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World Test Championship 'in doubt'

George Dobell

December 19, 2013

Comments: 103 | Text size: A | A

Mitchell Johnson dismissed James Anderson to finish England off, Australia v England, Test, Perth, 5th day, December 17, 2013
England's defeat in Australia could threaten their top-four Test status © Getty Images
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The future of the World Test Championship has been thrown into doubt after it emerged that broadcasters and sponsors still hold grave reservations over the value of the event and the various parties organising it have failed to reach any agreement over the format.

The inaugural Test Championship, which the ICC hopes will become the showpiece event in the Test schedule, is due to be staged in the UK in 2017. But, with only four teams due to compete - the top four in the Test rankings as of December 31, 2016 - doubts remain over its global appeal.

The key concern of the sponsors and broadcasters is the identities of the competing teams. If any of the major draws cards - especially India or England - should fail to qualify, the attraction and value of the event would fall markedly. England's rapid descent in the world rankings has rendered this a real danger and could also result in some of the games being played in less-than-full stadiums.

The ICC's current broadcast deal ends in 2015. The last deal, agreed with ESPN Star Sports* in 2006, was worth around $1.1 billion and helped fund a huge increase in funding for Associate and Affiliate nations. Any decrease in the value of the next deal, a genuine possibility bearing in mind broadcasters' lukewarm response to the World Test Championship, will have serious consequences for the game at every level in most parts of the world.

Little progress has been made with the practicalities of the event, either. While a simple option would see the event consist of nothing more than two semi-finals and a final, there are doubts over what happens in the event of poor weather - hardly an unlikely event in the UK - and whether such a format provides enough cricket to capture the imagination of spectators and the interest of sponsors.

Any other format - such as round-robin - threatens to become too long, with at least three days rest required between games to ensure any sort of veracity in the event. The fact that day-night Test cricket remains an unrealised dream - and, in England at least, may always do so - also compromises the ability to reach a global audience.

As a result, the ICC is under increasing pressure to rethink its commitment to the Championship.

The World Test Championship was originally scheduled to be held for the first time in 2013, but was postponed due to the reservations of broadcasters. The ICC had hoped it would replace the Champions Trophy but was unable to reach an agreement and the 50-over tournament was staged in the UK, with some success, instead. It was subsequently confirmed that the Champions Trophy would not be played again.

While the ICC remains committed to hosting one showpiece event for each format of the game - World Twenty20, World Cup and Test Championship - the fact is that the Champions Trophy was popular with broadcasters, spectators and sponsors. Its revival cannot be ruled out.

*ESPN STAR Sports was a 50:50 joint venture between Walt Disney (ESPN, Inc.), the parent company of ESPNcricinfo, and News Corporation Limited (STAR)

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (January 18, 2014, 11:43 GMT)

Maybe England, Australia, India and South Africa (if they behave) should play eacother all the time, and the game can be left to die in the rest of the world! Hang on I think somebody's already thought of that!!!

Posted by Sportsscientist on (December 24, 2013, 23:05 GMT)

How can anyone say a test championship won't work?? It's the toughest format - & never had a proper context. What about bradman's invincibles?? Len Hutton's ENG with Trueman/Statham, The 70's Aussies side with the Chappell's, & Lillee/Thommo, Clive Lloyd's Windies of the 80's??? All their achievements undocumented. It was immoral that the ICC sat back without ever creating a "test championship" format relying on 50ov WC & now WT20. Imagine Pele's Brazil being undefeated after playing endless "friendly" fixtures?? Muhammed Ali fighting numerous exhibition bouts...with no heavyweight title fight?? Ok....enough ranting. A test championship & FTP aren't feasible, with fixs getting congested. The problem is fitting it all in. Some good idea's being suggested. I think 2 divisions of 6 teams incl. IRE & AFG, is the best idea - maybe scrap the FTP? Two 6 team tournaments over 6 months/1 yr? with promotion/relegation? Played once every 4yrs? with room for the ASHES over the other 3 yrs.

Posted by Desihungama on (December 21, 2013, 14:19 GMT)

@Stuart Lowe- Right while the top 4 shine the rest will make hay. And what happens to FTP considering the top 4 are busy somewhere for 45 days? Oh wait! Now, they we are busy again for 45 days IPL. Wait, now there is another league. I am sorry but a true championship is played amongst all and one comes on top.

