Despite this week’s signing of a new ten-year title sponsorship deal for England Test cricket with banking group Investec, England captain Andrew Strauss insists the future of Test cricket can’t be taken for granted.
Test cricket continues to be popular in England, but the popularity of the five-day game has declined in some countries such as India, where the limited overs and Twenty20 formats are flourishing and Strauss believes more needs to be done to strengthen the Tests’ worldwide appeal.
“It’s important to market the game as well as possible, that’s a crucial part of it,” he said. “In a lot of ways in the past we’ve relied on Test cricket always being around. Now we must knock our heads together to evaluate what’s the best way of marketing it and how to bring people to the game.
“There’s a strong argument that says one-day and Twenty20 cricket is a good way of feeding people through. The added context of a world Test championship or something similar is a good idea. I’d hate to think anyone’s arrogant enough to assume Test cricket will always be around. I don’t think that’s the case.
“I’m buoyed by what great support there is for the game in this country, but I’m also quite aware that in other parts of the world it’s less so. We’re in a fortunate position here, but it’s up to administrators all over the world to ensure they keep working on the product.”
After last season’s impressive Test performance, England now ranks number one in the world in the Test game, but Strauss knows challenges are ahead, not least from South Africa.
“It’s a different mindset being the hunted rather than the hunters,” he said “There are a lot of teams below us who want to knock us off our perch.
“We all know about the qualities of South Africa, they’ve just finished an outstanding series against Australia. They have a very good bowling attack and their record in England is very good. Next summer they’ll definitely be one of those teams looking to knock us off our perch and they’ll be one of our bigger undertakings in the next 12-18 months.”