Stuart Broad Laments the Decline of Test Cricket: While Rabada Features in Four Matches a Year, I Was Engaged in 12 to 15

Former England fast bowler Stuart Broad reflects on the decreasing interest in Test Cricket and suggests ways to bring back excitement to the format.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip Mohanty

Last Updated: 2024-02-12

Umaima Saeed

5 minutes read

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Test cricket produces a week of high drama

28th January 2024, Sunday. It was a momentous day for Test cricket, a format that has been struggling to maintain its relevance and popularity against its younger sibling, T20 cricket. Australia and India, the teams that competed in the last World Test Championship final, suffered defeats on their home turf. Two 24-year-olds took centre stage during these matches: Tom Hartley, a lanky spinner from Lancashire without much domestic accomplishment making his Test debut for England, and Shamar Joseph, hailing from the interior of Guyana who chose cricket for better living, playing his second Test.

In an era where Test Cricket is increasingly becoming a game dominated by rich cricket boards, the two Test matches, one in Hyderabad and the other in Brisbane rekindled hope and interest among the cricket fraternity. These matches showcased the lasting drama that Test cricket is capable of producing.

England Won Hyderbad Test in 2024.jpeg

Every year, from December to February, five T20 leagues take place on three different continents. These leagues are known for their entertainment value and lucrative salaries, but they also have a direct impact on Test cricket. A recent example of this is when Cricket South Africa decided to send a second-string Test team to New Zealand, allowing their top players to participate in the domestic T20 league - the SA20 league.

Speaking to SportsBoom Stuart Broad the 5th highest wicket-taker in Test cricket emphasised how Test cricket needs to be preserved and the administration should work towards creating special windows for this.

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So it did make me wonder whether there is scope to create little window where each nation plays, that's me just thinking about that now.

Stuart Broad advocates for a special window for Test cricket

Test cricket and T20 can coexist

Broad expressed immense enjoyment while watching recent Test matches in India and Australia. He envisions designated windows when all nations play Test cricket simultaneously, fostering a sense of global engagement. Broad emphasises the emotional impact of Test cricket, citing the thrilling West Windies victory and the players' passionate reactions. Despite the rise of T20 cricket, he believes that Test cricket and T20 can coexist, complementing each other and contributing to the growth of the sport.

Shamara Joseph Brisbane Test 2024.jpeg

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I am a believer particularly the T20 and Test cricket can live as great friends. They can live together, they can work together and grow the sport. I think players have a love for test cricket still.

Stuart Broad on viability of Test and T20 cricket

In a recent interview with SportsBoom Former South Africa Test player and coach, Mark Boucher expressed disappointment with Cricket South Africa (CSA) for scheduling a Test Series in New Zealand during the 2024 SA20. Stuart Broad echoes similar sentiments and thinks probably Covid played a role in creating the backlogs of Test series and hopefully the administrators can find gaps and windows between T20 and Test events.

Broad acknowledges the necessity of decisions prioritising T20 leagues over Test matches for the growth of the sport. At the same time, he emphasises the importance of accommodating various formats in the cricket calendar, ensuring there is space for everything. 

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What's imbalanced is you've got Kagiso Rabada playing four test matches a year and I was playing 12 or 15. That doesn't sort of suit. I don’t know how you could fix that sort of scheduling.

Stuart Broad is surprised about Rabada's Test participation

Kagiso Rabada Test.jpeg

Regarding the future of Test cricket, Broad acknowledges the financial disparities between T20 and Test cricket. He notes instances like Mitchell Starc earning more for two balls in the IPL than a whole Test match playing in Australia. Despite the challenges, Broad highlights the emotional significance of Test cricket and the need for collective efforts to ensure its continued relevance and success.

Geopolitics plays a disruptive role in sports. India and Pakistan have not played a test match against each other since 2007. Sachin Tendulkar and Wasim Akram, two of the greatest contemporary batters and bowlers from the subcontinent, only played against each other in 7 Test matches. In recent times, the financial model of cricket boards has become a determining factor in deciding which teams can afford to play test cricket.

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I used to get told off for having an Adidas logo on my sweatband, which you get fined for so the limitations don't work.

Stuart Broad advocates for more sponsorship for Test cricket

In T20 cricket you only have to look at the shirts out there. You've got sponsor, sponsor, sponsor like formula1. Test cricket is so limited and so structured I used to get told off for having an Adidas logo on my sweat band, that you get fined for. The limitations don't work. So there's certainly scope to open up Test match cricket to partners and bring in finances that way. And ultimately how we need Test match cricket, we need to reduce the gap between the lowest-paid nations and the top-paid nations. If you could get to the stage where players were paid similarly around the world you've got more chance of attracting players to play it, said Broad.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip MohantySports Editor

Dillip has over two decades of experience in creating sports content. As the Sports Editor of SportsBoom, Dillip brings in a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. Dillip has worked with leading sports broadcasters and sports web content portals in Asia. He is an adept storyteller and has a special liking for data stories. He has a keen interest in data analysis and uncovering insights from large datasets. He loves to tell the story with rich and compelling data visualisation.