Look, I'm not going to lie. Nearly 60 Twenty20s in little over a month has me all smash-bashed out. If I have to write the words 'swashbuckling', 'quick-fire' or 'Shane Watson' one more time I might have a coronary.
I'm not a (total) purist, I don't hate T20s, and I do see the value in them in terms of getting youngsters and Americans to watch some cricket. But heavens above, it was a bit much having two tournaments straight after each other, wasn't it?
And so, I have never before been so excited for the return of Test cricket. I love five-dayers at the best of times, even when coverage starts at an ungodly hour and I have to be at work at 3am, so with four series on the horizon, I'm all giddy with anticipation.
1) Test Whites
Ok, so it's not an earth-shattering reason to love the longest format, but it's true. It makes me happy to see blinding white shirts and trousers at the start of play get progressively greener, browner and redder as the day goes on. If a fielder is sparklingly clean by the end of the day then he's clearly not been working hard enough.
I love the sleeveless jumpers they wear. As a kid I played cricket just to be able to wear one of those wooly, creamy jerseys with the coloured trim, even when it got smelly and heavy when it rained. Also, the progressively disgusting, depending on the age of the player, wide-brimmed hats and the felt caps, rather than baseball-style peaks.
2) Civil, rather than gaudy
There are no cheerleaders to jump around in skimpy clothing when a boundary is struck, no flashing strobe lights or fireworks, and no stupidly overplayed pop songs between overs. Test crowds tend to be knowledgeable, old-school and relatively restrained, and even the brass band at St George's Park or the Calypso bands in the West Indies are traditional.
And heaven forbid a trumpet should blast out that silly Latin jingle and the crowd screams 'Ole!' People applaud rather than blow vuvuzelas when a cover drive is played, which makes watching five days of cricket far more relaxing. That's not to say there aren't moments of wild jubilation, but it's not All. The. Time!
3) Pleasurable punditry
I'm looking forward to commentators having the time to properly discuss a batsman's innings or a bowler's spell without resorting to words like 'crunching sort-of drive', 'unconventional stroke' or 'excellent economy rate, it was under six'. And you can tell that the former Test players loathe having to describe a 30-run knock off six balls in glowing terms when not a single technical shot has been played.
I also enjoy listening to the pundits tell stories about their playing days, as relates to the on-field action, or having the time to banter with each other between overs. Heck, even a few moments of silence are wonderful, when all you can hear is the tap of the batsman's bat on the pitch as he prepares to face the next delivery.
4) Ratcheting up the tension
The thing I love most about Test cricket is that an hour can go by without much having happened, to the casual observer, but in reality the tension has been cranked up with every dot ball. The battle between a bowler in form and a batsman who refuses to go out is mesmirising, especially when a lot is at stake. Can the batting side hold out for three sessions with only six wickets in hand, or will the pressure be too much?
I can never understand how closely fought Tests are considered boring. When the game is one-sided, with a massive score for one team and a dramatic collapse for the opposition, it loses all appeal for me. In such a game, a lot happens. There's lots of action for someone passing by the TV for a few minutes. But it's boring, because there's no edge-of-the-seat anticipation. That's why the game at Headingley in the summer was so exciting: it was interesting until the final afternoon.
5) Moments of drama
One afternoon on day three, things seem to be meandering towards a draw and you're drinking a cup of tea on the couch, and suddenly three wickets fall in the space of an hour. Or Kevin Pietersen comes in a plays a fantastic century knock against the world's best fast bowler to throw the game up in the air. There are always moments like that in a game, where an hour or a session changes the complexity of a match, or even a series. You just have to stick around for it.
6) Construction in progress
Most people who love Tests will agree that watching an opening batsman start from scratch and work his way towards a ton, whether patiently or with aggression, is a wonderful sight. Constructing a long innings is an art that is in danger of being lost, and having seen Hashim Amla's magnificent 311 not out against England in July, that would be a shame indeed.
Great players can ride out the storm when a fast bowler has the ball swinging every which way, or a master spinner is turning it 90 degrees on a dime. He can switch his mindset, in the same over, to rock back and cut a short, wide one to the ropes. It's multi-paced and different-stroked, not just 'see ball, hit ball' no matter where the delivery pitches.
7) Technically speaking
Test players like Pietersen and Chris Gayle may have all the ridiculously improvised shots in their armoury when it comes to the shorter formats, but they can also play a textbook cover drive. Though no-one does that as well as the Mighty Hash (Heart him forever) or Jacques Kallis, IMHO.
Anyway, there's a frission of delight that runs down my spine when Yuvraj Singh flicks his wrists at the last minute, the ball already past his stumps, to tickle the ball past third man, and that echoing crack of a pull shot over mid-wicket is like music. You can keep your Dilscoops and Switch Hits, and I'll take that pause at the top of a drive, elbow high, any day of the week.
8) Put a spell on me
I love it when fast bowlers get so into their spell that they're furious if a batsman dares to hit him for four. I love when they take a deep breath at the top of their run, having sent down 20 overs in the day already, but still want to put everything into the next ball. I love that look of disappointment yet delight when a peach of a delivery beats a great batsman, and the look on said batsman's face that says, 'Damn, I hate that he beat me but thank God I missed it.'
I often think that bowlers don't get enough credit for the work they put in, and that wicketless maiden overs aren't given enough respect. When they do that graphic on TV that shows where each ball pitched in an over, and it hits the same mark every time but goes in different directions? Fascinating. How many hours it must take to get such accuracy and variation, in the hot sun, on a wicket that may not be helping you. Respect.
9) Take a bow
Connected to an earlier point about crowd attitudes, I enjoy it when a player's milestone, whether it be a ton or a five-fer, or even a career target, is properly celebrated. Not just a quick swish of the bat and then back to the crease, but a properly raised bat, helmet off for a century, a standing dressing room and sustained applause.
The player has been on the field for hours, one assumes, and at work for years if it's a 1000-run mark or 100-wicket goal, so it's only fitting that time is taken to appreciate that. It's great to see the fielders shake a batsman's hand when he reaches a double or triple ton. I find that the 'spirit of cricket ' (though that's a stupid term) is upheld more fiercely in Tests, even when there is a bit of conflict in the background.
Why do you love Test cricket? Tweet us here: @cricket365 and give us your reasons to love the five-day game. Or tell us why you hate it, if you like. Also, which series are you most looking forward to? England in India, South Africa in Oz, or the Kiwis in Sri Lanka? Windies in Bangaldesh?
Lindsay du Plessis