How many Tests against India in 2014?

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Five! A full five!

This would appear to be the upside to the fact that Test cricket is pretty much only played by England, Australia and India these days. We finally get a full length series that isn’t the Ashes. When did that last happen?

No, really – when? We can’t be bothered doing the research.

There will be three Tests in the South-East and two in the rest of the UK. Feel free to have an argument about that in the comments.

We propose that all future Tests be played near the birthplaces of British-born Test cricketers who would be in the first XI at the time the fixtures were agreed. That currently gives us a surprisingly broad choice of Gloucester, Sheffield, Coventry, Bradford, Nottingham, Northampton, Burnley and either Pontefract or Watford, depending on whether Tim Bresnan or Steven Finn gets the nod.

These places have earned the right to host Tests. Everywhere else clearly doesn’t love cricket enough to be considered.

Update: With six days the longest gap between Tests, fans attending the later matches will be delighted at the prospect of seeing several of each nation’s best cricketers.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. 1959 was the last time India played five tests here.

    Anyway, this comment from CricIndia208 on Cricinfo best manages to encapsulate the moment that cricket fans have been waiting 50 years for:

    “Great schedule. There should be more cricket between India, England and Australia. Other teams do not bring in the money, no point in playing them.”

    1. Yeah, no point. It’s bad news for all amateur sportsmen and women, but there is simply no point arranging that fixture against Fulford second XI because it won’t bring in any revenue. They’d be better off spending their time doing listing the kids’ toys on eBay, because at least that’s revenue generating and therefore worthwhile.

    2. It is properly depressing when the attitudes that have poisoned sports administration board rooms leak out and infect the fans. I know it’s happened in football (today is Deadline Day, when we can all watch short-to-medium-term business decisions being made LIVE), but this is pretty bad. What a day you’d have watching a test match with CricIndia208, discussing how much a test century is actually worth in Rupees before deciding that a better return can be made in plastics.

    1. You have the best of all worlds, Sam – a mere 60 minute train ride from two world class test grounds!

    2. Unfortunately I don’t live in Birmingham anymore. But it’s still my spiritual home.

      I actually live in Cornwall, about as far as you can get from a Test ground.

      The campaign for Test cricket at Truro starts here, people.

    3. Sam published the same comment twice. We deleted one while he was commenting on that fact and therefore did him up like a kipper (whatever that means). Sorry for that, Sam.

    4. I think it is fair to assume that Edgbaston will be awarded one of the Sri Lanka tests earlier in the season, Sam.

      It is also fair to assume that the ECB would consider WCCC to have been fairly compensated for the “lesser test” by virtue of both an ODI and an IT20 against India.

      It is thrice fair to assume that Edgbaston will be awarded an Ashes test next time around, which is, after all, the following year!

    5. Fair points, Ged. But as I have written here, between 2010 and 2011, the pavilion end of the ground was completely redeveloped at a cost of £32 million, bringing the capacity to 25,000. A handful of ODIs and a season of one man and his dog watching county cricket is a waste of what has become a top-class sporting venue.

      I can make my peace with Edgbaston losing out. It’s KC’s point of three Tests in the south-east that gets on my wick.

    6. With all due respect to Durham, Hampshire and Glamorgan (i.e. none), there are SIX test match grounds in this country. In a seven-test summer, they can have one each (Lord’s can have two, which is proper). Two of these ground are in the north, two in the south, and two in the middlelands. These grounds are currently the largest and best developed in the country, they are all located in the centre of major cities, with excellent accomodation and transport links. They each bring a wealth of tradition and character, and thus context, to a match, both in their individual atmospheres and in the long-standing nature of their pitches. Having an annual test match at these grounds creates a habit of test-going among the locals that ensures excellent attendances.

      What reason on earth is there to change this?

    7. Warwickshire make a load of cash from hiring out the new stand for massive weddings. It doesn’t necessarily need Test cricket.

    8. Using my geography degree, an online map, and 2 fingers,I’m suggesting far north-eastern Russia.

    9. I just checked and I appear to be 3300 miles away from Kingston, Jamaica, which is my local Test venue.

  2. In all seriousness, choosing test venues based on the counties that the test squad play for might be a pretty good idea.

    Under this system, Edgbaston (Bell, Trott, Woakes) and Headingley (Root, Bairstow, Bresnan) would get more tests than, say, Old Trafford (just Jimmy) or the Oval (KP).

    This would:
    1. Reward the counties that produce the most England players.
    2. Further compensate those counties for the loss of England players during the county season.
    3. Perhaps help to ensure more full houses, as people would (hopefully) turn up to support the local lads.
    4. Annoy Surrey.

  3. Apart from the regional bias, the schedule is absolutely crazy. I count 17 scheduled days off in a 42-day programme, in which all 5 Tests are effectively played back-to-back, the longest break being just 6 days.

    I don’t see how this can possibly be achieved without squad rotation, particularly given some of the chronic injuries in the England squad. Silent boos for squad rotation, everybody.

  4. Tendulkar won’t be coming, of course. Last time India played a test here, Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman played (Dravid was 146 not out opening). The tour before that, at Nottingham, when Tendulkar was out the score was 342 for 4. Then Laxman walked on. No centuries in a score of 481 – it was like punching a glacier.

