A chapter-by-chapter breakdown:
The first chapter charts how a rise in the number of international games has put pressure on the long-established format of the overseas tour and led to a decline in the quality of Test cricket. Using the England-India series of 2011 as an example, it shows how the inadequate preparation of the tourists resulted in an uncompetitive summer of cricket that was concerning for all. It also looks at how the international fixture calendar is created and why Test cricket needs to push back against the tide of one-day internationals and Twenty20 matches.
This chapter looks at the careers of two young players—India’s Suresh Raina and Australia’s Steve Smith—as they attempt to become the first generation of international players to learn and master three codes of cricket simultaneously. It argues that Raina and Smith and their contemporaries will struggle to match their predecessors, and looks at how Test cricket’s appeal to young players can be maintained.
The men in the middle
The third chapter is focused on the role of technology in the Test match. It explains why the use of replays, Hawkeye and the Decision Review System has been so controversial, and what the implications are for the umpires, whose role in the sport is being marginalised.
The so-called spot-fixing scandal of 2010 returned the issue of corruption to the front of cricket’s collective conscience. This chapter examines how spot-fixing works, why fixers are continuing to thrive in Test cricket and assesses the likelihood that the latest plans by the sport’s governing body to eradicate match-fixing will succeed.
Test match pitches are being made flatter and tamer. This is to the advantage of broadcasters and stadium owners, who get more action for their money. But this trend is proving damaging for Tests, where dull, high-scoring draws are proliferating. This chapter investigates the role of Test match groundsmen, the pressures that they face in producing playing surfaces and states the case for keeping Tests played on exciting pitches.
The final chapter looks at the power struggle unfolding at the head of the sport between the International Cricket Council and the country cricket boards that report to it. It shows how the balance of power has been altered by the rise of India and argues that Test cricket has been the victim of administrative neglect. It proposes how Test matches should be protected, and how this can be compatible with other forms of cricket.