Turn Test cricket into once-a-year events like Wimbledon: IPL team owner

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Test cricket might soon be played in short once-a-year events like the Wimbledon tennis tournament, the owner of an Indian Premier League franchise has said.

Manoj Badale, the lead owner of Rajasthan Royals — where England limited-overs captain Jos Buttler and Test skipper Joe Root are currently playing in this season’s IPL — has warned that the amount of Test cricket scheduled will be reduced in the years ahead, with fans worldwide increasingly gravitating to Twenty20. Badale said that the future of Test cricket could be a short annual tournament.

Manoj Badale has proposed that Test cricket should be an annual tournament between the game’s richest nations at Lord’s.Credit: Getty

“We can make Test cricket work if we make it more of an event,” Badale told the BBC’s Tailenders Podcast.

“We should have it at the same time every year, played between a small set of nations that can actually afford it and Lord’s becomes like a Wimbledon, an event that is the diary.”

Badale warned that the commitment of leading players to the Test game mattered less than market preferences around the world. So far this year, lucrative new T20 leagues have already launched in the United Arab Emirates and South Africa. Major League Cricket launches in the USA in July this year, while there are rumours of a new competition being created in Saudi Arabia.

“The amount of times I hear arguments like ‘Ben Stokes wants to play Test cricket’ — that is important but what is really important is what the fans of the future want to watch and where are they going to spend their hard-earned money,” Badale said. “We are going to have to think creatively about Test cricket if we want it to work.”

Ben Stokes hits out for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.Credit: AP

Badale said that the Test game needed to adapt to remain relevant for a new generation of fans.

“It is difficult one for me because Test cricket is what you grow up on as a fan and I haven’t missed the first day at Lord’s for however many years, it is still my preferred format,” he said. “But it is not about me, it is about what the 10 to 15-year-olds in India and across the world are thinking.”

Badale said that he believes that the global calendar will become more coherent in the years ahead.

“I do genuinely believe in the next three to five years there are a number of choices that the administrators are going to make that are going to be really game-defining,” he said.

“We’ve got too many franchise leagues now so you can have a hierarchy of the IPL, some major leagues and then some minor leagues.”

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