If good things come to those who wait then what do we get when we’re not allowed to wait? (Readers in the UK might recognise the music in that video from something else.)
This England tour of India started well, with three warm-up matches, but now we’re back in the modern world and the second Test begins on Friday, days after the first Test ended.
The thinking is that fans are impatient for more action; for new developments; for whatever’s NEXT. Maybe we’re in a minority, but we don’t see it like that. We favour a more prolonged lull between Tests.
This isn’t just so that the players can recover and perform at their best, because we actually find it interesting to see how they cope. It’s more about digesting what’s happened and building tension for what’s to come.
Promoting a Test series
For all that cricket administrators appear to be obsessed with marketing, they don’t actually seem to understand it. They sell the pauses between the action during a match, but somehow they still don’t appreciate that something can be promoted when cricket isn’t actually taking place.
The time between Test matches is when the series itself is marketed. This is when interest builds and the more interest you generate, the more your ad slots will be worth. Best of all, cricket markets itself, free of charge.
We don’t want to sound like some bleeding spiritualist or something, but anticipation really is part of the whole. When fans talk about what happened and what might yet happen, that is enjoyable in itself, but it also serves to make the cricket that follows seem more significant. The more we read and the more we talk, the more involved we are. That matters for viewing figures as well as personal experience, because it can mean the difference between watching a dull passage of play or switching channels. If a series builds enough momentum (apologies, but ‘momentum’ is the right word here) then new cricket fans can be created.
If anyone with any power in cricket is reading, that means that new customers/stakeholders can be created.
You get better cricket too
England had three warm-up matches before the series, but that’s like blind revision before a whole series of exams. Yes, they know it’s going to be maths, but it’s not until after the first test/Test that it becomes apparent whether they are to be tested on trigonometry, algebra or statistics. Whatever the result of the first match, what happens is a strong indicator as to what is to follow. Intrigue drops. Interest wanes.
Conversely, if there are tour matches between Tests, then the two Test teams can focus their efforts and emerge stronger for the next Test. If they can find answers to the faults from the previous match and pose more threatening questions as well, we see a different match rather than a virtual rehash.
A Test series that develops is infinitely more appealing than one that merely repeats, no matter what the results. That would benefit everyone.