KXIP assistant coach Andy Flower believes that it’s vital for the voices of the player’s who matter, like Indian skipper Virat Kohli, to keep talking up Test cricket to help the format survive. Kohli had earlier branded the five-day format the ‘ultimate challenge’ for any cricketer in the sport.
As the sport of cricket continues to grow globally, the shorter formats - particularly T20 - which are stuffed with entertainment are being seen as the tools to tap into unexplored markets. The growth of franchise cricket across the world has coincided with the plummeting of viewership in Test cricket and there exists a genuine fear amongst the purists that the day might not be far away from where the people who take the shots decide to do away with the longer format for good.
Thus to ensure that Test cricket lives on, Kings XI Punjab’s assistant coach Andy Flower believes that it’s vital for powerful cricketers like Virat Kohli to publicly endorse red-ball cricket. Kohli had, earlier this year, described Test cricket as his favourite format and had also criticised the ICC’s move to ponder cutting short the longer-format to four days.
"My personal opinion is that there is space and time and interest in all three formats to make them viable and successful. Players like Kohli talking up the Test game is a very important part of it,” Flower told PTI.
"I am sure he said that from a genuine perspective and realisation that it is the most difficult challenge for a professional cricketer. That recognition is nice to hear.”
Never in the history of cricket has there been such disparity - number of games played in international vs number of games played in franchise cricket - like there is right now, and the situation has posed a unique yet tough challenge for the ICC. Despite the booming T20 market, Flower feels that there still exists a ‘huge interest’ within India, England and Australia for Test cricket and believes it’s the responsibility of the ICC to manage things wisely.
"It is a serious challenge for the ICC to make a fine balance between viable international cricket and the burgeoning franchise world. That is going to be interesting to watch over the coming decade."
"I still think there is huge interest, primarily in three nations (India, England, Australia), in Test cricket. We have had two good series in England without spectators, as a TV product, the five-day format offers a lot to the broadcaster.
"There is also interest among players to play Test cricket. The ICC has to manage all of that wisely," said the former Zimbabwe captain.
Flower, in 2019, ended a 12-year association with the ECB which began way back in 2007. He was then appointed the assistant coach of KXIP, where he'll be helping out head coach Anil Kumble.