As a member of the English cricket team's supporters club (vital for snaring Ashes tickets next summer) I was pleased to receive this email from the ECB today:
‘Tests are best’ say fans – We received a fantastic nearly 3,000 responses to the recent online TwelfthMan survey where, amongst many other things, you indicated that although you love the razzmatazz and big-hitting of the Twenty20 game, Test cricket still gets the majority vote – a staggering 94% of you in fact. Full survey results will be with you in the new year. Thanks to all who took part as it really does help us at ECB understand the game from the fans point of view.
This, obviously, is encouraging even if it's also a survey of some of the most committed cricket fans. The problem is that the ECB are just as, if not more, interested in appealing to people who don't much care for cricket or, at best, have but a passing interest in the game. We may insist upon the primacy of test cricket but, of course, we would say that wouldn't we? That is, no-one should expect survey results such as these to have any great influence upon the ECB's approach to marketing the game. (And that goes double for the ICC of course whose every action generally seems determined to prove their overall lack of fitness to administrate the sport.)