Posted by heavy_cav_1066 on (December 21, 2013, 5:27 GMT)

the top six ranked teams can play the tournament.. a round-robin format with two pools of three teams each. one match from each pool to be held concurrently, telecast on two channels just as world cups are. points could be awarded for first innings runs, wickets and getting the first innings lead, with a large bonus for outright wins. the final between the top teams from the two pools could be a six day or even a timeless test match.

Posted by JoshFromJamRock on (December 20, 2013, 16:44 GMT)

Having Australia, England, South Africa, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka playing would be ideal for the official tournament. The teams should play four-day test matches in the round robin format. Matches start on Thursday and ends on Sunday. Four days encourage aggressive batting and captaincy for results. Friday afternoons and the weekends would attract the majority of support. If one match (16 in total) is played per weekend, then the tournament would take 4 months. If 2 per weekend, 2 months and if 3 per weekend, 5 weeks that could be placed in the summer of the host country. After five rounds the top two teams should play and the rankings be adjusted accordingly.

West Indies, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Ireland should play in a division 2 Championship that doesn't necessarily have to be broadcasted. The winner of this tournament should play the last placed team from Division 1 in a bilateral series to try and win to qualify for the next tournament.

Posted by Batmanian on (December 20, 2013, 12:31 GMT)

Just play the ┬┤holder┬┤ versus the highest ranked other team, annually. Make it a single, six-day Test at home for the holder. If the holder can draw that, they still hold the title. Good little event.

Posted by KapilsDevils1983 on (December 20, 2013, 11:35 GMT)

@Mohammad Ahmad - Spot on mate. Could not have said it better!

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (December 20, 2013, 11:17 GMT)

The Ashes IS already the test championship, why do we need a second one that doesn't make sense?

Posted by malepas on (December 20, 2013, 10:04 GMT)

This is typical hypocrisy of financially big cricket nations basically saying if we are not in it, it wouldn't happened. We can assume that England and India knows thay are on downward slide so lets not have it all and put it down on sponsors and TV companies, what a load of rubbish this is, I think the best option is to extend the competition to top 6 nations and have a 110 overs per innings matches and play 5 matches with each other as round table and then the final for 2 top teams, this will involve more nations, more interest and will keep everybody happy.

Posted by Bangla_Low_team on (December 20, 2013, 10:01 GMT)

Not surprised. Cricket is a pathetic unpopular sport played by only 10 countries of more than 200. Half these full members are third world countries hence less profitable.

Very poor crowd attendance in Cricket. Just look at the current series between NZ-West and even the top 2 clash SA-IND lol hardly any crowd so what makes you think in England these 2 teams can attract any crowd?

Fact is nobody likes Cricket. The game is too long and boring. Too many same repeated matches like the Ashes. Yawn.

Sorry if I hurt anyone's feeling but that's the truth. I will now post this to forums, youtube, facebook etc to spread the message.

Posted by VisBal on (December 20, 2013, 9:58 GMT)

Many commenters seem to worry about the situation with draws, and that is admittedly a worry when we get to a knock-out format. One option could be to have reserve days. That may muck up scheduling a bit. The other option would take longer: play round robins. In any case, the final would need to be a knock out (unless we want to get into best-of-three scenarios). So, definitely, the final would need to be a timeless Test.

So the question again: how do you deal with draws in a knockout tournament? First innings lead? Runs per wicket (averaged over the match)? Previous ranking? Not sure. They all make sense, but none of them seems good enough. Especially if significant time is lost to rain. IMO, seeding should determine the winner, simply because it introduces bias in the way the match result is determined; a team with higher rank can choose to play out the draw knowing full well they will go through. Any metric should be based on data from the same match.

Posted by DcricStats on (December 20, 2013, 9:53 GMT)

Here is the clear view of previous post

Group A teams with rank: 1,8,3,6 Group B teams with rank: 2,7,4,5

Total No of group match Days: 11 Match1 team 1vs8: from days 1 to 5 Match2 team 2vs7: starts from days 3 to 7 Match3 team 3vs6: starts from days 5 to 9 Match4 team 4vs5: starts from days 7 to 11

Rest: 1day

Total days: 8 Semi 1 (m1vsM2): from days 13 to 18 Semi 2 (m3vsm4): starts from days 17 to 21

Rest: 2days

so each team gets needed rest and also sponsors can plan accordingly

Final: starts from days 23 to 27

Total tournament days: 27 days Total venues : 6 or 7 stadiums

Match wahed out then better team with rank or last 5 match played or current match strategy advances in.

