The Challenges of Test Cricket. An absolute concrete giant of a stadium, beautifully lit by soaring light towers, catchy extravagant music being played on a World class Sound system, flashy advertising hoardings of Top notch commercial brands occupying every nook & corner of the venue, players with glamourous coloured clothing taking part & more of advertisements all around. This might be the very basic identity of Cricket in year 2020, but there’s still a large community of people around the globe who’ll prefer the more sacred, dare I say, the more authentic version of the Sport.
As the 5 day version of the sport itself stands against a stern Test of time, its distinctiveness & unpredictable nature remain the 2 key aspects that need to be highlighted. Rolling back the calendar pages to Aug 2018, in a divine setting at the Home of Cricket, India battling against the hosts, the rain Gods playing a cat & mouse with the ever so inaffective Sun throughout the course of the match. A telling feature of this match that comes to the surface is this extremely unique feature of test cricket where the day to day changes in weather conditions have a huge impact in the overall outcome of the game. Hardly will an athlete playing any other sport will face such a challenge.
The traditional format might be boring and slow for the modern day generation, but if ever there was a game of chess to be represented on a playground, it would always be our beloved 5 day game. The challenges that the players face, be it mental, physical or related to teamwork, are just so unique.
The game also gets played across 5 continents and each different geographic playing area has it's different impression on the way the game gets played. From the hard and quick wickets of Australia, to the low and crumbling pitches in Asia. The cold and windy playing arenas of New Zealand to the sun baked grounds of the Caribbean. The romantic wet conditions of England to these green and seaming wickets of South Africa. Needless to say, these unique conditions give birth to some of the most unique kind of Champions. The ones with swagger, some with ruthless physical abilities, the others weaker in physical aspects but skilful nonetheless.
This lovely game which originated in the farms of Britain is now a global phenomenon and on the spread all the time. A game which was initially meant for the rich and the cream of the society has now moved onto the masses irrespective of the social and financial backgrounds they come from. What was supposed to be a game played only in the urban centres has now reached the far corners. Obviously the development of television media has had a huge role to play, but nothing inspires people more than National heroes. All the test playing nations have had people playing for their country who would go on to become Idols that would make millions to take to this game. In Asian countries, cricket is no more just a sport, it has a become a way of life for people. Cricket brings people together where religion and political boundaries creates divides.
In recent times, the managers of this game have decided to expand boundaries and incorporate newer countries to try their hands at cricket. The results have been terrific and has led to the exuberance of talent from areas nobody had expected from. Countries known for people with grenades & rifles in their hands and faces covered with scarfs are now proudly donning the Gentleman's whites and are ready to conquer the world with this new opportunity to change the reputations and with them the fortunes of their countries.
The advocates of the game know that the task at hand is a challenging one, but the process, though challenging, is a beautiful one. It should be a pleasure to watch this lovely game spread it's wings and reach new heights with every new country it spells it's magic on.
Long live test cricket!
Love, watch, play, analyse, write, eat, sleep, dream Cricket. Railways enthusiast. I scribble poems.