The modern day game of cricket needs two structures to do justice to both the international and T20 game. It needs to be structured very much along the lines of Test and Sevens rugby. This will ensure that the two concepts can coexist and that their growth and commercial value will be exploited to the fullest.
After the last Test between England and India at Edgbaston there can be no doubt that Test cricket with its ebb and flow has a place in modern day society. The belief that the present day spectator no longer has the time to watch Test cricket is a myth. Test grounds normally only host one Test per year with the exception of grounds with the profile of Lord’s. It is not like limited over cricket that is in your face the whole season. Edgbaston also showed that if there is a balance between bat and ball, Test cricket makes for riveting viewership. Without Test cricket the game will not survive because it is steeped in history, skills and statistics.
The T20 game has certainly brought a new energy to modern day cricket and has added immense financial value to domestic cricket, especially for the players. With all the T20 tournaments jumping up around the globe, the two concepts need to be separated and administered independently to ensure their sustainability.
Initially there will be certain areas with regard to the players to manage, but with good planning this can be overcome. However, as time goes on more and more players with T20 skills will emerge and the same with international cricket from the various high performances programmes. The challenge the administrators will have is to ensure that the international cricketer is well remunerated and that there is parity in remuneration for both types of cricketer.
If cricket continues to use the same player for both concepts, as is currently happening, it will be detrimental to the game overall. The workload of international cricketers will be too much and will affect their longevity and performances. In return the international boards will not make their players available for T20 tournaments and this will result in watered down, low profile tournaments.
The International Cricket Council needs to have a clear vision for both concepts and be brave enough to implement a strategy to ensure the sustainability of both international and T20 tournaments.