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November 24, 2011
Greg Chappell has called for the swiftest possible introduction of a Test Championship to aid the health of the game's longest form. Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, has said the postponement of the event from 2013 to 2017 was "not the right decision for cricket", and Chappell argued staunchly for its benefits.
"I like the concept, I'm sorry that it has been postponed because I think it is a fabulous concept and one which I would endorse and I think Test cricket would benefit from it," Chappell told ESPNcricinfo after launching his autobiography Fierce Focus. "It is a shame it isn't going ahead, the sooner it can happen the better, as far as I'm concerned.
"It is one thing to have a ranking system, but to have a final set-up would be good for Test cricket. It elevates the brand of Test cricket and that can't be a bad thing. I just think to have a finals series like that every four years would just heighten the interest and also make each series also meaning something extra as well.
"Australia can play England in the Ashes, but if you know that the series also could be the difference between qualifying for the finals series and not would add a bit to it."
Meanwhile Ryan Harris, the Australia fast bowler, has decried the proliferation of unsatisfying two-Test match series as "pointless", and stressed the game's governors needed to get their priorities right.
Australia's series in South Africa produced some startling cricket, but was over too swiftly as only two matches could be played due to the inclusion of Twenty20 competitions, namely the Champions League, into the schedule. New Zealand have arrived in Australia for another series of only two matches in December. Harris added his name to the likes of Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith, each critical of scheduling decisions, including the shelving of the Test Championship until 2017, as hurtful to the game.
"Two-Test series, personally in my point of view, are pointless," Harris told AAP. "If it's 1-1 at the end of the series you walk away with an empty feeling. Three-Test series have to be a minimum, if not more. It's crucial. I'm not sure how they do it with the amount of cricket there is - cut-backs from Twenty20 - but Test cricket is the one.
"I'm not knocking Twenty20, it's great for the game, but you have to get your priorities right. Jacques Kallis made the perfect point that if it's going to cut series between South Africa and the big nations he doesn't want to be a part of T20 stuff because he wants Test cricket to keep going as it is.
"I'm exactly the same way. It's hard because of timing. Champions League takes up a lot of time and IPL takes up a lot. [But] for two of the best Test cricket nations not being able to play a three-Test series is very disappointing. It was terrible."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Daniel Brettig
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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