Cricket Australia’s chief executive James Sutherland has issued a warning that Test cricket’s value might well be taking a downward curve. Stating that in some parts of the world the situation is really desperate, Sutherland maintained that the reason behind this is the lack of commercial viability. However, he did praise the new league system and expressed hope that it will create relevance and generate interest.
Speaking to The Grade Cricketer podcast, Sutherland said, “In many ways there’s so much doubt about Test cricket and its future I think and in some parts of the world it really is in a desperate state. That’s partly because it’s just not commercially viable,” he said. “There are some really significant warning signals in some parts of the world.”
Referring to the Indian market, he said, “As a starting point if you go to India, the country where there is supposedly the most lucrative commercial market, the current valuations on a Test match, five days of Test cricket, is exactly the same as the valuation on a three-hour Twenty20 international match. That’s a perspective on what the market in the biggest country in the cricketing world sees as the value of Test cricket, and that has a significant flow-on impact to other countries.”
“So the alarm bells are ringing for Test cricket and that’s one of the reasons why I think this context around Test cricket is so important with this league championship,” he added.
When asked how the new league system will benefit the game, the chief executive concluded by saying, “In 15 years’ time I sincerely hope that this league will create extra relevance and drive and importance for Test cricket, ideally the championship has significant incentives for countries and players to stay involved in Test cricket, and the rewards and recognition from that will also be seen and reflected in fans coming and continuing to stay connected to the game.”