England need a balance of red and white to protect Tests, emphasizes Andrew Strauss… as the former captain warns of a cricketing world ‘changing unbelievably fast’ due to T20 and ‘shifting plates’
- Andrew Strauss feels many players still want to challenge themselves in Tests
- The rise of T20 is part of a rapidly changing game, says ex-England captain
- Strauss accompanies the ECB’s opinion on the state of sport in England
Sir Andrew Strauss has called for cricket to ensure a balance between formats and to prevent the game from being overrun by white ball competitions.
Strauss, who leads the ECB’s advice on how the sport operates in England, emphasized that Test and T20 cricket can coexist, saying today’s players have more opportunities than ever.
But he stressed the need to encourage young cricketers to play all forms of the game, at a time when the Test format is becoming increasingly vulnerable outside the so-called ‘Big Three’ of India, England and Australia.
Andrew Strauss leads the ECB’s advice on how the game works in England
“The spread of T20 leagues and cricket’s shifting tectonic plates are a very current issue,” he said.
“The cricket world around us is changing incredibly fast. We have to ask ourselves where our game fits in there.
What should we prioritize and invest in to ensure it remains strong and relevant, and that we have incentives for our players to play both red and white ball cricket?
“We want to make sure the players play the right balance of formats so it doesn’t all drift along that cue ball, short form route.
“There are still plenty of players who want to challenge themselves to become the best test cricketer they can be.”
But Strauss, who led England in 50 tests and led them to the top of the rankings in 2011, admitted that not everyone has the same priorities.
‘In other countries, Testcricket doesn’t pay the bills, like here. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg: if it costs you money to keep Testseries, you don’t have a lot of money to invest in marketing it all.
Former England captain Strauss has called the spread of T20 competitions ‘a very current issue’.
“Obviously the T20 format is how many people are introduced to the game. I still maintain that it can be comfortable with Test cricket.
“The challenge we have is can we create a manageable schedule where players can do both? That’s really complicated. It’s multidimensional, like a big Rubik’s Cube.’
Strauss will attend Lord’s on Wednesday for the first Test against South Africa to promote the fourth year of the #RedforRuth campaign, the charity named in honor of his wife, who died of lung cancer in 2018 at the age of 46.
Last year it raised more than £1.2 million for the Ruth Strauss Foundation, which provides emotional support to families over the death of a parent and helps fund research into non-smoking lung cancers.
On the pitch, meanwhile, the England Test team will look to continue their remarkable resurgence under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum.
“It’s been an extraordinary mindset shift and shift,” Strauss said. ‘That has been achieved purely and solely through good, strong leadership.
Strauss will be at Lord’s on Wednesday for the first Test against South Africa to promote the fourth year of the #RedforRuth campaign
“It just emphasizes the value of being clear about how you play cricket and taking away players’ fear of failure.
“The more you have that mindset, the more confidence you gain and the more capable you are of doing extraordinary things.
“We saw it with the whiteball team after 2015, and I think we’ll see it again with this test team during this South African series and beyond.”
Asked if he thought Stokes’ side could match his and make its way to the top of the rankings, Strauss replied: “I sure hope so.
The acid test for any team is: can you win away from home? And there are still some areas where this team still needs to improve.
‘But trust also goes a long way. This series is important, to build on what has happened so far this summer.”