What happens between Test matches?

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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.


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. Wise words as ever, KC. I sometimes wonder whether the authorities just take whatever is said on this site and go in the exact opposite direction.

  2. And yes, we know Abul Hasan has scored a hundred against the Windies, batting at 10. Our take on that is that he’d faced all of 235 deliveries in first-class cricket before today, so nobody had much of an idea how well he could bat. Still pretty amazing though. Good on him.

  3. “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.”

    Excellent use of test/Test KC. In this case the England batsmen knew the test would be on calculus, but were provided only first grade arithmetic books for preparation. And apart from a couple of guys the rest still think they are taking an arithmetic test.

  4. All this waiting may be good for you … I’m just happy there are another two games to watch while we wait. Besides, who needs to watch for answers to the faults of the previous match, when you can watch a number 10 make a hundred. On debut.
    I’d like to see that happen in a t20.

  5. It’s a scientific fact that everyone involved in marketing is a cretin. At the heart of marketing is the principle that the product being sold is the single most important thing in your entire existence. This toothpaste, this washing powder, this sport… whatever it might be is the only thing that matters in the whole world. They can’t accept that what they offer, especially in the case of sport, is the icing, not the cake. Icing is fine, it adds to the cake experience. More icing makes a cake worse, not better. 100% icing is horrific.

    (Substitute your own metaphor in there, KC – the rest of the world likes cake enough to understand.)

    It’s a scientific fact that this comes about because everyone involved in marketing was bullied as a teenager for having a personal hygiene problem. They are seeking to take their revenge on the world by making us hate everything we once enjoyed.

    So to answer the question, what happens between test matches is life, love, seeing friends, watching a film, eating a nice meal or two, sharing a joke, some drinking, and occasional sex (although this has a better chance if we were discussing the gap between series). I don’t want these things replacing with cricket. I want all these things and cricket.

  6. There were fifty six comments on your last piece and twenty three on the one before that. This worries me, and I miss the days when reactions here ranged from measured indifference to abject apathy. Are you becoming more mainstream? Because having no opinion of my own, I like hanging out with nonconformists. Mainstream just won’t do.

  7. I don’t mind trigonometry. I hate the wait between tests when we are so beholden to king’s speak, but then he obviously understands marketing better than the administrators.

  8. I don’t mind back-to-back tests per se, but I do mind when they’ve clearly been scheduled just so that a seven-game ODI series can be crammed in afterwards. Especially if that means the fast bowlers all get knackered and broken by the time the third test starts.

    Building up some anticipation before the series is definitely important though. This is one of the (more minor) reasons why the 2005 Ashes was so good – the one-dayers served as a tasty throdkin before the main hotpot.

    As with all successful experiments in cricket, this one seems never to have been repeated.

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