ICC Test Championship

Test Championship postponement a 'shame' - Greg Chappell

Daniel Brettig

November 24, 2011

Comments: 21 | Text size: A | A

Greg Chappell speaks at the 7th Annual Sir Donald Bradman Oration, Melbourne, November 19, 2009
"It is one thing to have a ranking system, but to have a final set-up would be good for Test cricket." © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Greg Chappell | Ryan Harris
Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of South Africa
Teams: Australia

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 ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (November 25, 2011, 11:39 GMT)

need to start the test championship before people and the sponsors loose interest in test,,,

Posted by   on (November 25, 2011, 3:55 GMT)

If BCCI is opposing it, then we just need to get Sachin to say he likes the idea and then we will have the championship next year!

Posted by   on (November 25, 2011, 2:25 GMT)

@BryceMcGainWarne - You need to learn to read, he said "two OF the best", not 'the two best'...

Posted by Raju_Iyer on (November 25, 2011, 1:54 GMT)

I find this entire discussion a little silly - if you are really good, you don't need multiple opportunities to prove it, you should be able to produce your peak performance at any given opportunity. When you go for a job interview do you ask or get another round if you lose out on the first round?By this logic World Cups should have a best of 3 finals etc. Test Series have always been played between nations at home and away and a team which keeps winning over a long periiod of time is considered "de facto" No. 1 (eg. Australia's record of 16 victories at a stretch etc.)

Posted by Sportsscientist on (November 25, 2011, 1:45 GMT)

I am not dissapointed that the test championship was delayed....i'd rather they work out a valid format then rush it. but I feel for Kallis & Co. their greedy boards playing 2 tests to squeeze in ODI's & T20's for profit. i still think you can run a test chamionship on a 2 teir system, 3 test per series and cut out the T20's & ODI's right down for that calendar year to get the matches in. you then have 3/4 years to play all the IPL CLT20 and ODI's you need

Posted by SpadeaSpade on (November 25, 2011, 0:36 GMT)

The test Championship is a great concept , spacing it over a 4 year period is perfect it will allow all test teams to play home and away series which will test all sides in all conditions. How you select the grounds to use in the finals would be interesting though maybe the final 2 teams would play a best of three series (Home / AWAY / Neutral) Test cricket is the pinnacle of the sport for a player no doubt, because it really tests all facets of your game and builds your character. 20/20 cricket is having a flip in the outhouse

Posted by Charindra on (November 24, 2011, 19:57 GMT)

Test cricket has poor crowds at present because of a lack of context. The rankings system can only do so much. A face to face competition would renew interest in the game for sure.

Posted by   on (November 24, 2011, 19:10 GMT)

test championship would be great success and a disastrous failure too it depends upon the program and the implementation of it contributing factors will be the proper management of other forms of game,in various countries due to climatic conditions play cannot undergo in some months so proper care should be taken as a day lost due to bad weather can cause a boring draw and if so how the points are to be awarded a team of members having good cricketing sense of current players and past players can be helpful in deciding it.

Posted by SnowSnake on (November 24, 2011, 14:48 GMT)

I think test championship is not a great idea. The cost will be monumental and spectators will rarely attend an event where at the end of the day they go home without a decision. With ICC rankings put in place, what does test championship mean? Even ODI world cup does not have a lot of meaning these days given ICC rankings. If anything, test championship will expedite the demise of test cricket. Also, what will happen when few tests are draws? It will only add to fan speculation that their team was the best.

Posted by   on (November 24, 2011, 14:04 GMT)

The test championship should be restricted to top 3 teams (not 4). The 2nd and 3rd ranked team should play a knockout followed by final with the top ranked team. Alternatively, it could be a round robin followed by a final. This way it would require only 2 weeks. Night cricket may be more successful.

