The Change in Test Cricket Performance Following the Introduction of T20 Cricket

Implications for Tactical Strategy




Cricket, Batting, Performance Analysis, Match Strategy, Coaching, Sports Innovation


International cricket has evolved from predominantly Test cricket, to shorter formats of competition. With the high player overlap between formats, the introduction of Twenty20 (T20) cricket is proposed to have influenced Test cricket and therefore the tactical strategies coaches and players should attempt to implement. The aim of this study was to identify the change in specific Test cricket performance metrics following the introduction of T20 cricket across a 20-year period (2000-2020). A total of 667 matches involving the top eight International Cricket Council (ICC) Test-cricket nations were analyzed. Overall, the introduction of T20 cricket has been associated with a change in the way in which Test cricket is currently played. Results identified significantly ( p < 0.001) more runs being scored by sixes and less by fours. A significant (17.4%; p < 0.001) decrease was also present in the percentage of Test matches ending in draws (23.5% in 2000 to 6.4% in 2020). Run rates increased for five teams (India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, and Sri Lanka), remained constant for one team (West Indies), and decreased for two teams (Australia, England) across the entire period studied. However, there was no change in the number of days Test matches lasted, with the average number of days continuing to last into day five (4.5 decreasing to 4.3). Findings highlight that improving the ability to strike a greater number of sixes, increase the overall run rate, and facilitate strike rotation when batting to be a focus for coaches and players alike. Future studies should ascertain whether the introduction of T20 has had an effect on One Day International (ODI) performance variables while further considering the impact of home advantage and team quality, to facilitate enhanced tactical and strategic decision-making.

Author Biographies

Scott Nicholls, University of Derby

Scott Nicholls, PhD, is a lecturer in performance analysis in the School of Human Sciences at the University of Derby. His research interests include the use of performance analysis and feedback within applied settings, machine learning and its applications in sports, relative age effect, and performance profiling.

Lee Pote, University of Derby

Lee Pote, PhD, is a lecturer in strength and conditioning in the School of Human Sciences at the University of Derby. His research interests include determining the workloads/training loads associated with team-based intermittent sports and how this links to injury risk and performance.

Edward Thomson, University of Chester

Edward Thomson, PhD, is a senior lecturer in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Chester. His research focuses primarily on amateur and professional boxing.

Nicola Theis, University of Gloucestershire

Nicola Theis, PhD, is a senior lecturer in sport and exercise at the University of Gloucestershire. Her research focus is around musculoskeletal biomechanics in paediatric populations and those with neuromuscular disorders.


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