Posted by VisBal on (December 20, 2013, 9:09 GMT)

A Test Championship (once in 4 years) is not only possible, but also beneficial. To be a true Championship, it should include as many teams as possible, but with a twist. There are currently 10 Test Teams. So, we put the bottom 4 Test teams and top 6 Associate teams as on some cut-off date in a qualifier tournament that happens well in advance to pick the top 2 teams. The top 6 Test teams are directly seeded into the main tourney. With 8 teams, we can have a knock-out tournament at a pre-determined location on pre-determined dates (similar to the bidding for the F50 WC). The final is to be a timeless Test (to ensure there is a winner).

Posted by   on (December 20, 2013, 8:30 GMT)

All I hope is that it actually happens. What it needs is more streaming available, and better cooling technology for the stadium. It might also need some more entertainment, like what Cricinfo does in Match Point. It needs more of those. Probably, what could make it more fun is that if each innings have a limit on how many over it can bowl. Like say 135 overs for the first innings. This will make sure that in 270 overs both sides together has completed the first part. Then the second innings can be 90 overs. In case the team gets out before 90 overs or 135 overs, then the other team gets the amount of overs left. So say Team A played for 75 overs and got out, Team B gets to bat 15 more overs, since they got out. This will lead to more fun and, Team B has 105 overs. This is how Test Cricket needs to be in order for more audience, and of course this means that we have lost the basic cricket we had played. But there should not be any fielding restrictions. Cricket fans should get why am

Posted by   on (December 20, 2013, 8:22 GMT)

The Test Championship should be introduced. The incentive would allow teams to play tests with more vigour and thus result in higher totals, better runrates or even more wickets falling. It would be something different.

Posted by jonesy2 on (December 20, 2013, 7:25 GMT)

PrasPunter-- absolutely, gabba easily the best pitch in the world and all other pitches should try to emulate it. WACA and wanders after that and then probably capetown and centurion then SCG. if a test championship was played here in Aus I can guarantee full houses. cant speak for south Africa because based on their crowds recently they might not always get great numbers

Posted by DcricStats on (December 20, 2013, 7:22 GMT)

Group A Group B

1 2 8 7

3 4 6 5

Total Days: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11 Match1 D: 1 2 3 4 5 Match2 D: 1 2 3 4 5 Match3 D: 1 2 3 4 5 Match4 D: 1 2 3 4 5

Rest: 1 day

Total days: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Semi 1 D: 1 2 3 4 5 (winner M1vsM2) Semi 2 D: 1 2 3 4 5 (winner M3vsM4)

Rest: 2 days

Final D: 1 2 3 4 5

Total tournament days: 27 days

If Match wahed out, then better team with rank or last 5 match between played or current match strategy, team advances in.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2013, 6:52 GMT)

I think we all just worry too much about our favourite sport.The sport of cricket is designed and tailormade to be interesting when two evenly matched teams take on each other.When in full flow there is hardly any sport that can challenge cricket in terms of quality .Yes I accept that less people turn up to test matches , but this is nothing new it's been happening since the 90's but to say that the fan's interest have dropped in the longer format is a complete farce.If that had been the case sites like cricinfo would hav gone bust.Less attendances have been due to busier lifestyle but people have not stopped following the longer game.Cricket for one is the sport that has maxed out the possibilities through television.The sport needs multiple angles, stats, technolology, replays, commercial breaks to name a few.Perhaps cricket is the most well broadcasted sport. The sport of cricket thrives on its class, quality,tradition and we should never let that go.

