To be honest, Test cricket is dying: ICC chairman Shashank Manohar

Conceding that people don’t have five day’s time to come to the stadiums and watch Test cricket anymore, ICC chairman Shashank Manohar said T20Is are generating more revenue than the longest format of the sport.

International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman Shashank Manohar on Thursday said, people, these days don’t have five day’s time to watch Test cricket and conceded that the longest format of the game is dying.

Shashank Manohar, on the second day of his invitational visit to Bangladesh, said the ICC Test Championship, starting after the 2019 Cricket World Cup, is one of the last-ditch efforts to revive Test cricket.

Manohar’s comments come even as the ongoing season has produced some fine Test cricket. While Asian giants India registered their first-ever Test series win in Australia, the West Indies are showing signs of revival after thrashing England in the first two Tests of an ongoing three-match series at home.

Despite the quality of Test cricket seeing an upward trend, footfall (or the lack of it) at even some of the most popular venues across the globe has been a huge cause for concern. It is safe to say global cricketing powerhouse, India is struggling to bring audiences to the stadiums for Test cricket.

At the same time, a large sum of the world’s richest cricket body, Board of Control for Cricket in India’s revenue is generated from Indian Premier League, the glitzy and glamours franchise-based Twenty20 tournament.

T20 has the maximum TRP: ICC chairman

“We are trying to see whether Test championship can generate interest. Because Test cricket is actually dying to be honest. So to improve the situation, we are trying ways and means. The [ICC] board directors came to a conclusion that if we start a Test championship, it would keep Test cricket alive and generate more interest in the game,” Manohar said.

Talking up the T20 format, the ICC chairman added: “If you look at the TRPs of the broadcasters, T20 has the maximum TRP. It is because of being the shorter version of the game. Nowadays, people don’t have five days time to watch a Test match.

“From 10 to 5 everybody has their own job to do so it is very difficult for them to watch this game. T20s get over in three-and-a-half hours, like watching a movie. Therefore, it is picking up very fast.”

The ICC approved its first-ever Test championship for a two-year period between 2019 and 2021. Top nine teams will play six series each during the said duration in a home and away format. The two teams finishing at the top two spots of the Test championship table will then play the final.

The Test championship is one of ICC’s latest moves to bring context to Test cricket. While the introduction of day-night cricket saw an increase in attendance, India’s reluctance to adopt the pink-ball cricket is not helping the sport.