The introduction of the World Test Championship (WTC) is essential to put Test cricket at the pedestal amidst the competition from shorter formats, says England legend David Gower. With the first Test between India and England at Trent Bridge kicking off the second cycle of the WTC, Gower deemed the inaugural edition as a success because of the thrilling final between India and New Zealand at Southampton.
"What worked about it (WTC 2019-21) was the final. Two of the best teams reached the final while the pitch also did its bit. We had rain, sun which changed the conditions quite a bit," Gower told Cricket.com’s exclusive talk show “India’s English Summer”.
He also pointed out the disparity of awarding points between an odd-number series and an even-number series which had caused confusion.
"But until the final, it was complicated. I don't think anyone understood it because of the different points allocated to different matches. Unless and until you are watching all cricket matches from all over the world, despite the time zone differences, it is very difficult to keep track of such things," he added.
However, Gower felt that the biggest achievement of the WTC is it will keep the beauty of Test cricket intact amid competition from shorter formats of the game.
"But the good thing is that it keeps Test cricket in the forefront, despite the competition from other formats. There are now four different formats in England with The Hundred, which is very colorful," he said.
Gower also praised Indian skipper Virat Kohli for being the flagbearer of Test cricket.
"Test cricket is very important for people like me. I still remember Virat Kohli in 2018 (tour of England) was talking about how much Test cricket matters to him. When someone of that caliber flies the flag for Test matches, it has a chance to prosper," the England great said.
Speaking about criticism directed at WTC points system which New Zealand saw reach entering the final on basis of playing more two-Test series, Gower said that the Kiwis had proved themselves as worthy winners by winning the final against a top team.
"New Zealand played a lot of two-match series at home where are fully aware of the conditions. Whatever flaws there are in the system, they have won those series. And by winning the final, they proved themselves. Like many other sports around the world, the margins in modern cricket are very slim, especially among the top five teams," he said.
The legendary batsman was also critical of the hectic international calendar in modern cricket which poses the danger of going stale with the audience.
"I think there is a danger of wanting to do too much. With the globalization of cricket over the past 10-20 years, there are more events added to the international calendar. You have the ODI World Cup every four years, the World T20 has become more frequent, you have bilateral series and on top of that, you have the other ICC events. I think what spectators need is a bit of freshness. If you feed the same diet every day, the freshness will disappear," Gower said.