This is topic that has come up in another thread, but given the err nature of that particular thread, I thought it could do with its own. If at all possible I'd like the major participant(s) of that discussion to keep their discussion in the thread it's already in.
Firstly, I should make it clear that this isn't really about which format of the game you prefer or take more seriously. I'd gladly see the best ODI player in the world retire from one day cricket if I thought it might mean he averaged 2 more runs per dismissal with the bat in Test cricket, because while I watch a lot of one cricket, I don't really care for it in the way I do the multi-day/multi-innings stuff.
But I'm beginning to think that isn't quite the point, because the players certainly don't think the same way. I've made the point on this forum before that it's unfair to judge players of yesteryear by how they'd fare in modern conditions because it wasn't their job nor their aim to develop a style suited to cricket 70 or more years down the track, and that their worth to their captains, their teams and themselves was determined by how they adapted to the conditions and standards of the time. I think the same applies to this situation; players aren't aiming to only develop a game for Test cricket, so why should we judge them based only on Test cricket?
Shane Watson for example is a player I've long thought would be a far more effective four and five day cricketer had he never had to develop a game for limited overs cricket. He's sacrificed parts of his four day game to develop his limited overs cricket further, because that's what CA wanted of him, because that's what was going to increase his value (both monetary and on-field) and because it's all part and parcel of being a modern cricketer to develop a game suited to multiple formats.
Someone like Pollard takes it a step further by seemingly having no interest in Test cricket at all. He's played less and less four day cricket domestically as time has gone on to a point where he now surely spends all his technical and physical training working on ways to improve his limited overs cricket. Personally I think this is terrible for the game but again, that's not exactly the point.
The cricketers themselves clearly aren't conforming to our - or at least my - view that Tests should be prioritised above all else, and neither are the boards or the majority of the fans. So who are we to say otherwise when rating these players as cricketers? Of course it doesn't mean we can't have our own personal preferences and wishes for what and how these players develop but limiting ourselves to Tests only when rating these guys holds them to a different criteria than they themselves are shooting for. Developing a limited overs game is a big part of being a professional cricketer these days and I'm sure there are a lot of trade offs in skill development, so to ignore it is arguably as big a sin as me rating Vusi Sibanda and Daren Ganga as better batsmen then Chris Gayle because I enjoy watching them so much more. Players should be judged on how valuable they are as cricketers in the time they play; for a modern cricketer, one day cricket is a big part of that.
The easy way out is of course to just rate them entirely separately, treating them as separate games and having different rating systems. A lot of CricketWebbers follow this model including myself, however I don't think it really works like that in reality for the cricketers involved. Some skills are applicable to multiple formats and some aren't, so they need to find the right balance to get the most out of themselves as overall cricketers. For some, the balance is different to others, and I'm beginning to think we should be looking at the package that is a cricketer rather than just the parts that interest us the most.