Posted by AB-50 on (December 20, 2013, 6:36 GMT)

The idea of World Test Championship is not very appealing.Apart from poor attendance in the grounds,mass TV viewership is also seriously doubtful.Only 4 top teams,competiting in the championship,is another dampner.Many times, lower ranked teams like Pakistan are capable of causing upsets,so restricting them will not be doing full justice.As it is Cricket is played by only a handful of countries.In the event a particular team(out of the 4) becomes Champion,and then goes on to lose a series to a non-participating country,its value as a World Test Champion could well be questionable. Then,although,due to the advent of T20 & ODIs,the standard of competitiveness in Tests has improved by leaps & bounds & most Tests end up in a decisive result,chances of draws due to bad weather etc.,can't be ruled out altogether,like the author has apprehended. Therefore,according to me,the present ICC rankings are much fairer & just and should be continued to mark the hierarchy.

Posted by Shehan_W on (December 20, 2013, 6:33 GMT)

Good old test cricket is not made for the world championships. Cricket admins should understand that the 50 over world cup is good enough to decide the world champion in the sport. A sport which has only 10 major participants have more world-championship formats than other popular sports makes the game ridiculous to the out side world.

Posted by Little_Aussie_Battler on (December 20, 2013, 6:01 GMT)

There should just be a top six test match nations playing both home and away series against the other 5 teams. The new format being suggested is too foreign to what is traditional to cricket

The top team in points after the 4 years is crowned champion cricket nation of the world.

The top six nations can still play the other nations outside the top 6. The main issue is the top 6 all playing each other home and away in test series over 4 seasons.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2013, 5:48 GMT)

Hi All.. ICC could use this knock out schedule

1.Top 8 teams qualify and top 4 ranked teams takes on other 4 in their own backyard, so that crowd support there. 2.the winners qualify for semis. 3.semis too could be played on home ground of top 2 ranked teams out of the 4 selected. 4.final at may be a neutral or at the top ranked side out of the final two qualified from semis.

tournament at the max could run for a month. so not a prob here i guess with this.

Posted by BrisVegan on (December 20, 2013, 5:21 GMT)

@Anantraman Suryanarayanan - Test cricket unpopular? Dragging? I hope you were being sarcastic.

Test cricket is alive and well. The Ashes, anyone? South Africa? India (at home - haha!)? The prospect of Ireland or Afghanistan entering the Test arena in future? I for one would not want to miss any of that.

Posted by S.M.Salik on (December 20, 2013, 5:18 GMT)

@ Cricinfo please Let ICC go through these comments, so that they may find some real suggestions for the event to be hosted/existed in reality. As far as Test Champion ship is concerned, According to me the idea is good but the host nation should not be one it should be spread throughout all qualifiers Giving equl oppurtunity to Play At least one Test at Home and this will eliminate the chances of having home advantage to any One team only!

Posted by BrisVegan on (December 20, 2013, 5:10 GMT)

We already have Test rankings - I don't see a need for a World Test Championship to be honest. Why introduce yet more cricket into the calendar? The #1 Test Ranking team is the champion. Easy.

The ONLY thing that needs to change is that EVERY Test team needs a FAIR schedule of opponents and matches played within a given time frame - that way, every team is on equal footing and bias is removed from the Test Rankings.

The World Test Championship is an attempt to "paper over the cracks" of the currently inadequate Test ranking system and is not required if the root of the problem were fixed. In my humble opinion, of course.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2013, 3:39 GMT)

To accommodate a championship I think we should abandon test series altogether and play one-off Tests in a league. Can somebody please tell me why leagues are good enough for domestic first class cricket but not for international first class cricket ie Tests?

Posted by   on (December 20, 2013, 3:10 GMT)

Let me take this opportunity to make a suggestion to the ICC: Let us seriously think about doing away with dragging and unpopular Test Cricket. Instead: Let us have Twenty Twenty Let us have Fifty Fifty - One day matches Let us have Hundred Hundred - two innings each of 100 overs spread over 4 days This will definitely revive the interest in Test Cricket. We may call the Hundred Hundred as Test matches, if needed. Otherwise, Test Cricket will die a natural death. As it is, we find hardly any attendance in the galleries for Test Matches. They are merely played for Record; nothing else.

