Andrew Strauss, the England captain, has added his voice to that of Andy Flower in urging cricket's authorities to keep a wary eye on the future of the Test game. As captain and coach, Strauss and Flower have overseen England's rise to the top of the world rankings but outside this country attendances for the longer form of the game are dwindling alarmingly.
The international calendar is littered with one-day and Twenty20 games, which the administrators of some cricket boards appear to prefer – the recent Test series between South Africa and Australia was restricted to two matches, both absorbing but both watched by often sparse crowds. "It's important to market the game as well as possible, that's a crucial part of it," said Strauss. "In the past we've relied on Test cricket always being around. Now we must knock our heads together to evaluate what's the best way of marketing it and how to bring people to the game.
"There's a strong argument that says one-day and Twenty20 cricket is a good way of feeding people through. I'd hate to think anyone's arrogant enough to assume Test cricket will always be around. I don't think that's the case. I'm buoyed by what great support there is for the game in this country, but I'm also aware that in other parts of the world it's less so. We're in a fortunate position here but it's up to administrators all over the world to ensure they keep working on the product."
Flower said recently that the international fixture list had become "compromised" and is in danger of "damaging the game."
England's next challenge comes in January when they begin their defence of their No 1 ranking against Pakistan. "We recognise that the next 12-18 months will be the biggest test we've had yet as a group," said Strauss. "It's a different mindset being the hunted rather than the hunters."
England's Test-match success has helped attract Investec as a new title sponsor in a 10-year deal estimated to be worth up to £40m.
33 and counting... Did Tendulkar make his ton of tons?
Early this morning Sachin Tendulkar returned to the crease in Mumbai, seeking to turn his overnight 67 not out in the third Test against West Indies into his 100th international century. He has been stuck on 99 since April.Reuse content