How to Save Test Cricket?

Press Releasein Cricket

Test cricket in crisis! Again! That's the headline you could draw from an MCC survey that finds just 7% of Indian cricket fans prefer Test cricket to other, lesser, forms of the game.

On the face of it this is indeed a troubling , dispiriting, finding. The survey, which was conducted by TNS Sport, sought, via the internet, the opinions of 1500 fans in India, New Zealand and South Africa to try and discover why Test match attendances have been falling and what might be done to reverse that trend. Peter Roebuck, always a gloomy bugger, summarised the findings thus: "It's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there" and worried that the greatest form of the noblest game is now on the brink of extinction outside England and Australia.

Perhaps. But I think that's too simplistic a view. I doubt MCC would claim the survey to be anything other than a snapshot but that doesn't make it worthless or, actually, as depressing as the headline figures might suggest. Take that 7% figure in India for instance: on the face of it this is alarming and so too is the fact that 58% of Indian cricket fans say that Twenty20 has decreased their interest in Test cricket. But more than 80% of Indian cricket-watchers say they follow Test cricket "regularly". That seems a healthy figure.

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