Posted by rajkirp on (December 20, 2013, 2:53 GMT)

The expectation in a championship is 1 all teams to play the championship at one location 2. have knock out matches - semi final and final Time factor, poor spectator attendance will render this format not acceptable for Test cricket championship. My suggestion is: 1. Each of the 9 test playing countries plays each another in a home and away series in a period of 4 years. 2. A minimum of 3 tests to be played in every series. That is, 6 tests between two countries - 3 at home and 3 away. 3. A good point system can be evolved for awarding points per match. 4. For countries playing more than 3 tests in a series, only the last 3 tests will be used for computing points - to bring in equality in the number of matches being played amongst all test playing nations. A total of 216 matches in 4 years for all the countries - 54 a year. A full calendar and same for all test playing countries. At the end of the 4th year, the champion will be the one at the top of points table

Posted by sifter132 on (December 20, 2013, 2:49 GMT)

Depends on the inter-testicular fortitude of the ICC. If they REALLY want a Test Championship, they will hold it REGARDLESS of broadcaster interesting/advertising dollar. If it was just another way to grab money, then they will fold and cave like usual.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2013, 2:39 GMT)

why not habe a test world cup played all over the world, over a few months so that all teams are playing at the same time and viewers van watch the match they want to watch. like this all conditions come in to play and the winners will be the best team.

Posted by anupkeni on (December 20, 2013, 1:56 GMT)

Most test teams play very well at home, but often struggle overseas. There is often undue home advantage.Take the example the last two India-Australia series. When India toured Australia, they were beaten 4-0. When Australia toured India, they were beaten 4-0 as well. Even in the Ashes series, When Australia toured England, they lost 3-0, although a couple of test matches could have gone the other way. And now, when England toured Australia, the Aussies are already 3-0 up after 3 test matches. Most teams, barring South Africa are pretty poor while playing overseas. Hence it would not be a bad idea to have a neutral test series. For starters, India and Australia can play a test series in England. Then Australia and England can play a test series in India. And finally India and England can play a test series in Australia. By playing a neutral test series, the home advantage can be negated. But for that to happen the ICC, BCCI, ECB, CA all have to agree.

Posted by KP_84 on (December 20, 2013, 1:35 GMT)

My recommendations:

- increase no. of teams from 4 to 6

- finals structure: qualifying final 1: 3rd vs. 6th qualifying final 2: 4th vs. 5th semi-final 1: 1st vs. (winner of qualifying final 2) semi-final 2: 2nd vs. (winner of qualifying final 1) final: (winner of semi-final 1) vs. (winner of semi-final 2)

- in the event of a draw or tie, the team ranked higher on December 31, 2016 progresses (or in the case of the final, are declared champions)

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 20, 2013, 1:29 GMT)

Why bother? We all know South Africa is the undisputed number 1

Posted by Vijendran on (December 20, 2013, 1:18 GMT)

Well if it is impractical/too expensive/not enough profit etc etc, then still have the Championship, but as a first past the post system- like in European football. Pretty much the same ranking system as today, maybe a bit simpler for fans, make sure everyone plays each other home and away and then declare a winner at the end of the 'season' which would be over the 3-4 years.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2013, 0:37 GMT)

You cannot base the final four of the potential test championship, on that faulty ranking system. That ranking system has always been a illegitimate way to judge who the best teams in the world is.

All they have to do is let the top 4 teams with the most series wins, after playing home/away in no less that 3 test series before 2017 - qualify for the semi's & finals.

But then again ICC is such a joke governing body, i don't blame the broadcasters for having suspicions over the if the test championship could work. Very bad news this - test cricket needs this competition...

Posted by SNIFFLEATHER on (December 20, 2013, 0:33 GMT)

The only TRUE form of the game has never needed a test championship - and it doesn't need one now. The overdose of junk format cricket is the problem.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2013, 0:26 GMT)

At the current moment Test Cricket, in my view, perhaps doesn't seem a lucrative option for broadcasters etc. because of the way events are structured. It's all about touring sides visiting and playing a series of 2 - 5 test matches in the season, more if you're Australia, India or England and less for everybody else. This doesn't help the international appeal of Test Cricket as the rankings are biased towards the teams that play more. If the rankings are to be more reflective of test teams on the world stage, all 8 test playing nations need to be involved. A possible suggestion could be that all 8 teams play 4 tests per season against 4 different opposition, two at home and two away. In two seasons every team will have played each other once. Then the top 2 sides with the most wins in the 8 matches will meet at the end of the 2nd season and play a one off test match, with reserve days to make up for time if rain intervenes, and ensure a result, the winner crowned Test World Champion!

