England selector Ashley Giles insists that Test cricket is currently in a good shape despite low attendances at the recent series in South Africa, India and now Australia.
Giles is preparing for his fifth season as Warwickshire’s director of cricket but as a national selector, he has never strayed away from the international game.
The increasing popularity of the huge money spinner that is Twenty20’s has put the future of Test cricket in doubt, but the Ashes winner firmly believes the longest form of the game has a bright future.
“I think that Test cricket is in good state,” he said. “There is currently good competition with India, South Africa and England – you can also never take your eyes of Australia and Sri Lanka are competing well.
“We don’t have a dominant Australian team anymore and all the top teams could potentially push for the top spot.
“I think there is a threat from T20’s, but that threat has lessened over the last few years. Test cricket is the ultimate form of the game and is the greatest Test.
“Graham Thorpe always used to say to me, that’s why they call it Test cricket because it is bloody hard. And it is, there is no hiding place and I think it still has a bright future.”
The former spinner, who played 54 Tests claiming 143 wickets, has future aspirations himself of returning to the international stage, this time as England team coach.
“I have never hidden away from those desires,” he added. “I would very much like to coach one day internationally, no matter where that may be, even better if it is with England.
“But at the moment I have got my hands full here, I am doing a big job at Warwickshire – I don’t know how my bosses feel, but I don’t feel like I am finished here – I think I still have a lot to do.”
Arguably this paved the way for the success of the current side whose astronomical rise has seen them sit top of the current Test rankings.
“I think this team today is a very good side – It is very well run, managed and captained, as we were as well back in 2005.
“I guess what they are nowadays is more professional; it has gone up a gear the level of professionalism in cricket. Whether they would have beaten us, I don’t know – it would have been a good game as they thoroughly deserve to be number one in the world right now.”
Warwickshire finished second to Lancashire in the 2011 County Championship, and have been busy over the winter securing the signing of Essex seamer Chris Wright, who spent the final month of the season on loan at Edgbaston.
Giles has been determined not to set his side any specific targets for the 2012 season, but with an experienced side he believes they have a great chance to win their first County Championship since 2004.
“I don’t set out saying we are going to win any specific tournament as that is quite dangerous, I guess overall we look at improvements and we have definitely developed over the last four years and we want to keep that momentum going.
“I don’t like to say that we will win the County Championship, but I think we have got a very good side and we will be challenging.
“I always saw my job here as being long term, to create something sustainable, so when I left it wouldn’t be the case that everything stops and has to start again, and I believe I am well on the way to achieving this.”