” T20 is for Kids Real men will watch Test Cricket “

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Though it began in August 2005 between Australia and New Zealand but in all our consciousness it actually started in the lightning eve of 19th September 2007 at Durban, South Africa when punjabi southpaw Yuvraj Singh hammered Stuart Broad for 6 Sixes in memorable Twenty Twenty match of India’s victorious campaign.

8711 miles from Durban approximately 50 days back something incredible happened during the infamous jelly bean test at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. India won an aggressive test under Rahul Dravid which eventually sealed Pataudi series for the visitors.

Two victories against same nation in two entirely different formats, different conditions, different leadership but still both of them hold same stature in our cricketing minds.

Having said that, there are certain things which keep test cricket notch above t20 format:

1. ROYALTY

2. SKILL APPLICATIONS

3. PATIENCE, GUILE & TECHNIQUE

4. CHARACTER

5. STRATEGY

Considering the above reasons true test of talent and grit in the game of cricket is actually enjoyed and analyzed by passionate fans that are ready to devote 15 sessions, 5 days, 450 overs long, tiring, sometime boring battle to watch 22 men in white.

Below is a brief memorabilia of 10 years since that jelly bean test:

”Comeback man” Ganguly’s highest innings and match score and Younis Khan making India favorite hunting ground

Sydney Gate, Sehwag match saving not-so-sehwag century in last test

Sehwag’s again 201 in Galle when Murali-Mendis spin combo was rattling India

Sehwag re-writing his name in record books with second triple century, Hashim Amla announcing himself in Indian turfs

Dhoni taking Kumble on shoulder (Fairwell lap), Dhoni asking Ganguly to captain in fairwell test, Gambhir-watson feud

Chasing 387 post 26/11

First series win in New Zealand, Gautam Gambhir’s 643 minutes innings

First series win in West Indies

Dravid’s heroics and Kohli failure in 2011 England tour

Harbajhan’s match saving back to back centuries against New Zealand

KP, Swan, Panesar taking Indian to swansong in Indian pitches

Kohli announcement in Australia and Dhoni’s selfless decision to quit test cricket midway

Coming back in a series against Lanka and beating them after decades in home

Amla AB blockathon

& the winning streak until Pune Test.

This is just a rough account of memories in last 10 years for India. Just imagine all test cricket playing nations. All such instances and highlights associated with them. Immense food for thought, already.

Real fans love analysis. T20 cricket unfortunately doesn’t provide this liberty but Test cricket does. Punter was Harbajhan’s nemesis or Zaheer toyed with Greame Smith or Ray Price and Monty Panesar’s prized Sachin wickets. All such fact finding is confined to Test cricket. Why?

In modern cricket players interested in scoring quickly and they concerned about strike rate. If we observe recent test crickets most of the teams have no patience to bat throughout 5 days (You may blame pitches). Without a doubt, T-20 Cricket changed test cricket a lot but matches like the just concluded Bangalore test between arch rivals Australia takes away the sheen where no player scored a century, four 5-fers (couple each for both teams), highest run rate was 3.14 ( that too 4th innings panic attack) produced Gold….pure gold. The kind of intensity and passion that is seen on the faces of the players is something worth noticing.

Run rate of 3.14 is barely 63 runs in t20 cricket. But an even competition between bat and ball is not often witnessed in shorter format. Test cricket balances this Bat vs Ball equation.

It is not just fans like us but great players who consider test cricket “real men’s game”. Ask wristy Azharuddin who was one short of playing his 100th test match, Ask Kevin Pietersen who is ousted after being highest run getter for England (after cook), Ask Legendary Chandrapaul or Sehwag who could not receive a deserving farewell match even after scoring mammoths of runs for Windies and India respectively, Ask Shane Warne who rues for not scoring century or Ajit Agarkar for scoring one at Lord’s, Ask Broad or Anderson on why are they constantly  opting out of ODIs/T20s.

Somebody asked Sachin his favorite hundred among his 100 hundreds and in no time he said the Perth century despite reminding him Sharjah, First 200, his IPL century, 186..none. Why? All because of his interest, character and application he displayed and glory he fetched stands tall in front of other glittering knocks in his 20+ year’s journey.

This is the essence of test cricket.

You may agree to disagree but T20 is sort of poker. Full of flamboyance, glamour, paparazzi, lights and of course big bucks. Highest T20 wicket taker (2016) Jasprit Bumrah said he is ‘mentally’ ready for Test cricket speaks volumes on why Test cricket is sought after. Whether the two forms can co-exist remains to be seen. On one hand, several players have demonstrated that it is possible to perform well in both forms, introducing T20 versatility into their Test game. On the other hand, some are concerned that young players’ focus on T20 hurts their development of the qualities, such as watchfulness, needed for Test cricket.

Watchfulness is a warranted quality of real men, incautiousness on the other hand is visible attribute of kids. Needless to say…… 🙂

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