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 22:53 GMT)

Have a 3 stage wc quarter finals semi finals and final

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 22:01 GMT)

The test championship is a ridiculous idea. Cricket is different from other sports and should not try to emulate a league structure. Everyone who likes cricket would agree that a 2 test series is too short. How many games would they want in a league with 4 teams?! The ICC can do better by factoring the rankings when it plans future tours.

Posted by Rahim_A on (December 19, 2013, 21:16 GMT)

I guess the problem is that in 4 years time it is hard to judge who the top four nations are, and if England, Australia and in particular India are not involved then the interest will be minimal. Also, a multi national tournament like this would only succeed in England (that's my opinion), and I believe that if the tournament is held in another country then the games not involving the home nations would be devoid of cricket fans.

A good idea but it just wouldn't work - why not do something like the Women's Ashes this summer where each game is important and points are awarded, all nations must also play the same number of games and at the end of this qualifying period the top 4 teams play

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (December 19, 2013, 21:14 GMT)

The Test Championship is a great idea if played at the right grounds. But I already fear the dead hand of the ICC in it. It is indeed icey. One day they will get it right maybe.For now though they remain with me at least a discredited and discreditable supfluity.

Posted by P.BIPULKUMAR on (December 19, 2013, 20:13 GMT)

Cricket is game of glorious uncertainty but it looks like certainty that test world cup will not be held in 50 years if ICC try for a knock-out tournament . I think a true test championship should be in line with Davis Cup in Lawan Tennis . Total 10 test teams should play twice ( home n away )each other in time-frame ( from now to feb 2017 ie 4 years ). Such a way every team have to play 18 tests in four years . all teams will have equal chance to win it . An approximate schedule weeks of all 90 test matches , It will continue simultneously with ICC`s FTP . If FTP coincidence with the circle , the First match of the tour will count as one of the 90 mts n that series will be of 3 mts . The point system will be in line with Ranji trophy / county /sunfoil /shefield series . Team will gain maximum number of points in that 18 tests will be called Test champions of the time-frame such as 2013-17 , 2017-21, 2021-25 etc . This the only way to have a world championship for the TESTS .

Posted by Sigismund on (December 19, 2013, 20:06 GMT)

Test match cricket is not like other sports; people who like it follow the world game, but reserve a particular enthusiasm for their home nation's team. How typical that, as usual, the money men running the game should utterly miss the point. They are worried that they will only make an awful lot of money out of this event, rather than an utter shed-load. Cricket wins again. On the cricket front, of course there are reasons to be sceptical about the format of the event. But it should be thought of as a chance to add some extra glory and satisfaction for those teams who have performed best in recent years, their fans, and Test cricket at large; not as some sort of stunted world cup to prove who is best. It would be quite easy to devise a fair enough formula to decide who had the better of a draw; it would add an incentive but not an imperative to go for the win. Two 5-day play-offs followed by a timeless (or at least 6-day) final would be brilliant. Cricket matters more than greed.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 19:28 GMT)

Instead of playing test championship in one country, ICC should try 3 test matches on home and away bases for all the top 7 test playing nations.so who ever wins more points, will advance to the next level.Just like champions leauge football ! If you are concerned about sponsers for test cricket then forget it ! just host it for the beauty of CRICKET !

Posted by t20cric on (December 19, 2013, 19:28 GMT)

I'm not sure how the "world" test championship is supposed to work. In order for a team to qualify they must be in the top 4 in rankings but all teams don't play equal number of matches. India, England & Australia play much more test then the rest of the teams. So their rankings will fluctuate a lot causing them to either move up the rankings quick if they only dominate 1 team, or it could cause them to drop from the rankings if they are dominated by a certain team. This way some teams may never get to play in the world test championship. To fix this ICC must either force every team to play equal number of tests & face every team equal amount of times (to make sure top 4 are right) or have all test teams compete (there is only 10 anyways). If its done any other way then the championship may not be fair. Also what happens to draws? Will it be that wins give 2 points to the winning team & draws/ties/rained out match gives 1 point to each team?

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 19:26 GMT)

The championship should be allowed to continue as this will provide an opportunity for the top test teams to show their skill set to the cricketing world. If not the top four teams then the best of three for the top two test playing nations. This in my opinion would only add value to test cricket and interests regained as teams now have something to work towards, the legacy of test cricket must be made to continue

Posted by sweetspot on (December 19, 2013, 19:16 GMT)

Finally the truth comes home!

