Michael Holding [Image-Sky Sports]
Michael Holding [Image-Sky Sports]

Test cricket is “alive and well” for former West Indies cricketer and fast bowling great Michael Holding, despite the common notion on social media and in commentary boxes of ‘Test cricket is dying’.

Michael Holding explains what this sentence truly means, and how it is often misinterpreted by people. He points out that the viewership, in the stadium and on television, for the 5-day format has decreased significantly.

However, the legendary speedster has observed that the standard of the game remains high, especially with more percentage of results been seen than draws since 2018, as bowlers have dominated greatly than they did in the past 20 years.

Rishabh Pant
India made an improbable series win in Australia earlier this year. (Photo: Twitter)
“When people say ‘Test cricket is dying’, you first have to understand what they are referring to. And in what context they are saying ‘Test cricket is dying’.
“If you look at it, in the context of people attending tests and interest in Test cricket, I don’t think you could disagree with anyone that the interest and attendance at Test cricket has gone down tremendously. It is no longer at the top of people’s lists,” Michael  Holding told Times Of India.
“When you think of the standard of cricket being played and how entertaining it is, there’s absolutely no way you can say that Test cricket is dying, because the standard of cricket that you’re watching, and the entertainment value from Test cricket…as far as I’m concerned it is alive and well.”

The priority that people give to Test cricket has certainly waned: Michael Holding

To add more context to Test matches and to reinvoke the interest of the audience in the red-ball game, the ICC introduced the World Test Championship, a concept that began in 2019, but was set in motion about a decade ago as T20 cricket started attracting the world. Kane Williamson’s New Zealand side displayed the true characteristics of a world-class Test team as they defeated India in the final last month to become the first World Test Champions.
Michael Holding says that when two equal teams fight each other over the course of days in Test cricket, it produces engrossing cricket to watch. However, for the spectators, he believes, Test cricket is not a format of great interest.
New Zealand Cricket Team, ICC World Test Championship
New Zealand Cricket Team pose with the ICC Test Mace after winning the WTC final against India. (Photo: Twitter)
“When you watch two Test teams taking part in a Test match, I don’t think there could be anything better. The ebbs and flows throughout the five days, if it lasts that long, I think is fantastic. But you cannot argue with anyone who says that the interest in it, and the attendance and the priority that people give to Test cricket has certainly waned,” the 67-year-old former pacer further stated.