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Players should have a say in what type of cricket provides best entertainment: Chappell News

Former Australia cricketer Ian Chappell believes that current players on the circuit need to have a say in which format of cricket is providing the best entertainment. He also slammed the various administrators of the game, saying that they should have called for a debate on how cricket’s future will be.

“Cricket has to provide the public with a variety of styles so fans have a choice. However, the players should also have a say in what type of cricket provides the best entertainment, and then it’s up to the administrators to properly sell each product. Long ago cricket’s administrators should have organised an inclusive debate so the game planned properly for its future.”

“The playing of the game is always dependent on current players and fans, not the older variety. If the modern version of Test cricket involves fewer playing days and a more attacking approach, to provide entertainment, then the older brigade shouldn’t be weeping and wailing,” wrote Chappell in his column for ESPNCricinfo.

Chappell went on to slam the view that the mushrooming of franchise T20 leagues around the world shouldn’t mean that Test cricket should be the main sufferer, citing the words of ICC Chairman Greg Barclay. “In an interview earlier this month Barclay said, ‘There’s not a lot we can do’ when asked about the rapid expansion of T20 leagues around the world. In expounding on his theory, Barclay reckoned bilateral cricket would suffer at the hands of the popularity of T20.”

“This is both an indifferent and financial view more than one of balance: if T20 cricket prospers, then, according to administrators, it’s the longer forms of the game that must automatically suffer. This underlines the major problem with most cricket administrators — they largely pay lip service to the opinion of current and retired players.”

“When Australia’s women’s captain, Meg Lanning, rebutted Barclay’s statement, she said, ‘We want to be ambitious’. Cricket administrations are anything but ambitious; they slavishly follow the money trail and often shun moves that could be made in the best interests of the game.”

Chappell pointed out that despite T20 being popular, Test cricket is where the heart of young players, as well as fans, lies. “Top-level cricket is a professional game but it’s still administered in a very amateur fashion. The basis of cricket administration often rests on platforms that are weary from age. The game has long been a reactive, knee-jerk product heavily dependent on the media, and the fans generally receive the type of game those people prefer.”

“This has resulted in administrators programming more and more T20 cricket, with the longer formats naturally squeezed. All this despite many young cricketers saying publicly that Test cricket is the pinnacle, and many fans being spectacularly entertained by the deeds of the more enterprising players.”

“Test- and 50-over cricket are both very good games, entertaining if they are well played. However, rather than spending time with cricketers to find the best way to present their products, administrators have reacted with financial best interests uppermost in mind.”


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