Friday, 20 June 2014

The Format That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Something that can distance many modern fans from the Test game is the strange truth that most of the cricketing public have never taken part in a match lasting longer than seven or eight hours, never mind an entire working week.

In no other major sport does such a clear distinction in terms of code exist between the élite and the grassroots: playing a Premier League match at Stamford Bridge hardly compares to turning out for a pub team on Hackney Marshes, but the format is almost identical. For Irish supporters the situation is compounded by the reality that even hardened national team stalwarts have only sporadic international experience outside the limited-overs system, rendering Test cricket in the flesh an almost alien spectacle, essentially a different game to the one played in grounds up and down the island.