THOSE of us of a certain age can remember one of the most famous battles in corporate history between Sony and JVC for domination of the emerging video tape market in the late 1970s.

Consumers initially had a choice between two different-sized tapes which, of course, needed different-sized machines to play them. Efficiency dictated that only one system would prevail - but would it be Sony's VHS or their rival's Betamax?

Betamax was seen as by industry insiders as the more refined product, technologically superior to the VHS format; consumers, however, preferred the cheap and cheerful alternative and within a few years Betamax was obsolete.

There is something similar going on in the world of cricket at the moment, with T20 sweeping all other formats aside, leaving many commentators fearful that Test cricket may go the way of Betamax if urgent changes aren't implemented.

Last week over 80,000 spectators attended a Big Bash derby in Melbourne, while the (admittedly rain-effected) Test match in Sydney between Australia and West Indies was poorly attended. Images of a leaping David Warner celebrating his hundred in front of deserted stands were in complete contrast to the heaving masses at the MCG.

The evolving debate is of particular significance to Irish cricket where in recent years the dream of playing Tests has been prioritised to the detriment some would argue of one-day cricket and T20s in particular.

The evidence shows that outside of World Cups, Ireland have played a paltry five T20Is against Full Members since 2008 - three at home against Bangladesh and two away in the West Indies.

It's true that our dance card hasn't exactly been brimming with ODI's against those same full members either - although there are glimmers of light in 2016 with six arranged against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Australia.

It's quite disgraceful to think that in the 10 years years since we gained ODI status we haven't played a single limited overs game in England of any description despite being less than an hour away from our near neighbour.

Since our first ODI meeting in 2006 - only classified as an ODI after intervention by ICC shortly before the match - England have travelled to Ireland once every two years, at a time of their choosing. (The next fixture is scheduled for APRIL 2017, bejaysus!)

That small commitment only came about after Ireland hosted the Future Cup series between India and South Africa in Belfast in 2007. The idea that Ireland could become a staging post for international games with potential TV clashes with England fixtures, so alarmed the ECB that they came up with a biennial deal that included both Ireland and Scotland.

Are Ireland right to prioritise Test cricket - described as the "Holy Grail" by CEO Warren Deutrom and his players alike, or should more time and energy be given over to T20s?

Having dominated qualifying tournaments in the Phil Simmons era, home defeats in 2015 by Scotland, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong and The Netherlands saw Ireland slip to a lowly 15th in the rankings.

There's no doubt that the players dream of competing at the highest pinnacle of the game, but the evidence suggests that increasingly the public are shunning Test cricket.

Aside from Test matches in England and Ashes clashes Down Under, attendances in the format all across the other Full Members are dwindling. Modern day spectators have little appetite, the attention span or the time for five consecutive days of cricket from early morning to late evening.

If Ireland do indeed win the Test Challenge, what's in store for them? There's no great financial windfall - if a full member loses the four-match series (nobody seems to know what happens if series is drawn) all they lose financially is 10per cent of their income which goes to the associate.

There's no guarantee of fixtures - the only "commitment" so far has come from Giles Clarke who has stated that England will host a one-off Test against an Associate winner at Lords in 2019.

It's not just Ireland who are having trouble gaining fixtures - it's a recurring theme among the Associate nations. Indeed Scotland have played a grand total of one ODI (excluding World Cup) against a Full Member in the two years since they reconfirmed their ODI status.

You could sense the exasperation in their CEO Malcolm Cannon's declaration to Cricinfo: "We've still got ODI status, we worked bloody hard to retain it. At the moment it's worth nothing. If it has no value, what was the point in trying to get it?"

Cannon's mood can't have been helped by the latest financial distribution by the ICC which in a modern day twist on Robin Hood has seen them take from the "very poor" to give to the "poor" - and of course the rich!

There is talk of establishing an ODI fund to encourage Full Members to play the Associates - let's hope that happens.

I'd also like to see an incentive for the Full Members to play T20's against the top Associates. Surely games against Ireland, Scotland, The Netherlands, Afghanistan etc would be perfect preparation for countries travelling to play England.

I'm certain there would be healthy crowds for Irish T20 matches across the water - especially if at weekends - at the likes of Lords, The Oval, Old Trafford, Edgbaston etc where there are huge Irish communities. It seems like a win/win situation to me.

The return of Boyd Rankin to the Irish fold has given everyone a timely boost ahead of another critical year for cricket in the country. There is of course the ICup, followed by T20 World Cups for both the men and women in India.

Suddenly Ireland's bowling attack doesn't seem as one-dimensional. Rankin's height, pace and extra bounce gives skipper William Porterfield some much needed ammunition in his armoury, and Tim Murtagh has made himself available for the World T20 too.

There was another fillip with the news that Ireland would take the place of Australia at the U19 World Cup in Bangladesh - never an easy place to tour but I'm certain the teenagers will acquit themselves well.

It will be interesting if any of them emerge from the tournament with their senior ambitions enhanced - I'm certain John Bracewell will be bending the ears of coaches Ryan Eagleson, Nigel Jones and Craig Hogan to ascertain just who will be the next cab off the rank.

It was in Bangladesh during the 2004 U19 World Cup that Kevin O'Brien came to the attention of Adi Birrell with a hard-hitting 95 against the West Indies. Within three years he joined team-mates William Porterfield and Eoin Morgan at the 2007 World Cup - the rest as they say is history!