Test cricket 'is pinnacle', say cricketers

Fears of dwindling crowd attraction of Test cricket with the advent of Twenty20 notwithstanding, the shortest format could never be a true alternative.

updated: October 04, 2009 06:36 IST
  • Total Shares

New Delhi:

Fears of dwindling crowd attraction of Test cricket with the advent of Twenty20 notwithstanding, the shortest format could never be a true alternative to the five-day version of the game, feel international players.

Australian pacer Stuart Clark, who is currently in India to represent New South Wales Blues in the inaugural Champions League Twenty20, is all gung-ho about playing the 20-over games but still wants to put Test matches ahead of everything.

"Twenty20 is undoubtedly a very exciting format and I really enjoy playing in such tournaments. But my priority would be nothing but playing Test matches for my country," said Clark, who has played 24 Tests so far.

The crowd craze of Twenty20 cricket mainly due to the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) has led experts to fear that 20-over format may soon emerge as nemesis of traditional five-dayers, which are being staged before empty stands on many occasions.

But, young Australian opener Philip Hughes has the same sentiment about Test cricket as his senior country-mate Clark.

"Test cricket is the pinnacle. Twenty20 has created a huge buzz today, but to single out any format is wrong and the five-day contests would also remain there by the side of new ones," Hughes said.

South African Boeta Dippenaar, who has played 38 Tests, also insisted that the five-day format is the real test for a player in competitive cricket.

"Twenty20 is flourishing, but Test is still very popular and I think this is the ultimate test for a cricketer who is playing in international circuit. It is the real test of one's stamina and skill," Dippenaar said.

The South African, who will be playing for Diamond Eagles in the Champions League Twenty20, is also quite impressed with the idea of dividing the Test playing nations into two categories.

"It is very important only the best cricket teams play Test matches with each other, which will surely attract more spectators to the grounds," Dippenaar said.

"People want to see keen contest, which must be there in the five-day matches. It is evident that they like to see India taking on Australia or South Africa, rather than go to stadium to watch the Aussies thrashing Bangladesh in three days," he added.

Australian Brad Hodge was also not quite worried about the future of Test cricket.

"It is a fact that Twenty20 is a new concept and is here to stay. But I feel, after the initial euphoria is over the crowd would again return to the longer versions which have been there for years," Hodge said.

"I don't know whether the five-dayers are the real test for a player, but am sure that Test match is the oldest one and has its own place in cricket lovers' mind," he added.