By Jamie Paul Lloyd
Test cricket is to be absorbed, not merely watched. If you allow, it will seep into your DNA like osmosis.
Test cricket will never die.
I concede that like vinyl LPs it's time as the predominant format has come and gone, and will never return. However, just like vinyl fandom for 'music purists', cricket aficionado's will always have a special fondness for the oldest of international formats.
I consider myself the luckiest of cricket fans. I was born in the mid-seventies and through the eighties enjoyed what was a golden age for Test cricket, whilst also experiencing the increasing emergence of the new and exciting ODI format. In more recent times I have witnessed and enjoyed the explosion of T20 cricket, and with it the proliferation of big bats, small boundaries, and ever larger purses for those 'athletes' lucky enough to have their services sort after in one of the many professional leagues operating around the world.
This is not a critique of T20 cricket. Far from it, for in fact I love nearly everything that this exciting new format has brought to the sport. I am though, and forever will be a Test cricket fan first and foremost. I prefer my music analogue in what is now a digital age.
Test cricket is to be absorbed, not merely watched. If you allow, it will seep into your DNA like osmosis. However, do not expect to have your endorphins spiked on the regular by intense action or high-octane excitement. In the main these moments are fleeting. Instead approach test cricket as you would a good book. Crawl into its lap and snuggle a while. Breathe it in. Allow yourself to slow down and be seduced by the ebbs-and-flows of an over, a spell, a partnership, a session, a day.
How does one explain the beauty and majesty of a 15 minute piece of classical music to someone whose diet consists of 3 minute auto-tuned pop songs? You can't. They're listening to music from a different perspective, and for entirely different reasons. The nuance and mathematical genius of classical music is lost on the casual pop-music fan.
And so it is with Test cricket. To paraphrase Obi-wan Kenobi... Test cricket is an elegant sport, for a more civilized age.