If the ICC had made the game more popular, it would have had more nations taking part. Unfortunately Test cricket never did that. To put together a grand event in a format that not many even know, is less fun than the other better commercialized formats, and to expect it to be feasible is just ridiculous.

Then there is always the possibility of a draw. How is the winner going to be decided then? Whatever method is chosen, it will defeat the purpose of a "Test" match. Besides, conditions are a big part of Test cricket. How can more than one match up happen in various conditions? Or can the same conditions be maintained for all match ups? If yes, what are those conditions?

Glad this is going downhill for the most obvious reason - financial impracticality. Or else, the arrogance of this notion would have continued to find traction.

Posted by inzisaloos on (December 19, 2013, 19:03 GMT)

Many sticking points can be sorted out easily. Why not have the 8 top ranked teams playing each other: 1 plays 8, 2 plays 7, 3 plays 6 and 4 plays 5, with semi's and final to follow. The initial games could be played simultaneously, thus ensuring that the tournament does not drag on for too long. This format would ensure that the tournament is a more true reflection of a world test championship and it would also ensure that all the major countries (including any that slip out of the top 4 in the rankings) would participate. It would get the broadcasters on board and would ensure worldwide interest for fans. Also, it would mean that a team would need to win three games to be crowned champions, thereby lending the tournament more gravitas. This addresses many of the reservations about holding the tournament. The only one that can never be brought under control is the weather. However, staging the event in a place like the UAE would at least give it more chance of being dry than the UK!

Posted by John-Price on (December 19, 2013, 18:48 GMT)

Test cricket is unsuitable for a knock-out format as draws are an essential part of the game. If draws cease to be draws because there is some form of tie-breaking mechanism (such as run rates), then the whole dynamic of the games changes. Best to forget all about the silly idea.

Posted by Gareth_Bain on (December 19, 2013, 18:42 GMT)

Viru's post is essence what I'd like to see. Except I'd like to have a 2nd division with teams 9-16 (playing each other home OR away, half the # of games) and promotion/relegation after each cycle. If WI/NZ end up relegated, so be it.

Posted by wapuser on (December 19, 2013, 18:39 GMT)

Has anyone ever thought about what sells? In sport, uncertainty of outcome and a structured competition sells. That's why all the world cup or even ipl events generate more money than bilateral events (even Indian series). Get with the times ICC and figure out a way to hold the event. Reform the stupid future tours program if u have to. Take a chance. If you build it, they will come (broadcasters).

Posted by AamirKhan-SuperStar on (December 19, 2013, 18:35 GMT)

Once upon a time the ICC had come up with icon series idea in which series involving certain teams were supposed to have 3 tests or 5 tests etc compulsory in a series. For eg Eng vs Aus was an icon series with 5 tests compulsory, Eng vs SA had 5 tests as well as Ind vs Aus. This plan never materialised however it feels like need of the hour. Look at Ind vs SA, such big teams but playing only a 2 test series. ICC should not leave it in any Board's hands when it comes to tests.

Posted by diehardINDIANcricketfan on (December 19, 2013, 18:30 GMT)

The class will always remain class. I would rather see india and sa playing on a NEUTRAL ground for five days then a t20 or odi for single day in home conditions. this will surely bring up the best among teams. And for sponsors If i had that amount of money i would have never thought twice before investing. This is cricket and money is the third name of this game. Second is passion

Posted by viru-319-219 on (December 19, 2013, 18:25 GMT)

The best way to have a WORLD TEST CHAMPIONSHIP is to design the test schedules of each test playing nation in such a way that they play equal number of tests over a period of 4 years with every test team playing a series of 3 tests with every other test playing nation both at home and away from home. So 6 tests between two teams over 4 years of time and with 8 test playing nations there will be 42 tests played by each team in these 4 years and which is 10 tests every year and that is the average number of tests that should be played every year by every team(easily possible). At the end of every 4 year season there should be a match for championship between top 2 teams in the table over 4 years of time. There should be point system as in 50 over worldcup with each win,draw against minnow giving same points that a win or draw against top side gives. This will make the points table contest even as every team plays equal number of tests against all the oppositions at home and away.

