KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – Legendary former West Indies wicketkeeper, Jeff Dujon, has dismissed speculation over the death of Test cricket, contending the longest format of the game possessed too much history to ever disappear.
While he conceded that Twenty20 cricket was more popular and served as a great revenue earner, he insisted the format would never hold the prestige Test cricket did.
“Test cricket is never going to die. Other forms of the game have got more and more popular but no books are going to be written about the individuals who played T20 cricket,” Dujon told the Gleaner newspaper here.
“There is really very little history. So I think Test cricket will go on, and I don’t think there is any danger of it dying out. There is too much tradition.”
He added: “The other forms of the game, basically, exist because of the money they generate. So Test cricket is going to be around because no books are really going to be written on T20 or 50 overs for that matter.”
Test cricket’s appeal has declined in recent years, with broadcasters and audiences preferring the excitement of the made-for-television shortest format.
As a result, various domestic leagues have popped up across the globe, with the Indian Premier League, Australia’s Big Bash and the Caribbean Premier League among the most popular tournaments.
Recently, New Zealand batting star Brendon McCullum predicted the death of Test cricket, arguing cricket’s evolution would soon see players being owned by franchises, which would be reluctant to release them to play Tests.
Dujon said, however, respective national governing bodies for the sport needed to ensure this development did not occur.
“Franchises controlling players is really going to be up to the governing body of those countries,” the Jamaican pointed out.
“If they allow it, that is going to be a mistake. Just think – no more Ashes, something that is a great tradition. Other series have also become great traditions, especially when many of the top teams go to England and Australia.
“Test cricket will always have its historical value, and even though it has faded, it is not going to die.”
Once kings of the longest format, West Indies have taken a plunge over the last two decades and now lie at a historic low of ninth in the ICC rankings.
Also gone are the large crowds which once supported the regional side and Dujon said until there was an upturn in the Windies results, the crowds would stay away.
“Most of the Caribbean support is based on spectator-ship. It’s a function of winning,” he explained.
“So until West Indies start winning again, I don’t think any marketing ploy can change that [decline in support]. It’s about winning, and for the people, it’s about the power of expectation.
“So if people have expectations of winning, they will go. If not, they will not go.”
Dujon played 81 Tests between 1981 and 1991, scoring 3322 runs and recording 267 catches and five stumpings. – CMC