Test match is not just the game between bat and ball, they say. It’s the test of endurance for a cricketer. After all, it’s not easy to propel under challenging conditions even for half a day in today’s T20 age when you are representing your country, let alone to withstand the pressure for 5 consecutive days in a test match. This is the reason Sunil Gavaskar is still considered one of the greats as he was the first Indian player to show the patience to excel in the longest format of the game.
Over the years, test cricket has produced few of the compelling series of all time. Be it Ashes or Border-Gavaskar Trophy, cricket lovers are always looking forward to these matches and are on their toes to support their country. I remember my brother and I used to wake up as early as 3 in the morning when India used to play down under. So much is the passion for this form of cricket that some countries even celebrate by playing an yearly match in the form of “Boxing Day Test” (26 Dec – 30 Dec) and “New Year’s Test” (usually in the first week of January).
In recent past though, with the advent of T20s the focus has shifted towards entertainment than endurance. The real test, now a days, is the test of pressure to entertain the audience. Hitting a quick fire 30 (of 10 balls) will get you more accolades than a test fifty, such has been the drift! Moreover, the pitches these days in test cricket are prepared to produce conducive results. So is the impact of this change that matches tend to wrap up in less than 4 days (full), talk about having conducive results.
Test of Endurance
To understand the “Test of Endurance”, one doesn’t necessarily need to understand or follow cricket. Especially, if you are working in a startup. Anywhere you work, your organization demands a lot of effort, but that increases 10 folds if you are part of a startup. Lot of people must be already aware about the working Saturdays and (optional) Sundays while working in a startup.
Just like test cricket, working in a startup requires a lot of patience. No matter how challenging the conditions are, you will be required to put in your best day-in and day-out (7 days/week). There will be times when your efforts will not lend the desired results but your efforts will reward you with long term accolades as your career grows.
4 Day Test
Even though the arrival of new age cricket in the form of T20 has stirred the whole ecosystem, all the countries still feel proud on their test merit status. Recently, India became the number 1 test team after a pretty long home season (17 tests) and the celebrations were well deserved post the hard work put in by each and every individual. And thus, other countries (who are not playing the longest form of cricket) keep seeking the test status from the ICC (International Cricket Council).
Until recently, it used to be tough for such teams to walk into the test arena and be competitive for 5 consecutive days against a full member squad. The recently concluded test series between South Africa and Bangladesh is the testimony to this where Proteas completely whitewashed the Bengal Tigers with ease. That doesn’t mean Bangladesh is not a good team as they have shown their competitiveness in the shorter format. Couple of things which can be concluded from the series of this nature are:
- The full member playing nations are a little ahead when it comes to longer formats as compared to the nations which have got the test playing status recently.
- The latter is a better team or can definitely be a better competition given the period of the competition is short.
These were probably the two reasons when ICC approved a 4 Day Test as a trial period till World Cup 2019, commencing with the South Africa vs Zimbabwe one-off! ICC was quoted saying:
Four-day Tests will also provide the new Test-playing countries with more opportunities to play the longer version of the game against more experienced opponents, which, in turn, will help them to hone their skills and close the gap with the top nine ranked teams.
Making the “Saturday” Optional
The move by ICC to make the fifth day of a test match optional for the participating teams is, in many ways, similar to the startup organizations. Not many people are ardent supporters of working 6 days a week, to start with. And, just like how a full member team becomes stronger with experience, a startup, too, attains a status where it’s not longer necessary to work an additional day and the job can be completed in under 5 days.
This new (optional) rule will definitely allow the associate nations to be more competitive at the highest level, just like how more people are willing to be more energetic and enthusiastic while working in a regular 5 day culture (than a working Saturday).