Is Test Cricket another example of Disruption?

Test Cricket has been played for over a 100 years.

It was considered the ultimate test of cricketing ability over 5 days – hence the name Test Cricket.

But lately audiences and players are voting with their feet.

Many of the West Indies team for example have decided not to tour Australia, rather they will compete in the Indian 20:20 competition.

To better understand what is happening it might be useful to use the lens of Disruption.

Has the forces that originally brought about the demise of the taxi industry at work with cricket?

In short, has Test Cricket been Ubered?

Test Cricket was originally disrupted by one day cricket.

Suddenly a match which used to take 5 days was now all over in 1 day.

Enter World Series cricket and in the late 70’s and coloured clothing, white cricket balls, day and night matches and changes to field placements mean that the popularity of this game soared.

But Test Cricket survived and co-existed with this shorter form.

But the emergence of 20:20 cricket seems to have changed everything.

This brand of cricket which is all over in an afternoon has introduced music, dancing, outrageous shot-making and inventive captaincy has resulted in noisy, involved large crowds (and ratings).

It has also led to new people being attracted to the game.

Throw in leaps in technology like the cricket bats, camera angles, bowling changes and stump views has led to a fast-paced, high-energy cricketing adventure.

Test Cricket by comparison seems pedestrian, dull and only for the die-hards.

Test Cricket it seems has been Ubered.

It satisfies these 3 conditions:

  • There has been a non-linear change.
  • A totally new customer experience.
  • And the ‘rules of the game’ have changed forever (can you imagine going back to Test Cricket only or just using Taxis?).

Where to from here for Test Cricket?

The Night Test experiment in Adelaide is a good start as is calls for a 4 days test.

But I fear that Test Cricket like Blockbuster Videos, book stores and video outlets will soon become a thing of the past.

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