Posted by ste13 on (November 24, 2011, 13:48 GMT)

I agree that test cricket is the best form of the game to distinguish cricketing skills, more importantly to distinguish good bowlers from average ones. Still, I am a bit ambivalent to the idea of test cricket championship. 1/ There are only 5 teams now that are competitive. 2/ There should be a time to accomodate 20/20 (but I doubt, whether it will be as profitable as it is now in 5-10 years). 3/ Players are too much exploited anyway. To accomodate test championship, I would restrict test series to max 3 games (including Ashes). But league format in two divisions completed over a given period would also be fine. And as said below: the problem with cricket is that pitch often determines result. Remember CLT20 final and Mumbai win on not-so-flat wicket? I am sure that RCB would have won on "so-flat" Bangalore pitch. So was any of these teams really better than the other?

Posted by maddy20 on (November 24, 2011, 13:21 GMT)

At a time where people barely turn up for test matches , be it SA vs Aus, Ind vs WI or Pak vs SL, test championship will be the final nail in test cricket's coffin. First they shoulf re-generate the interest then they should think about something like this. One cannot expect Mr.Chappel to understand this. Can we?

Posted by satish619chandar on (November 24, 2011, 12:54 GMT)

Funny why they mention CLT20 and IPL for inducting a couple of mindless T20's in the tour to rob a test.. Any discussion will not complete without mentioning IPL? First of all, there was no absolute need to fit in such a small tour in the FTP.. They should have picked any time to do it as SA were not playing cricket for since WC..

Posted by BryceMcGain-Warne on (November 24, 2011, 12:25 GMT)

"Two best cricket nations"...In what context would that be then?

I'm fairly sure England would see off both these teams in the arena at this time, I expect a fully fit Indian line up would probably do the same.

If the Proteas cannot secure a (albeit farcically short) series victory against such a poor Australian side then you have to wonder if they ever will.

On a side note the ground was pitifully empty on the ultimate day, what a difference a partisan crowd may have had on the end result...

Posted by   on (November 24, 2011, 12:10 GMT)

Mr.Greg ,Australia would have lost the series if there had been one more...

Posted by Green_and_Gold on (November 24, 2011, 12:07 GMT)

The 2 match series was a good thing for cricket as it has sparked a lot of positive discussions regarding the balance of test cricket in the overall agenda - the series finished with the fans saying that its not enough.

Posted by satish619chandar on (November 24, 2011, 12:00 GMT)

Regarding the test championship, the nations will start to produce the pitches home advantage.. Eng, SA, NZ and Aus will get away preparing bouncy tracks and the pitches in subcontinent will be hailed as under prepared or dangerous to batsmen.. How in the world will you consider a ball which hits the pad as unsafe on e and the one with extra bounce hits the glove or head a safe one? No one can answer this!! And, you ll expect the boards from the sub continent to be quiet and dance to your tunes? Financially, what anuradha_d says is perfect.. Cricket just has 10 nations and it need to run the sport in many nations based on the money generated from those nations only.. It can't afford to be tinkered much in schedule as of now with the media rights pending!!

Posted by Matricfail on (November 24, 2011, 11:08 GMT)

As I see it there is enough test cricket as it is. So I don't know how postponing Test Championship is a shame Mr Chappell? Test championship is a good idea but totally ridiculous in these times. First, think about the poor players who play 25+ ODI's and around 8 tests and stays around half of their year on pitch. Second, who wants to see so many test matches more when there are enough series going on. It happens so very rarely that one open Cricinfo.com and finds that there is no international match going on.. I think its about time the world realizes that this is 21st century not 19th, and in my view 21st century is far more busy than that of previous ones... Cheers.

Posted by   on (November 24, 2011, 10:46 GMT)

Funny Harris wants longer Test series - he's never endured one! LOL! Sorry that was harsh!

Posted by Riderstorm on (November 24, 2011, 10:41 GMT)

Couldn't agree more. Test championship at this time, when quite a few test matches are interesting. Wish there was a way by which ICC was made to listen to hue and cries of players and viewers.

Posted by anuradha_d on (November 24, 2011, 10:38 GMT)

We would all like to have the test chmapionships...but does the FTP calendar permit? What about the money making events that have already been sold?

Who will compensate the cancellation of the sold events to accomodate th test chmapionship?

It is all good to shoot idealistic thoughts in the air...but their economic feasibility must be reveiwed also.

CI before publishing such article should also add a word about the practicality/ economic viability of such a proposal before publishing radical / criticisms


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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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