Australian great Ian Chappell is certain Test cricket “won’t die” in his lifetime but wondered whether the best players would play it in the future amid the proliferation of T20 leagues.
The former Australia captain believed that international cricket faces a real challenge of retaining players in the face of rapid expansion of T20 leagues around the world.
“(Test cricket) won’t die in my lifetime. But who’ll be playing it? That’s the big question,” Chappell was quoted as saying by ‘Wide World of Sports’.
“If you haven’t got your best players, is Test cricket worth watching? The answer is probably no. Test cricket is a good game, but it’s got to be well played,” he added.
Chappell also spoke about the issue of Chris Lynn seeking a No-objection Certificate (NOC) from Cricket Australia to play in the UAE’s ILT20.
Lynn has registered himself as a marquee player in the ILT20 but will require a No-objection Certificate (NOC) from CA to play in the league, something he may not get as the Australian cricket board also runs the Big Bash League at the same time.
Chappell said if he were at Lynn’s place he would take CA to court in the event he is not given an NOC.
“To me, you then go back to the World Series Cricket days, where they took the board to court over restraint of trade. Is it a restraint of trade?
“In Chris Lynn’s case, if he hasn’t got a contract with Cricket Australia or Cricket Queensland, what’s to stop him? If I was Chris Lynn and I wanted to play in the UAE I’d take them to court. I don’t think Cricket Australia would have a hope in hell.
“It’s got to be a restraint of trade. You’re not contracting him, but you’re not letting him play either,” Chappell said.
Coming back to the challenge cricket is facing, Chappell felt the expansion of T20 leagues at a rapid pace will cause huge damage to Test cricket and its future.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. For starters, if you’re being realistic you can only play Test cricket between about eight teams.
“West Indies have got a problem because they can’t afford to pay their players. Sri Lanka have a reasonable infrastructure but big political problems, and South Africa is similar. Whoever thought of giving Afghanistan and Ireland Test status is off their rocker. But you know why it’s been done, it’s so those countries get a vote.
“To me this whole issue has been coming for quite a while, and I have no sympathy for the administrators.”
Chappell, who played 75 Tests for Australia, added,
“I think a lot of the older players will get offers from that area, and that will be a real challenge for nations like Australia who have a lot of good players, and also for nations that can’t afford to pay their players the best rates.”
“Then you’ve got the problem of the IPL franchises owning teams in different leagues around the world. If you’ve got a decent IPL contract and the choice is between Australia and your IPL franchise’s UAE team, well are you going to put your IPL contract at risk?”