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The essence of test cricket is missing

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If we want results in three days by preparing wickets that turn from the word play of the test match, then we are contributing to the death of test cricket. If we prepare wickets where spinners have to open bowling with new balls, then we are spoiling the very essence of test cricket. We are deprived of seeing beautiful run-ups by fast bowlers, the battle with short pitched balls, the art of deceiving batters with masterly swing bowling, and many more.

All of this is taken away from us, depriving us of a beautiful part of the game to fully enjoy it. Thus, the current test series between Australia and India lacks the flavour of test cricket. Hence, people won’t be interested in watching test matches on TV as intently or come to the stadium to watch them.

By the same token, what will happen to the telecast rights? If the investors are deprived of advertisement opportunities for more than two days of a test match and that too for three consecutive matches, how will they get a good price for selling slots and why will they invest at a high rate? So this way, test cricket will not be able to contribute much to the coffers. We will be solely dependent on IPL, which is not a healthy sign.

What Ian Chappell said was correct. India have forgotten that they have won many test matches in Australia in recent times. India won the last two test series in Australia, in 2018–19 and again in 2020–21. India failed to assess its own strengths. Indian batters are no longer afraid of facing fast bowlers on bouncy wickets; rather, they have mastered it. On the other hand, India have produced world-class fast bowlers who can intimidate any batter on bouncy wickets.

In the series 2020–21, Siraj, a bowler from the bench, showed what he can do on bouncy wickets. Currently on these turning tracks, Shami and Umesh showed how good they are, even though they got only a few overs to bowl. So, why does India need to be defensive? India need to come out of these mental shackles.

Furthermore, overseas players are no longer shy about playing good spin bowling. They are now equipped with the right techniques to play high class spin bowling. Batters such as Steve Smith, Khawaja, Labuschagne, Williamson, Root and Stokes play spinners better than many Indian batters.

Indian front line batters seldom play domestic cricket, so they do not get sufficient match practice against spin bowlers, which makes them uncomfortable while facing quality spinners in test matches. That is getting exposed and has become an area of concern for the team management. So we cannot claim that we play well on spinning wickets and success is guaranteed. If that is the scenario, why should we make turning wickets?

We have to also see that other nations that play test matches have produced quality spinners who can trouble any batter on any wicket. We have seen bowlers like Muralitharan, Shane Warne, and Vettori in the recent past, and bowlers like Lyon, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid going great guns with upcoming bowlers like Murphy and Kuhnemann making the spin arena quite formidable, which cannot be underestimated. We are asking for trouble if we give them a tailor made track.

Spin bowling is a unique art, and it has to be part and parcel of test cricket. It brings in variety. Stealth formation from the spinners, luring the batsmen into mistakes is another art form in Test cricket that no cricket lover would want to miss. But as a team, we should not be overly dependent on it. There has to be a balance, otherwise, results like Indore is inevitable.

Winning test matches on manipulated pitches gives no satisfaction. We want to see India making fast wickets and winning test matches against teams like Australia, England, and South Africa, who have powerful fast bowling attacks. Then only we can claim we are world beaters.

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