Stephen Fleming's suggestion New Zealand scale back test cricket in favour of the short forms of the game seems to have created little or no discussion.

Good. It's a crock.

Monday's Chappell-Hadlee 50-over match against Australia will be closely followed after the boredom of the Bangladesh series where every version (T20, ODI and test matches) meandered to inevitable conclusions.

Leave aside the fact Fleming is the greatest scorer of test runs in New Zealand's history - no one else has scored anywhere near 7000. It would be a bit small to suggest he is denying others the career he enjoyed as Fleming's comments were presumably aimed at the good of the game - and not just the good of Fleming (who earns a living coaching T20 stuff in India and Australia).


In a cricket sense, his contention is redundant. New Zealand is ranked No. 1 in the world at T20 and fourth in ODIs. In tests, they are ranked fifth. No matter what you may think of the ICC rankings, there's no apparent need to scale anything back if success in the short forms is happening organically.

And, anyway, why would you? In tennis, New Zealand has no one in the world top 50 singles players, men or women. So should we scale back singles and concentrate on doubles?

Everyone's head is being turned by the admittedly astonishing numbers watching Australia's Big Bash T20 series, with up to 80,000 watching matches at the MCG and huge TV viewership. That has led to even more strident predictions of test cricket's demise - based on small crowds around the world, even cricket-crazy India.

But there's life in the old girl yet. The Big Bash's biggest TV audience earlier this month was 1.7 million; the average audience 1.3m across all games. On day four of the recent day-night test, Australia against South Africa, 1.8m watched the final session. The first day of that test averaged 1.3m - and that's over 8 hours, not the 'instant coffee' ethos of T20's hit-and-giggle ethos. The fifth day averaged 1.6m.

That said, T20 has affected test cricket - faster scoring has penetrated tests and led to persuasive calls for them to be shortened to four days.

We can never forget tests were saved by Kerry Packer's 'circus' in the 1970s; a staid administration dragged by the hair into a modern world of coloured clothing, TV rights, day-night games and a greater sense of urgency, competition and relevance to the sporting public.

T20 has done what its creators intended - bringing new people, new audiences, into the game. So is this not the next revolution that will 'save' cricket?

There's just one small thing. ODIs have stood the test of time, even if the Aussies still casually insult us by leaving their three best batsmen at home for Monday's match. T20 may not. It may be a step too far into the over-scheduled, overblown, more-is-less dynamic of modern life in a predominantly disposable society.

It may be a cricketing fad - going the same way as Tamagotchi, the Macarena, crocs and those god-awful baggy jeans designed to be worn to show your underwear but which all too often succeeded in showing bum cracks as well.

How will T20 fare when the crowd get bored with the ramp shot, the endless succession of sixes, bowlers as sacrifices and when the hype is just...hype? The Wellington Sevens is an object lesson. Originally marketed as a dress-up party fuelled with lashings of booze, it became old hat. Now it is being shopped around as a family day. T20 may be doing big numbers now, but does anybody really care? Is it building its own tradition or is it soon to be forgotten when the next distraction arrives?

Fleming's assertion of scaling down tests was based on "we are not really ever going to threaten one or two in the world...we've come close at times but it's only going to be for brief compete against the big countries is always going to be a challenge."

Precisely. That's what sport is. A challenge. It's setting yourself against the best and, occasionally, beating them. Otherwise, we should all go down the road and have a milkshake...