The mind & heart doesn’t seem to be on the same page for all Indian cricketers when it comes to Test Cricket.
Ask any ardent cricket lover or anyone who has seriously played the game at any level, the unanimous response would be Test Cricket is the ultimate level of the game. No matter how long it may be a conquest, Test cricket is what every aspiring and established Cricket would want to excel.
There was a time in Indian Cricket when unless you represented the game at the highest level for your nation you would not be able to make a decent living out of it. Only a handful of them playing for India would actually earn handsomely and secure their life. Even before that even players playing for India earned only allowances and not a living.
Everything started changing and changed completely with IPL. All of a sudden players who were struggling to make it to even the probable’s of the Indian Team were earning even more than some of them playing for India. The limelight, dazzle, glamour, and glitter came in as an additional perk. On one hand, while it has ensured that more Cricketers in India made a very good living for themselves perhaps on the other hand it has also become a distraction.
To be a successful Test Cricketer be it as a Bowler or Batsman or even Wicket Keeper it definitely takes a huge toll on you as compared to shorter versions especially T20. Maybe it’s time for BCCI to have a dipstick done deep down to evaluate the mindset of players coming through the different stages.
It is not only yesterday’s 36/9 but if we see the performance of India in the last few years or so, the results perhaps give us a very strong hint. Although each and every Cricketer would tell you they want to play Test Cricket but there seems to be a disconnect between the mind and heart for most of them. The intensity, purpose, and passion doesn’t always reflect in Test Cricket as much as it does in the shorter versions.
Even at the grassroot the priority as on date is to play for IPL and earn the fame and money rather than focusing on becoming an accomplished Test Cricketer.
BCCI definitely needs to revisit its strategy to address the issue deep down. Unless the issue is dealt with at its roots we are only heading towards a pandemic situation wherein Test Cricket will almost die in India. No matter how many Pink Ball Test Matches we plan in each series or play in the most important venues, till the time the players get back their passion and intent for Test Cricket, nothing will change for the good.
If we just check the records for the number of maiden overs given by our batsmen in test cricket, how many wickets did we lose in attacking shots or for that matter average stay of Indian batsmen in each innings, the matter should be more evident?
Sourav Ganguly has been one of the most successful Captains in India making us believe and going to prove also that Indians were truly capable of playing the game at the highest level and also winning matches in the opponent’s backyard. Now that he is President of the BCCI there can be no better person to get the mind and heart back in the place they ought to be.
Unless it’s done, I feel we are heading for a disaster so far as Test Cricket in India is concerned.