India could be the world’s #1 Test Match team if they wanted to. With unlimited money and an unlimited supply of players it would be trivial to put out a team that could beat all others.
The only logical conclusion is that they don’t want to have the top-ranked team. That’s not to say they want a low-ranked team, just that being top in Test Matches isn’t important to them. “Them” in this case being the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). One imagines the players themselves would quite like to be #1, and there’s no doubt many of the Indian fans would.
Watching the last rites of this disappointing Test series at The Oval yesterday, I noticed that the Indian fans who were wearing replica kit were wearing the blue limited-overs strip. The England fans were wearing white Test Match replica kit. This may be a clue. The long form isn’t that big a deal outside England at the moment (and I include Cardiff in that sweeping statement).
The BCCI could afford to dominate all forms of cricket. Currently their chosen battlegrounds are One Day Internationals and bureaucracy. They promote their own domestic Twenty20 competition over the international equivalent because they control it 100% and the revenue does not have to be shared with their acolyte countries Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. But I’m no nearer understanding why they don’t want it all.
Is it a simple RoI calculation? The fans prefer other forms of the game so the revenue from Test Matches is lower…therefore it’s not a priority? That would be breathtaking cynicism.