Test cricket in danger of dying in many countries says Mike Brearley

The popularity of Test cricket has declined in recent yearsGetty

Mike Brearley believes lack of crowds for Test matches in certain countries could result in the format dying.

The popularity of Test cricket has fallen in recent years and the former England captain, who recently stepped down as chairman of the MCC World Cricket Committee, says the format could "die" in nations like Pakistan, New Zealand and South Africa.

"If Test cricket declines further in places like Pakistan, and I don't mean they're declining as a team, they're doing very well, but in countries like Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa, West Indies, where there are no crowds, then it will die in those countries," Brearley said, as quoted on The Telegraph.

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"We made some of those statements at the end of our meeting two or three weeks ago in London and actually I've heard nothing from them (the game's authorities).

"I hope, nevertheless, that these things infiltrate under the surface. There's a lot of good effort and good thinking in the ICC, but I think they've got to grasp, get hold of Test cricket by the scruff of the neck and put all the effort into promoting and marketing it, like they already do with marketing and promoting T20 cricket."

One of the reasons for the fall in popularity of Test cricket has been the introduction of the Twenty20 (T20) format which for some fans, is more fast-paced and entertaining with the likelihood of seeing more fours and sixes.

The rise of T20 cricket has also seen the formation of many leagues dedicated to the format present in all of the leading Test nations.

"There is a looming crisis for Test cricket. It's already there to some extent," Brearley added. "But it's likely to get worse unless something is done about it and the looming crisis has two facets."

"One is that there is a conflict or tension between 20-over and 50-over cricket on the one side and five-day cricket on the other. Secondly, there's a tension between domestic leagues, like the Indian Premier League and also now the South African League and the Big Bash in Australia, the T20 competition that's going to start in England, and so on.

"There's a tremendous conflict of time and money to attract players away from Test cricket, especially if they're near the end of their careers and have had a very long run in Test cricket, like Brendon McCullum or AB de Villiers."

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One solution for Test cricket to adapt to the rise of T20 cricket has been changing it from a five-day format to a four-day format.

The idea was first mooted in 2003, even before T20 cricket, by Andrew Wildblood, former senior international vice-president for International Management Group as he believed it would lead to more exciting cricket.

Chief executive of the England & Wales Cricket Board, Tom Harrison claimed earlier this year that he supports the proposal, though there has been no update since.

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