With 5312 runs in 74 test matches with an average of 42.83, Michael Slater is considered to be one of the finest opening batsmen ever played for the Australian cricket team. After his retirement from international cricket, the right-handed batsman from New South Wales has started the second innings of his career on the cricketing field, as a commentator. Recently he was in India for doing his commentary in the Indian Premier League. In a chat with the CrickerSoccer.com, Slater shared his mind regarding Ball tampering controversy, the recent trend of test match cricket etc.
Here are the excerpts:
CricketSoccer (CS): How is life post-retirement?
Michael Slater (MS): It’s been very happy and healthy. I am engaged in some business works. At the same time, I cannot keep myself away from the cricketing field. I am doing commentary for last few years and I’m enjoying the job. The only difference is that I don’t have the chance to go to the crease and play some of my favourite shots (laughs).
CS: You are frequently seen doing commentary in various T20 tournaments. How do you see this format of the game?
MS: T20 cricket is really very exciting. The most significant part of this format is that you never have a favourite. Any team can beat any opponent on a given day. It certainly gives a new dimension to the game of cricket. But at the same time, young budding cricketers must remember that if he is to establish himself as a remarkable player, he has to excel in five days format i.e. test cricket. Getting success in test matches should be the biggest dream of a young cricketer.
CS: But the way Test matches these days are played in front of, almost, an empty gallery in almost every venue of the cricketing world, isn’t there a possibility of a young player getting demotivated?
MS: I don’t think so. Look, if you love the game, it doesn’t matter whether you play in front of a massive crowd or in front of an empty gallery. But yes, playing and performing before a huge crowd is such a fantasy that it, sometimes, brings the best out of a cricketer. There is scope to think how you can attract more people on the ground to see test matches. You have to employ some fresh ideas. Day-Night test matches are serving the purpose.
CS: What is your take on test championship?
MS: Ohh, it’s a great idea. I think it will make the format more exciting, as I was just pointing while answering the previous question. Test championship will bring importance to each and every test matches. Even in a 3 match series, if one team secures the series by winning the first two matches, the third match will not be a routine gesture. It will rather be a chance for both the teams to win maximum championship points which will enhance their chances of lifting the Trophy.
CS: Most of the test matches these days being finished before five days, what could be the reason?
MS: I feel it’s batsman’s lack of temperament. As an opener, I must say that in our playing days, the basic criteria to get success for a batsman was to show patience and temperament. Our mantra was to stick to the crease and fight for getting runs. Once you get set, you can play a big innings. Surprisingly, not many batsmen these days score centuries in the second innings. It’s because of their lack of temperament.
CS: Could it be an adverse impact of T20 cricket?
MS: Don’t think so. Look, T20 cricket is also played with a bat and a ball. It isn’t a game from a different planet. It’s very simple. Test cricket is just another platform and I firmly believe that as a batsman if you play well in tests, you will be successful in T20 or any other formats. But as a batsman, you have to apply yourself. You must not be in a hurry to runs. The grammar of batsmanship hasn’t changed much in the last 2 decades.
CS: Last question. What’s your take on the recent ball tampering issue that saw Steve Smith and David Warner getting suspended from international cricket?
MS: It’s very unfortunate. They have made a mistake. But the most painful part is the way they were treated after their confession. Smithy and David deserve more respect. But they are strong characters and I believe they will come back strongly.