February 4, 2011

ICC

Rethinking the Future Tours Programme

Cricinfo

From Andrew Sanderson, Australia

Michael Clarke won the toss in his first Test as captain and chose to bat on an overcast morning, Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 1st day, January 3, 2011
An equal distribution of games should be the way to go  © Getty Images
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With talk of a Test World Cup, similar to the ODI and Twenty20 World Cups, maybe it is time to have a closer look at the Future Tours Programme (FTP) and how many games that Test teams are playing.

As it stands, there seem to be no uniform tours - each tour relies on the teams involved deciding how many Tests, ODIs and T20s that they will play. If the ICC were to set a uniform tour format, with an equal number of tours for each team, perhaps the ICC Rankings would have more meaning for all involved.

My proposal is simple - we set the number of games for each tour at three Tests, three ODIs and three T20s. The total days in playing time in this format is 21 days. If we allow five days rest between each Test and one day between each of the shorter games, this allows for 14 days rest, bringing the total days to 35. Allow an additional five days between the Test and ODIs, and a day between the ODIs and the T20s, and our tour total reaches 41 days. Finally, give the sides 10 days grace on each side of the entire tour, and the magic number becomes 61 days - about two months.

This format allows the players to have plenty of time before and after each tour (20 days), and allows teams to have six tours per year. Ideally this would be three home and three away tours. Given there are 10 Test teams (assuming that Zimbabwe are taken back into the fold), they would face each other once every 18 months, and in a three-year span would play one home and one away series against each Test nation. Of course, room needs to be made for major tournaments (the World Cups), but as a simple, starting suggestion, there seems no reason why this proposal would not work. If more Test teams enter the ranks, obviously the teams will face off against each other less frequently, but the distribution of games should still be equal.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Angel on (June 30, 2012, 4:08 GMT)

I think your points 3-5 could eaisly be summed up as: better pitches in India. India will struggle to achieve anything much worthwhile or at least long-lasting if your batsmen can't bat on anything that isn't super-flat. The six last Tests India has played abroad has rather conclusively proved that, I believe.

Posted by Bill on (February 9, 2011, 9:45 GMT)

@James

There are actually 6 test playing nations in the northern hemisphere - which is rather more than 1.

Posted by Wim Vonk on (February 8, 2011, 18:00 GMT)

Great idea to have conformity, but it won't fly because of the Ashes. We also have to reduce the number of ODI's like the silly recent one of seven games in Australia. Both teams are now suffering from injuries. But a good idea. We have to get countries like New Zealand and Sri Lanka to play more Tests.

Posted by Julian Dawson on (February 8, 2011, 13:00 GMT)

I agree that a seven match ODI series is an abomination and shouldn't be allowed again. I agree with Strauss that the ODI series should be the tasty appetizer to the main event. Which always happened in the old days. And in fact occurred in 2005. Five match test series should be retained for the best teams. Only in a five match series can the proper rhythms of the game be accommodated and, as we have seen, the best team come out on top.

Posted by James on (February 8, 2011, 12:20 GMT)

Nice idea, but not fully thought out - only one team is loacted in the northern hemisphere. Where do you intend to send the rest in June and July?

Posted by AB on (February 8, 2011, 11:13 GMT)

Simply start everyone off on zero, then have a 4 1/2 year period where everyone plays a 5 test series home and away against everyone else, with 3 points for each series win and 1 for a draw and a further point for test victory and -1 for a loss (so a 5-0 whitewash would be the maximum 8 points, a 5-0 drubbing would be -5 points, and a tied series would be 1 point) followed by the top two teams playing a series of "first to three wins" with the first two matches in the 2nd placed country, and the rest in the 1st placed country.

Then relegate the bottom team, promote the winner of the lower division (where they play 3 test series), and start again.

In terms of ODIs and T20 - the concept of bilateral series should be scrapped altogether, and replcaed with alternating 2 year qualification periods leadinf up to each world cup, in which the test playing nations are split into four and put in groups with associate members.

Posted by Jurie on (February 8, 2011, 11:09 GMT)

I agree there has to be a better way to do this - for instance SA has not toured NZ since 2004, SL since 2006 and SL has not been in SA since 2002! It's ridiculous that it is not more balanced.

Posted by Rohan on (February 8, 2011, 10:55 GMT)

I think that's silly. 3 tests, 3 odi's and 3 t20's??? NOOOOO. It should be more like, 3 tests, 5 odi's, and 1 t20 or no t20. India's recent tour of South Africa was perfect as far as the number of matches were concerned, and they could have probably even done without the T20's. With The IPL around for about a month and a half, cricket fans already get their fill or T20's. Test and ODI's are more important to utilize at the international level.

Posted by Kingp on (February 7, 2011, 23:46 GMT)

Not playing 5 tests is gonna affect the fans and organisers of iconic test series like Ashes. My suggestion is to only count a fixed number of test of the series towards the Championship points table. If teams wish to play long series they still can but be aware only the last 3 tests of the ashes for example would be counted towards the championship.

Posted by Tim Easton on (February 7, 2011, 20:36 GMT)

PS T20I world cup every four years.

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