Michael Vaughan and David Lloyd have expressed their concerns about the future of Test cricket in England after consecutive matches in India failed to come close to reaching a fifth day.
The series between India and England is a landmark one for the latter, signalling the first time since 2005 Test cricket has been broadcast on free-to-air TV in the nation.
But in the space of just two matches, rights holders Channel 4 have only been able to show live cricket on half of the days it budgeted for, after the second Test lasted three days, and the third Test just two.
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India destroy England in under TWO days
Lloyd warned that the series could prove to be a disaster for the England and Wales Cricket Board, and have wider ramifications on how the five-day game is broadcast in England moving forward.
After England lost the third Test inside two days, Lloyd wrote for the Daily Mail: “Yes, techniques have been poor, but if this pitch is acceptable to the ICC and there’s more of this there will be huge ramifications for world Test cricket.
“Boards make the bulk of their revenue from the length of play, certainly in England. Short Tests are a financial disaster.”
On Friday morning cricket fans (English & Indian, diehards, long-standing, fair weather or newcomers) will NOT have any live cricket to watch. Cricket’s chiefs will do nothing. Anybody who defended or deflected from that garbage today might want to have a reality check.#IndvEng
— Lee Wellings (@LeeW_Sport) February 25, 2021
Former England captain Vaughan is also concerned, questioning whether the series will put off potential future broadcasters of Test cricket in England.
“My worry for the future of Test match cricket is Channel 4 would have bid an amount of money to put Test match cricket on the station for us all to see,” Vaughan said on BBC 5. “Will they bid the next time knowing that they only got three days last week and that they only got two days this week? So that’s five days out of ten that they’ve paid for that they’ve got nothing back.
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17-wickets fall within 59 overs!
“Will they be thinking the next time a rights deal is available in the future, ‘is it worth buying Test match cricket because you know what … you might get a two-day Test or a Two-and-a-half-day Test, what are we going to do with the other Two-and-a-half days?’
“That’s a worry for me.”
Vaughan added that the India-England series has been a “real bad message” for Test match cricket given the swiftness in which games have been concluding.
He said one-day games and T20 cricket aren’t under threat, because play is virtually guaranteed for broadcasters unless it rains, but Test matches are under a greater risk.
Vaughan suggested that teams should have no further input in the preparation of pitches, saying: “The more I look at cricket, the more you want people away from the team to sort out the pitches to make sure they are prepared properly for a five-day Test match, which we haven’t seen in the last two.”
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Root takes 5/8 to DECIMATE India!