    That’s why you made sure you had tickets for an Indian test – you got to see test batsmen bat.

  5. Simon, excellent number crunching. How utterly depressing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a mass retirement from England’s first team sometime in the next 12 to 17 months. KP, Anderson, Prior, Swann. Who replaces them?

  6. Meanwhile, India are saying their tour of South Africa has too many games in not enough time. While I can get behind the “seven ODIs is far too many” aspect, who on earth wants to see the best team in the world play a two-test series against a top opponent? Who, at the end of that series would say “thank heavens it’s over, that was quite enough of that”?

    In other news, West Indies are going to play some tests against a team that isn’t NZ, Zimbabwe, or Bangladesh for the first time in like, 18 months. So that’s happening.

  7. I am reading a strength training book currently and was struck by the following paragraph. Straight from the book:

    “Bridge builders in the mid-19th century worked all day with 18kg sledgehammers- modern sledges are 6.3kg. English railway navvies at the same time were expected to shovel 20 tons of Earth a day, and Nepalese porters who weighed less than 50kg routinely transported loads of 90kg 95km over steep mountain trails at that time.”

    Why do we believe Pujara’s and Stuart Broad’s right arms would fall down if they played for a prolonged period of time? Oh yes, his performance would seriously drop! He would be seriously risking his lung capacity, liver function, and cannot poop the next day!

    For goodness’ sake, if you’re paid to play, you play. Let’s stop mollycoddling these guys. They are paid handsomely, have access to the best training and rehab facilities, and enjoy superstar status. There are people in this world who aren’t paid a fraction of that amount, and put in an incredible amount of physical work to earn it.

    1. Two things.

      One, no-one cares how well a navvy shovels, just so long as he shovels. If we want to watch someone doing the cricketing equivalent of shovelling daily, we can watch county cricket. We watch Tests to see people shovelling better than anyone else and to do this, they need to be fit, fresh and motivated.

      Two, being as no-one watches navvies shovel as a spectator sport, no-one wants or needs time to dissect how well they worked last week or how well they might work next week.

    2. I didn’t quite mean to compare them literally. My point is that professional cricketers should be able to execute their jobs effectively even over longer periods of time. People falling down all broken after two matches two days apart is unacceptable. As for motivation, representing your country is a privilege (one that you have earned, admittedly), and should be motivation enough. I can at least see some sense in fast bowlers being rested once in a while, but for batsmen and spinners, this is laughable.

  8. So the SL fixtures are confirmed. No Test cricket at Edgbaston at all next year. Two Tests for Lord’s. I know you all think I’m carping on, but really. London isn’t the be all and end all. And a few ODIs do not make up for it.

    1. The Argos Catalogue Bowl hasn’t been confirmed as a venue yet, Sam. A small amount of vandalism in the toilets just before the ECB’s final inspection should do the trick.

    2. This really does surprise me, as Edgbaston got nothing testwise this year and had the horribly rain-affected minor test last year.

      As a regular test attendee at Edgbaston, I have skin in that particular game and certainly I am disappointed that Edgbaston misses out again. It will make it a four year interval for me (assuming something turns up 2015) as both our Edgbaston days were completely rained off last year.

      And I do take Sam’s point that an extra ODI/IT20/T20 finals day etc. only makes up for some of the revenue shortfall.

  9. Thanks Ged. Nice to know someone sees sense.

    I’m off to Edgbaston for the ODI next week. I full intend to take a home made sign saying ‘Down with this sort of thing’.

    1. Hmmmm…

      …your slogan doesn’t quite have the zest of Paris ’68, Orange Revolution or Arab Spring, Sam, but who knows, you might do well with it.

      In Jamaica of course, as Daneel could no doubt tell you, political protest tends to have a little more edge.

      More edge than Edgbaston…perhaps we’re on to something, slogan-wise.

  10. Was this decision made by cutting the head of a chicken in a room whose floor had been divided into the number of potential tests, or the usual approach of spin the brandy bottle in the ECB smoking room?

  11. India’s season looks like this:

    – 7 ODIs against Australia at home
    – 3 ODIs against the West Indies at home
    – 7 ODIs against South Africa away
    – 5 ODIs against New Zealand away
    – June looks relatively free: why don’t we do a quick 7 ODIs against Sri Lanka?
    – 5 ODIs against England away

    You want cricket? WE WILL GIVE YOU CRICKET.

    Now don’t be unreasonable and ask for 3 test series in SA and NZ.

    Look, that’s Yuvraj Singh hitting a DLF Maximum!

    1. Well on the bright side it appears we are being given four tests in total against the West Indies and South Africa instead of three against South Africa alone. Two test series (against WI, SA, and NZ) are wholly unsatisfactory affairs. But if the BCCI had scheduled three three test series (against WI, SA, and NZ) and a five test series against England, that would mean giving us all we wanted. That’s NEVER going to happen.

  12. British-born? Spoilsport.

    That means no Wanderers, Newlands or whatever the hell they might call the ground in Pietermaritzburg.

  13. I’m about 783 miles away from Sabina Park, which isn’t much better than being 3,300 miles away when you think about it.

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