Test Championship postponed

Graeme Smith disappointed with ICC decision

Firdose Moonda in Johannesburg

November 16, 2011

Comments: 22 | Text size: A | A

Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher are all smiles after wrapping up the series, Pakistan v South Africa, 2nd Test, Lahore, 5th day, October 12, 2007
Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher will probably retire by the time the Test Championship is finally played in 2017 © Getty Images

Graeme Smith, the South Africa Test captain, has expressed his unhappiness over the ICC's announcement that the Test Championship will be held only in 2017 and not in 2013 as originally scheduled.

"It was a bit disappointing to be honest. I felt it wasn't the right decision for cricket," Smith said at the Wanderers ahead of the second Test between South Africa and Australia. Commitments to sponsors and broadcasters have meant the ICC has had to push the event back. The fifty-over Champions Trophy, which would have been replaced by a four-team Test playoff, will now be played in 2013 instead of the Test Championship.

Smith was disappointed that the postponement will mean the likes of him and team-mates Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher may not be able to participate in the event. "The ICC have their reasons but five years is a very long time," he said. "You can skip a generation in five years."

Smith felt the ICC had let the players down by denying them the opportunity to play in a Test competition of this nature. "As cricketers, we always want the ICC to make decisions in the best interests of the game and I don't think they've done that now."

Michael Clarke, the Australia captain, was less perturbed by the change of date, although he also acknowledged that he will likely not be able to play in a 2017 event. "I haven't thought too much about it. I hear a while ago that it was planned for 2015? Or 2013?," Clarke said. "It doesn't really faze me. In 2017, it will be fantastic but at that stage, I think I'll be watching from the couch so it won't bother me much."

Both Clarke and Smith played in the Super Test between Australia and the World XI in October 2005 and Clarke said it was an enjoyable outing that he would like to see repeated. "I thought that was a fantastic experience. I was only a young kid but to have the opportunity to be able to play against so many great players in one opposition team, there's no better way to test yourself," he said. "I think it's certainly got merit. It will be really exciting for the top couple of teams. But it's just about trying to fit [it] into the calendar."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by Sportsscientist on (November 17, 2011, 17:51 GMT)

I understand smith's frustration.....he doesn't want to miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime. with T20 cups/competitions, ODI WC & champions trophy, he may miss the chance to play in the 1st officially organised for test cricket. But I agree with the comments by most of the readers - its better to get the format right !! even if there is one ever 4/5 years. Or else it will be a joke.

Posted by   on (November 17, 2011, 17:19 GMT)

indeed chanderpaul is a legend...

Posted by Guernica on (November 17, 2011, 9:40 GMT)

Well, I wouldn't be so sure that Smith or Clarke will have retired by 2017. They will only be 36 and there are several batsmen playing past that age now. Dale Steyn on the other hand will be 34 which is old for a fast bowler.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (November 17, 2011, 9:07 GMT)

@johnathonjosephs, Personally I think a proper points per series win league system is better non of this weighting used when playing lesser nations, then use the Games won/lost to act as a means of splitting teams on the same points. Even with 5 pts for a seiers win, 2 for a draw and 0 for a loss you would have have better understand of where a team is. Also make it so that only 1 home series and 1 away series against each country counts towards the total in any 1 cycle.

Posted by   on (November 17, 2011, 8:10 GMT)

i agree with smith, test cricket is dying already

Posted by anver777 on (November 17, 2011, 7:13 GMT)

They can organize aged over 40 combined unofficial test match championship for the current players who will be retired in 2017, instead of an official one,......the calibre of Tendulkar, Dravid, Sanga, Mahela, Smith, Kallis, Boucher, VVS, Ponting, Chanderpaul, Ganguly, Sanath, to name a few should be there in so called test championship.

Posted by anver777 on (November 17, 2011, 5:50 GMT)

Not only SA players, most of the other international players will also miss this test championship.......

Posted by mus_tard on (November 17, 2011, 4:24 GMT)

its amazing 2 c dat evry person who mentions the legends that wont be here in 2017 doz not mention CHANDERPAUL!!! he must be mentioned among those names

Posted by Saim93 on (November 17, 2011, 3:31 GMT)

I'll be 24 by then although Clarke and Smith will only be 36 by then i dont why they wont be playing in that tournament!

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (November 17, 2011, 1:38 GMT)

There are too many problems with a Test championship. The most important problem is that too many countries are playing many tours while some are not playing enough. The countries of India, England, Australia, and West Indies have been playing quite a lot of Test cricket in the recent past while countries like New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bangladesh (yes, even though Bangladesh has many tours, each tour has only 1-2 Tests each). If Test Championships are to be fair and successful, either the ICC must put a cap on the number of Tests a team can play per year or it must take over the entire Test Schedule and itself make a fair tour schedule of when what country will tour the other (and make it equal for everybody). It is not fair that in a year that England plays 20 tests, Sri Lanka only plays 7 and if I recall correctly, a team does not LOSE points for losing/drawing a test match. Thus, whoever plays the most has the better chance of having more points.

Posted by 123abcnishat on (November 16, 2011, 21:04 GMT)

test champion ship is totally useless better have a t20 cup or somethin like it ...............................:)

Posted by   on (November 16, 2011, 19:02 GMT)

It's a Pity that players like Dravid, sachin, laxman, kallis, smith, Boucher, sangakkara, jaywardene etc. wont be able to play test championship. Who wants to watch a bunch of adulterated t20 generation contesting for test championship?? Shame on ICC AND ESPN who think that a stupid odi tournament is more important than test hampionship. Test championship should actually have been started way back. May be 10-15 yrs ago and instead they are delaying it.

Posted by John-Price on (November 16, 2011, 18:42 GMT)

What Test matches need to re-establish their pre-eminent place in the cricketing world is not a facile knock-out competition but regular 5-match series between the top teams.

Posted by spence1324 on (November 16, 2011, 18:04 GMT)

Funny how Michael clarke was 'less perturbed,' probley because he knows Australia would not even qualify!

Posted by Srini_Chennai on (November 16, 2011, 17:16 GMT)

But how can it go ahead in 2013 when it's clear Australia won't win it after 21/9?

Posted by   on (November 16, 2011, 17:12 GMT)

these legends r really ambasdor of the games......they must play cricket championship...for promotion nd betterment of game..!!

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (November 16, 2011, 17:00 GMT)

it would be good if other Test captains added their support to championship, and a few other major players. Some things have happen;this is one.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2011, 15:09 GMT)

@Yevghenny Actual LOL @Nikhil Sharma I do hope that's tongue in cheek

Posted by Robster1 on (November 16, 2011, 15:09 GMT)

@Yvghenny - too true and how sad.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2011, 14:32 GMT)

5 years means no tendulkar,dravid,laxman,kallis..ponting,sangakkara, jayawardane..nd many more legends.........iits nt a good step..!!

Posted by Yevghenny on (November 16, 2011, 13:45 GMT)

But how can it go ahead in 2013 when it's clear India won't win it?

Posted by crikbuff on (November 16, 2011, 13:41 GMT)

Fully agree with Smith. ICC has forgotten that Test Cricket should be first priority. Apparently, there is lots of time for IPL and CLT20, but no time for the Test Championship. What a pity!

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