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A rare Test treat for Kiwi fans

Published: 
Friday, December 1, 2017
New Zealand vs West Indies
Fans enjoy the pool deck during Day 1 of the First Test match between Australia and England at the Gabba in Brisbane, yesterday.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP)—New Zealand cricket fans will receive the first portion of a shrinking ration of Test cricket when the Black Caps play the West Indies in the first of two Test matches at the Basin Reserve starting today.

The New Zealand team will play only four Tests at home this summer—two against the West Indies over the next two weeks and two against England in March in a season otherwise heavy with one-day and Twenty20 internationals.

The shape of New Zealand’s home series against the West Indies, Pakistan and England provides a glimpse of the new landscape of international cricket in which Test matches, despite the advent of the new Test Championship, are receding into the background. In future most tours will look like the current one by the West Indies, with only two test matches, three one-day and three Twenty20 internationals.

The Test Championship has been instituted in part to address what the International Cricket Council sees as the sliding popularity of Test cricket by ensuring that while fewer Tests will be played, each match will be invested with greater signficance. The ICC is also moving towards a trial of four-day Tests against the traditional five-day matches in a more fast-paced world.

But many players and fans, who see Test cricket as the premier form of the game, oppose changes which they believe endanger test cricket and devalue its more than 140 years of tradition.

Addressing the recent Conclave of the Delhi and District Cricket Association, India captain Virat Kohli said “I believe Test cricket is paramount for the game to sustain globally.”

The ICC has said the establishment of the Test Championship is an effort to ensure the survival of Test cricket in the 21st century by giving “context” to every match.

New Zealand Cricket has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Test Championship and of the new structure of tours with their ration of two tests. It has said test cricket is becoming financially unsustainable.

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