Ravi Shastri calls for drastic changes in Test cricket

The Indian great believes that when there are fewer people in the crowd, it is meaningless cricket

By Web Desk
July 08, 2024
Former India captain Ravi Shastri. — AFP

Former India captain Ravi Shastri asked for major changes in Test cricket and said that the number of teams playing red-ball cricket should be reduced to six or seven.

During a symposium organised by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) on Sunday, Shastri, who previously worked as India’s head coach, put forward his suggestion for the betterment of the future of cricket.

Shastri stressed that to keep Test cricket competitive, there should be a reduction in teams participating.

“When you don’t have quality, that is when the ratings drop, there are fewer people in the crowd, it’s meaningless cricket, which is the last thing sport wants,” Shastri said at World Cricket Connects, an event at Lord’s hosted by the MCC.

“You have 12 Test match teams. Bring it down to six or seven and have a promotion and relegation system.

“You can have two tiers but let the top six keep playing to sustain the interest in Test cricket. You can spread the game in other formats, like T20,” he added.

On the other hand, former Australian batter and coach, Justin Langer, admitted that T20 leagues are appealing but he also stated that the impact of international cricket on youth is necessary.

He also cited the examples of West Indies’ Test tour to Australia where they won a Test match at the Gabba to equal the series and India pulling out a massive crowd in Mumbai during their T20 World Cup celebrations.

“It had Australia enthralled and it brought the Caribbean to life,” Langer said. “Last week we saw a million people turn up to see India celebrated for winning the World Cup. That is bilateral cricket and international cricket.”

Earlier, Australia’s ODI and Test captain Pat Cummins asked for a specific window for Test cricket to avoid a clash with the Indian Premier League (IPL) which usually runs from April to May.

“Franchise cricket for some countries is more lucrative, more appealing than international cricket. If I went and played franchise cricket, I could probably be away for a half or a third of the amount we are for Australia,” Cummins said at the MCC World Cricket Connects 2024 at Lord’s.

“In Australia, Test cricket is from November to January, and basically, no other cricket is going to get in the way of us playing Test cricket then. If we can have specific windows for IPL, but then also Test windows, that makes the decision-making for the players a lot easier,” he added.