It's become cricket's favourite cliché - even more abused than every player's favourite, "100 per cent". If you're a journalist who's been subjected to it from administrators ad nauseam, it's enough to make you contemplate taking up a chainsaw, Texas style. We talk, of course, of "the primacy of Test cricket", that glib line delivered with all the sincerity of a parrot squawking: "Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum".
What is this primacy of Test cricket? In the current dispensation, this is what it is. It's a traditional Boxing Day Test being scrapped in South Africa, so that a Twenty20 game can be played instead. It's a series that will decide the world's best Test team being downgraded to three matches so that the heart of the English summer can be given over to seven One-Day Internationals. It's players being allowed to skip a Test tour so that they can recover from their Indian Premier League exertions.
Each of those decisions was based on commercial interests, and there's nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is dishonesty - to place Test cricket on a pedestal and then surreptitiously take a sledgehammer to it. If cricket boards were transparent and admitted that the bottom line was the biggest concern, there wouldn't be so much heartburn over their behavior across the globe.