The South African captain Graeme Smith insists that there should be a test championship similar to those in the one dayers and T20 formats of the game. But, the article does not emphasize on what exactly does the South African captain means when he mentions test championship. Does he want an international tournament similar to the world cup in the other formats of the game is test cricket as well? Or does he want test matches played under lights which are still under discussion? Smith's idea lacks preciseness if one is that particular. Then one can completely rule out watching test cricket.
The reason for Smith to come out with such ideas has got to do solely with the current West Indies' tour of South Africa which is known to have attracted poor crowds. Is the lack of interest in watching test match cricket by fans the main reason for this poor attendance? I don't think so for one, the teams under discussion are South Africa and West Indies, one who is strong for any opposition on their day and the other being equally weak no matter whose day it is. And two, there is lack of technique in test cricket unlike what it was a decade ago.
Test matches more than ending in a draw are seen only from a batting perspective when there is much to offer from the bowling and fielding side as well. Gone are the days when a total of 400-450 on the board promises a tough fight for the opposition to even avoid a follow on. But now, chasing 400+ totals have become a common gesture and though if not for South Africa, no other team has managed to do that offlate, teams have crossed 400 mark despite being on the losing side. A run rate of even 4.0 an over in test cricket confirms of a batting friendly pitch.
Coming to Smith's point, in case a test championship is conducted on the same lines as that of the T20 and ODI world cup, one can imagine the amount of time it might take for the tournament to be concluded. And, with most of the test matches ending in a draw, who would contest the semi finals of such a tournament? And, if this is given a pass taking into consideration the run rate, what if the knock out stage match like the final or a semi final ends in a draw? Who would have the patience to go out and watch test championship for five days? Or should the test matches be reduced from 5 to say 3 days?
I'd rather prefer visiting the Heart of Rachel than to watch a test championship.