After winning a record seventh consecutive Test match, Indian captain Virat Kohli suggested on Sunday that a home and away format for the ICC World Test Championship would be more reflective of any team’s performance.
India came out victorious against Bangladesh in their second Test match in a little more than two days after winning the match emphatically by an innings and 46 runs, and consolidated their position at the top of the table with 360 points. Australia are behind them on 116 points.
“I think the more balanced format would be one series home and one away. We are playing very good cricket but we played only two Tests away in the Test Championship,” said Kohli after India completed their third clean sweep, winning a record seventh consecutive time.
“You can praise our team on our performance. But to say that we are dominating like no other team is a very subjective thing to think of. If we played two series away and two at home and we had 300 points, then you can say we played really well.”
As per the existing format, a team is supposed to play six series in the World Test Championship, three home and three away but they are not scheduled alternatively.
“I don’t think there should be any kind of tags attached to any team. In the Test Championship, even if we make the finals, there’s only one game so whoever plays will win the championship.”
“So it doesn’t matter how many points you have at the end of the day. But a good format would be one home one away and then you keep that balance and keep moving forward,” said Kohli, who had earlier proposed doubling points for away wins.
India also became the first team to complete four successive innings wins with their pink-ball Test win over Bangladesh, and would next deal with the red cherry in two Tests against New Zealand next year.
“I can only say we are at the top of our game. You can’t judge your team’s dominance with just seven games. We’re quite excited about how we are playing and what the challenges are. Now the frame of mind is to get to the next series in Test cricket.”
On the widening gulf between the teams, Kohli opined that it’s for their respective boards to give Test cricket the priority at a time when T20 franchise leagues are luring cricketers.
“Eventually the strength of the Test cricket should come from how strong you’re financially. Unless if you keep them financially well, after a time their motivation will go down, because a T20 player bowling just four overs is earning ten times more money than you. Eventually it’s your livelihood and you won’t see any logic and will think of changing your profession after five-six years and feel like becoming a T20 player. It can be improved with Central Contracts.”
Kohli further hailed pink-ball Test as the new beginning and indicated that Test cricket needs marketing similar to ODIs and T20Is to form an established psyche among fans for the longest format of the game.
“The pink ball Test is a beginning, I’m sure these will be planned more often. And then you know that buzz will be created again in different parts of the country as well,” said Kohli.
“I think it’s very, very crucial to market Test cricket like we do for ODIs and T20Is. It’s not only the job of the players but it spreads out to the management, the cricket board and the home broadcasters about how you portray a particular product to the people.”
“If you create an excitement only around the T20 cricket and not much around Test cricket then in the psyche of the fans there’s already a certain template that’s established. I think if if there’s enough buzz created around Test cricket then there will be a lot more keenness to come to the stadium,” he added.
(with PTI inputs)