The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) sudden desire to organize Test matches this year – Australia is being persuaded to play a couple of fixtures after the two-match series with South Africa – is not just to do with a belated concern for India’s number one ranking.
The Board is undoubtedly keen the Indian team plays enough cricket to defend its numero uno slot, but Test matches are being given a big helping hand behind the scenes by master batter Sachin Tendulkar. The cricket icon has been concerned that Tests might be losing priority in the wake of the growing appeal and revenues clocked by the T20 game.
The 20/20 format has lured administrators of every major cricketing nation. The IPL clearly dominates but the tug of war over the relatively low-value champions league between South Africa and India indicates the premium on these fixtures. At the start of the year, India was not due to play Test matches for 10 months.
Tendulkar has taken up the need to nurture Test cricket in the way Australia and South Africa are doing with cricket administrators working hard to maintain their team’s standards in the five-day version of the game. But India has focussed on ODIs and 20/20. It is thought that Tendulkar may even withdraw from ODIs after the next World Cup, which will be held in the sub-continent.