Mark Boucher concerned for Test cricket amid rise of T20 leagues
Outgoing South Africa coach Mark Boucher admits he is concerned about the diminishing amount of Test cricket being played and believes recent results show the format has adapted to the modern game which prizes entertainment over grit.
Boucher said on Monday that he would leave his position as coach after the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia, which begins next month, only hours after his team had been defeated 1-2 by England in their Test series.
South Africa will play fewer Test matches in the upcoming four-year cycle—28—to make room on the schedule for their new domestic T20 league, Cricket South Africa CEO Pholetsi Moseki told ESPNcricinfo.
There small amount of matches compared to England’s 43 Tests during that time, Australia’s 40, and India’s 38, and it won’t help develop players for the five-day format.
“To lose sight of Test cricket and lose games is not great,” Boucher told reporters. “I’m a purist. I love Test cricket to bits. Also it’s the purest form of the game and one that we really need to look after.
“The heads in the game need to get together and find a way to play more Test cricket. It’s exciting, especially with the way the games played now. It’s very seldom that you have draws.
“The game’s moved forward, maybe because of T20 cricket. Guys are playing shots they would never usually play. It’s attacking and it’s a nice game to watch. So the more we see it, the better it will be for everyone.”
Although Boucher believes that England’s aggressive “Bazball” approach may be the future of Test cricket. It won’t be effective against all opposition and under all circumstances.
“It’s one thing to say to guys to go out there and play with freedom but there are consequences when they are fighting for their Test spots and fighting for their careers,” Boucher said.
“It’s a fine line as a coach because a guy comes in and you don’t want to change him. This is not an academy of learning. This is Test cricket.
“We give the players freedom to play, to express themselves. Each and every guy. Also the way that England would like to go out and play, you need to have the characters to do that.
“A lot of their guys are good white-ball cricketers as well.”