T20 vs Test Cricket - The Great Debate

Why can’t we have both? And any other form of cricket that comes along.

I/we (at ACI) seem to get an exceedingly large, compared to any other topic, number of messages & comments attacking T20 and white ball cricket.

There is very much a traditionalist debate that T20 is ‘ruining’ cricket and players should not be allowed to enjoy, be good at or practice short form cricket. Hmmmm 🤔.

In the space of 3 weeks during the BPL senior tournament and the launch of our T20 focused training program, I’ve received emails, comments on social media and direct messages along the lines of

“Not this crap, why don’t you teach kids real cricket”

“RIP Test cricket, should be teaching kids to defend and bat the day”

“Money is ruining the game. I’m a coach and I know the ridiculous shots they play in T20 aren’t good for the game”

I disagree with all of them and I’m going to explain why.

Don’t get me wrong, I love test cricket, it’s still my favourite format of cricket to watch but I also love and appreciate 50 over, T20 & 100 ball cricket for what they are and what they bring to the game.


First of all, I think it’s absolutely absurd to say every player should endeavour and train to be a test match cricketer.

We have other formats, fans like to watch them, they are here to stay and they require different skill sets to an extent.

What’s the issue with that? 

Imagine telling Usain Bolt he couldn’t train for and compete in the 100m & 200m sprint, he had to be a 5000m runner because you thought sprinting was rubbish compared to the 5000m event?

Or imagine telling every kid when they get to school they have to be a mathematician, despite having the skill set and passion for science, they don’t have a choice because you think science is rubbish compared to maths.

Ridiculous when you think about it like that isn’t it?

No issue with you preferring test cricket over T20 cricket, crack on, but don’t tell someone they shouldn’t be good at, train for and enjoy T20 cricket.

This summer we'll be running 6 week T20 skills Academies designed to give player the opportunity to explore and develop their T20 cricket, for any parents interested for your child, click the banner below;


The other thing I hear a lot of is - “You should be teaching kids to defend and bat the day”

We do?

Why can’t players develop an array of skills?

Whether a player sees themselves as a test cricketer, 50 over/combo player or a genuine T20 cricketer, it’s beneficial for their game to practice all skill sets.

A test cricketer should spend SOME time on boundary hitting and scoring quickly just as much as a T20 cricketer should spend SOME time on their defence, scoring 1s off good balls and ability to leave the ball to get through a spell of challenging bowling.

The best players in the world are often the best in all formats because they have practiced all skillsets and have the ability to adapt their skills to the format they’re playing.

Again referring it to other areas of life;

Imagine telling someone they had to each boiled chicken every day and that’s it.

Or they had to lift heavy weights every day and that’s it.

Variety and diversity in cricket training is good, just like it is in nutrition and fitness.


I’ll keep this one short and sweet.

T20 cricket has provided a lot more career pathways in the game than if it were one format only.

It’s opened doors for individuals that would never have been paid a cent to play the game if it was a one format sport.

Not only for players but coaches and staff too.

We’ve created a larger economy within cricket and there’s more money funnelling into the game to allow more people to do what they love?

Ultimately isn’t that a good thing?

Isn’t the world going to be a better place if more people are spending every day doing the things they love?

I think so.

This summer we'll be running 6 week T20 skills Academies designed to give player the opportunity to explore and develop their T20 cricket, for any parents interested for your child, click the banner below;


Now, some people might debate me on this but hasn’t test cricket got a little more exciting?

Players are scoring quicker.

Chasing down bigger totals in less time. 

England have chased down totals over 300, three times in the last 12 months. They’re rolling their T20 and One-Day cricket mindset (which they’ve been so successful in) into Test cricket and it’s working.

Teams are playing aggressive cricket to set up wins and it’s good to watch.

Guys like David Warner and now Johnny Baristow, two players who were initially genuine white ball cricketers that went on to light up the test arena.

Yes we might have to put up with the odd batting collared with the shift of approach but is that so bad?

I don’t know about you but I’d much rather watch a 250 run chase on day 5 of a test match than two teams scoring 600 each in a benign draw.

The other benefit of white ball cricket, particularly franchise tournaments, is the mixing of players.

  • Exposure to new coaches
  • Learning from new teammates, great players from different environments
  • Developing new friendships from around the state, country or globe

There’s not a player I’ve spoken to, junior or senior, that doesn’t love that experience and the benefits of it.

I could go on for 5 pages but they’re the core reasons why I think test match traditionalists need to cut the crap about T20 cricket ruining the game.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Drop a comment on the Facebook post here > https://www.facebook.com/australiancricketinstitute

Or flick me an email if you’d prefer to keep it private.


Author: Nick Fitzpatrick

Australian Cricket Institute Co Founder

1 reply
  1. Alistair Wells says:

    I personally really enjoy the variety all 3 forms of cricket offer. The different challenges they provide offers different people opportunity to shine and enjoy playing. Parents in theory enjoy short form because it doesn't take all day, but t20 unfortunately is not giving kids enough actual batting or bowling to enjoy playing the game. A 4 hr round trip with half the team batting or all out quickly and 2 overs each, is having the opposite affect than it was intended. When put to a vote of the kids our local league went back to 40 over cricket to keep kids playing. A very controversial but considered. Mothers are time poor and asked to do or some volunteer for many community roles. The truth of cricket is not really understood until you are in the middle with bat or ball in hand to feel the heart racing. Many mothers also get frustrated they drove all that way for their child to just watch the good kids, or the good kid that trains the house down is accused by other parents of favouritism. The only answer is more cricket, but you cant just play, Billy is not registered and his parents spend all winter keeping the football club financial, they just need a break!
    We very much appreciate the people giving our kids the opportunity to play the game we became addicted to as kids. I was never happy being taken off before the allotted 10 overs, or preferably 20 to 30 overs of a weekend. Felt sorry for the opening Bat that got a duck, but that is what practice is for and the no 11 that didn't bowl, but Clearly someone has to provide the entertainment.
    Thanks for asking, Regards Alistair


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