Saving The Test by Mike Jakeman

By Mike Jakeman

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Rather, the board chose to let the players, or their bodies, make the decision. But, by not forcing the players to skip the IPL, the BCCI gave its implicit approval. This meant that “The lure of money and the backing of the Indian Board... proved a greater incentive than commitment to their [the Indian players’] craft and the country,” according to a post-mortem of the series by an Indian journalist, Pradeep Magazine. Their places in the Test team were not under threat owing to the fact that they would rather play in the IPL than report ready and fit for duty for an overseas tour.

The rest of the match stretched out in front of him, all the way to the horizon. That he remained steadfast at the crease for almost 11 hours and faced nearly 500 balls is now part of cricketing legend. In his autobiography he describes how “For the only time in my career I was in the zone... It was a state of both inertia and intense concentration and I knew that I was in total control and they couldn’t get me out”. Doubtless, Ponting was in a similar sort of zone, but the limited-overs format meant that he remained in it only for a little over two hours.

Cricket has been played in more forms that you or I could fathom. It has been played as an individual, single-wicket game, and internationals have been played between teams of two, eight, eleven and most numbers in the teens. It has been played indoors and out; innings have been as short as five overs and as long as the length of time that the boat can be docked in the port. When all of these variations are considered, it is striking that we have been left with Test cricket, and the two forms that look most like it.

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