Only 7 per cent Indians prefer Test cricket: survey

A study conducted by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodian of the game, has raised fresh doubts on the future of Test cricket.

updated: November 17, 2009 16:43 IST
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Cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar may feel that Test cricket has become more entertaining but an MCC survey has revealed only seven per cent of Indian fans chose the longest format as their preferred form of the game.

The poll, commissioned by the Marylebone Cricket Club, covered 500 fans each from three countries -- India, South Africa and New Zealand.

Interestingly, 58 per cent of Indian respondents from India chose Twenty20 Internationals as their favourite format while for 31 per cent ODI was a preferred form.

Suprisingly, highly succesful Indian Premier League got just four per cent Indian voters' support, 'The Age' reported.

In the three countries overall, 13 per cent said they preferred Tests to the limited-overs contests.

The survey also shows that despite reports of public fatigue, ODI remains the most popular format with 36 per cent of the fans across the three countries choosing it.

The key findings of the poll were presented to the International Cricket Council's Cricket Committee earlier this month in Dubai, where both groups reaffirmed their commitment to preserving all three forms.

In India, 58 per cent of respondents said the emergence of Twenty20 had reduced their interest in Test cricket, while 23 per cent of South Africans and 13 per cent of New Zealanders felt the same.

But almost two-thirds of Indians and three-quarters of South Africans said Twenty20 might spark their interest in the longer formats.

Armed with the findings, the MCC's World Cricket Committee implored administrators to give the longest form of the game the "loving care and attention" it deserves.

"It's not as if the game is falling apart, but it has been scooped by Twenty20 and I think we would be foolish if we didn't think it was universal," MCC's World Cricket Committee Chairman Tony Lewis was quoted as saying by the report.

"We just can't sit back and let that happen. Test matches need loving care and attention, and they need to be played when people can watch. Can people afford to support all the brands of cricket? That's a really big question, I think. Australia and England don't feel the pinch so much in Test-match cricket but other countries do."

The survey is expected to be presented to chief executives of the Test-playing nations at their next meeting.