wrote off after a 1st innings mauling) - picks himself off the floor to fall a cricketing superpower.

Now England beating India isn't a headline. Beating India after conceding a 190 run deficit is.

And what's worthy of an entire film is a team who failed to qualify for a World Cup, who got smacked around by the Netherlands 8 months ago, beating the double World Champions in their own backyard with a group of unknowns even to their own fans.
 
2 Test matches and 2 one of the most exciting finishes to these matches. Why not it is the best day for Test cricket. Excitement levels and suspense were at their peak. Rise of a youngster in the ranks of West indies and the innings of his life by Ollie Pope. Fabulous.
 
Your 3rd point doesn't make much sense.

There is no reason for india to play 3 tests series against Bangladesh, it would be a borefest with 0 fan interest and india would hammer them 3-0 home and away.

There would be 0 public interest for it and who's going to pay the bills.

I see no point in humiliating minnows in front of empty stadiums.

Context matters. The ICC has failed to create context.

Imagine Ind v Bangladesh going on just after Aus v Sri Lanka for example in the final round of the WTC.

India need to win on a dustbowl in Mirpur to progress into the WTC final. Bangladesh need to win to avoid relegation.

It makes things a little bit spicier.

Sports without a story becomes boring. Even the wider story behind the current England v India series is - Will Bazball perform in India.
 
There may not be people calling for Shamar Joseph to play for a franchise @DeadlyVenom because he was already scheduled to play both ILT20 and PSL.

Will definitely lay CPL and IPL of he can as well.

Dude will be playing 4 franchise leagues per year.
 
It was surely one of the best days of thrilling test match cricket. I don't remember we had such a thrilling two test match finishes on the same day before.
 
There may not be people calling for Shamar Joseph to play for a franchise @DeadlyVenom because he was already scheduled to play both ILT20 and PSL.

Will definitely lay CPL and IPL of he can as well.

Dude will be playing 4 franchise leagues per year.

I know we have spoken about this a few times now and probably disagree but I still dont get it....

There is surely nobody in the world who genuinely desires to see Shemar Joseph play for Abu Dhabi Kings ( or whoever the team is in ILT20)
 
I think it was an okay day of test cricket but from what I've seen in the press and the social media, the neutrals absolutely loved it for whatever reason.
 
India England match was also a thriller one but what impressed many was the fightback from winidies. Shamar Joseph bowled his heart out with an injured toe. Historical victory for the windies in the end when the game was shifting in favour of both teams with every over. It was exciting to watch TBH.
 
Test cricket is for purists. The whole reason T20 cricket took off is because a game from start to finish lasts about 3hrs rather than five days after which you still might not get a result.

T20 is exciting, gets the the casual fans involved, and really most successful sports like football or tennis won't last more than a few hours.
Those who want to see players only in Test/ODI and not in T20 leagues are selfish snobs. The players are humans with families and a very short career where they can potentially make money. While we love to be entertained by classic Test cricket, we also need to think about the players who provide us this entertainment. T20 as just cricket is boring for me, but I love that it is providing money and financial independence to the players.
 
I know we have spoken about this a few times now and probably disagree but I still dont get it....

There is surely nobody in the world who genuinely desires to see Shemar Joseph play for Abu Dhabi Kings ( or whoever the team is in ILT20)
Because you are thinking like a Test match fan.

Casual fans, who are the vast majority of fans of franchises and cricket in general, want a great product. But they don't necessarily follow any cricket outside of ICC tournaments, franchise cricket and probably their home board's bilateral series in that order.

Test match cricket involving neutral teams is the least followed form of cricket by a country mile.

Casual fans don't even know that Shamar exists. How can they clamour for him if they are unaware of what he has done?

I can give you an example from India. The AUS-WI Test series had consistent viewership numbers of 12K-25k with the exception of the last couple of sessions when Shamar was bowling WI to a win when viewership went up to 200 K on Hotstar(the streaming service that has digital rights)

On the other hand, The India - NZ Under-19 match yesterday had 200 K viewers on Hotstar almost consistently for the entire match.

Basically, Shamar Joseph is about as well known as the U-19 sensation Musheer Khan who scored a ton yesterday.

And this is in India where Test cricket is actually followed to some extent. Casual fans in PAK, RSA and other places are even less likely to know who Shamar is considering that they don't even follow their home side's Test match fortunes.
 
It was certainly up there.

Boxing Day 2010 also stays in my mind, the gripping opening days of two classic Test matches, Australia v England in Melbourne and South Africa v India in Durban, both of which also ended up being famous away wins.

Love a Boxing Day Test.
 
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