Former Australia captain Ian Chappell has spoken on the future of Test cricket – and believes the arrival of a format such as the ‘The Hundred’ has exposed the problems the longest format of the game is facing. Chappell further said that with the advent of shorter formats of the game – there is a lot of scheduling conflict that a player has to face in their careers, which makes it difficult for them to continue with the Test cricket.
Writing in a column on ESPNCricinfo, Chappell praised India captain Virat Kohli for continuing to promote the red-ball cricket, but added that the players who are still interested in the longest format, need to organise a summit to discuss the future of the format.
“The addition of the Hundred to cricket’s array of formats should concern players because of the adverse effect the unwieldy schedule has on one of the game’s most important aspects – player development.
“For decades the best way for a player to progress from a schoolboy cricketer to an international one was along a straightforward path: play as many matches as possible at a young age, and when success is achieved at one level, it is time for promotion to a higher grade. The player either hit a ceiling that was their limit or they reached the pinnacle with the skills acquired to provide them with a decent chance of achieving success,” Chappell wrote.
“In a revealing and thoughtful interview during the Trent Bridge match, the current poster boy for Test cricket, Virat Kohli, made an interesting observation. When asked about the murky future of the game’s longest form, he replied: “It depends on the quality of cricket; it’s the players who keep Test cricket alive.
“This being the case, the players should want more of a say in the future direction of the game,” he added.
“Instead of devising more formats, which in turn results in an absurdly cluttered schedule, there needs to be rationalisation in order to produce a blueprint for the game’s future. A much needed forum on this subject should include a wide range of participants: players, administrators, media, sponsors, medical people and the public,” Chappell wrote.
“The skills required to excel at Test level need to be acquired at a young age and then honed in tough competition as the player rises through the grades. This can only be achieved if enough countries have a functional development system. If this is the case then Test cricket can remain vibrant, otherwise it will wither on the vine.
“If those skills are properly honed, a player can adapt to any length of game – Kohli being a good example. If players truly believe Test cricket is the pinnacle then they need to agitate for a summit on the game’s future; they could do no better than appoint Kohli their spokesperson,” Chappell signed off.