Test Cricket: The ultimate custodian of this beautiful game

The Test match between Australia and New Zealand being played. © Getty Images

Twenty20 leagues are playing a major role to globalize the cricket around the world but cricketing pundits are questioning the lack of quality cricket due to no balance between the bat and the ball. There was a time when on a shiny morning at Peshawar, Imran would bowl a 145 km/h delivery and Richards would duck on his bouncer with no helmet on. The crowd would cheer their captain to dismiss the ultimate king of cricket but at the same time, they would want Viv to bat more because watching him bat was one of the most beautiful sights in the world of sports.

A rare picture of the legendary all-rounder Imran Khan coming out to deliver the ball. © PA Photos

The people who have watched the era of 80’s and 90’s could not even bear of the fact of an ordinary batsman smashing the number 1 bowler of the modern era all around the park with absolutely no technique on; a bowler has no value of his abilities on a flat deck and his career is over before it was started. One of the main reasons for the promotion of Twenty20 cricket is the term “entertainment” which young generation wants to be a part of the game. They want cricket to be a fast-paced game just like football. They are just ignoring the fact that every sport has its own charm and beauty. Cricket is beautiful in its own way and football has its own delight hence they cannot be compared with each other.

ICC should promote Test cricket more because it is the real recognition of this game. Modern era of the cricket does not mean it cannot be played in its real shape and sphere. When it is played in its real form, the joy and aura it provides are unrivaled. What would be a perfect cricket match? Imagine Virat batting against the sizzling attack of Australia on the occasion of Boxing Day in front of 90,000 people at the G and rescuing his team by scoring gorgeous looking hundred with his classy trademark shots after a horrible bowling outing a day before. It is certainly not a self made story but he actually did it in his last Test-series in Australia.

In the modern day of cricket, one of most famous incidents in Test cricket was the face-off between Andrew Flintoff and Jacques Kallis. One was regarded as the modern day Botham, other was arguably the greatest all-rounder in the 21st century. The fascinating aura, the ambience that truly represents the context of the purest form of the game, the display of gentleness by the Barmy Army, it was just a typical evening of the Edgbaston.

The captain decided to give the ball to their front-line pacer Flintoff in need of breaking the partnership between Kallis and Prince. There came Flintoff with his typical fiery round-arm action and delivered the thunderbolt at the off-stump line which missed the stump by few inches. Kallis was clueless and Flintoff had both of his hands on his head. Flintoff came again, just like a tiger that is ready to pursue another target with same anger after missing its first target by an edge. This time a short length delivery was bowled with the ball beating the bat of the Kallis quickly. Kallis had his head down like he had no idea whatsoever.

Flintoff continued to deliver his fireballs, delivered a good-length out swinger on which Kallis failed to play a cover drive and bowled a short-length bouncer on which Kallis decided to duck keeping in mind the circumstances. In the meantime, Flintoff came with a different plan, delivered a pin-point yorker which was struck straight on to the pads, not only bowler, the whole crowd was appealing on that one but the umpire refused thinking that the ball touched the bat first before touching pad.

Some moments before, South Africa was cruising towards the first-innings total easily, few moments later the main objective was to get through this extravagant spell.  The battle seemed to be like the battle of swords where a soldier was trying to shield the fierce attack of swords. Flintoff was having the time of his life against one of the greatest batsmen to grace the field.

Andrew Flintoff has represented England in 79 Test matches. © Getty Images

In the battle of nerves, Flintoff stood out when he bowled an out-swinging yorker which left the off-stump flying. Kallis was gone and the crowd was pumped up crazily for obvious reasons. Bumble described this very moment in his own intriguing words, “Magnificent drama, Flintoff at his very best against one of the very best, Jacques Kallis.”

It was one of greatest spells bowled in the 21st century. This kind of display of cricket was proof of the fact that Test cricket is still the boss this game. It can be boring at times if not played in a proper manner but real test of temperament and class is conducted in this format of the game only.

It is Test cricket which graced Rahul with the title of ‘The Wall’ due to his patience on the field. It is Test cricket which gave Wasim the title of ‘Sultan of Swing’ due his spectacular art of swing bowling. It is Test cricket which helped Shane Warne to be regarded as the ‘King of Spin’ due to his mysterious ability of spinning the ball. It is Test cricket which awarded the legendary Australian team (1999-2007) with the title of “The Invincibles” due to their sheer consistency in this form of the game.







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