Posted by drnaveed on (December 19, 2013, 17:55 GMT)

continued from my previous post ... they ( icc test championship ) should be played on neutral grounds , lets say U.A.E., so that home advantage will not be with any of the team participating in it . test cricket , has its own charm, it should not be replaced by any other format.

Posted by drnaveed on (December 19, 2013, 17:24 GMT)

well, honestly "ICC TEST CHAMPIONSHIP" will not be able to get attention and support of the test cricket lover fans all over the world , unless and untill , it involves all the top 8 ranked sides in the world, so that each test playing test side fans will have a interest in the competition,supporting their test side. But , for that to happen , the competition will be too lengthy to handle , and it will also be a bit boring in the initial stages. so , i think ,the ICC should continue with the same format they are using at present , give ICC TEST CHAMPIONSHIP AWARD , to the top ranked side , every 2 or 3 or 4 years, the duration to be decided by them.

Posted by Raynman on (December 19, 2013, 17:19 GMT)

ICC should opear championship schedule only. Ashes or any other specialty series/schedule consisting of anything more will be up to the boards themselves and operated to not conflict with the ICC established schedule.

T20 : Every odd year, 3 regional tournaments: Asia, South (Australia, NZ, SA, Zim, Namibia, Kenya etc.) and North (Eng, WI, Ire, Ned, etc.). Every even year, a world cup consisting of 16 teams. Host + top 5 from each region.

ODI: 11 team league over a span of 3 years. Each team plays each other home and away (3 matches each time)... That's 60 matches in 3 years

ODI WC: Flagship tournament every 4 years with 14 team into 2 groups of 7. Group winners get playoff byes into semi-finals. A2 vs. B3 and B2 vs. A3 to determine their semi final opponents.

Test : End dream of expansion. 2 group of 5 (1-5 group A, 6-10 group B). 4 year cycle, play each other home and away in same group and Group B can host 2 games against Group A.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 17:18 GMT)

It's ridiculous, has it ever happened before in any sport that the entire tournament becomes unlikely to take place due to one of the members not being able to qualify for it.

or a three-match tournament to decide the crown holder team, after winning just two games. these kindda decisions are not going to help the test cricket.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 17:14 GMT)

Sad to see that cricket is being played these days just to appeal the broadcasters and sponsors. True talent and natural game carries no value and spectators who don't understand proper cricket have no right to comment about test cricket. They may as well not watch that game.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 17:04 GMT)

@Mohammad Ahmad - totally agree with you.

Posted by Phantom_XI on (December 19, 2013, 16:55 GMT)

I would suggest a format. Top 8 teams in the competition, starting as quarter final with sudden death. Every country can retain 7 players (6 + 1 reserve) with the rest released to in an auction. Each country can field 6 national players & 5 international. This would enable weak teams to bolster their squad. This will provide a much more competitive team & therefore much more competitive and close game. I know this sounds copy of IPL but the format works!

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (December 19, 2013, 16:54 GMT)

@Edd Olive, yoin a 4 year cycle you have to play aprox 3 home and 3 aways series per year. if theres a minimum requirement of 3 tests per series, thats 18 tests per year, we're allready starting to see players and teams burn out when they play 14 tests a year as they dont have chance to get off the merry-go-round of hotel rooms, and flights.

Then factor in Weather which if Ireland is included will make it difficult for them, consdier England, NZ and WI they have a higher proportion of games affected by weather than anyone else.

Posted by DingDong420 on (December 19, 2013, 16:52 GMT)

ODI / T20 are ok for tournaments watching a test championship would be boring

Posted by mohan24111973 on (December 19, 2013, 16:51 GMT)

Basically it is done every 4 years if in 2017 England hosts + Australia India and Pakistan qualifies and 2021 when India hosts India + any of 3 teams which will decided by DEC 2020 and in 2025 there will other host and host team automatically qualifies and my personal opinion is test team should get more popularity than T20

Posted by Harlequin. on (December 19, 2013, 16:38 GMT)

It is getting to a stage where the national cricket boards, & players, have to honestly decide whether or not they want to play test cricket. There are a few countries, WI & SL are the most obvious in my mind whose players do not seem that interested in playing test cricket, and it feels like they are just playing to hold on to tradition. This is a poor reason to carry on playing, and does no-one any good.

If the players from these countries, and their boards just want to play ODI & T20 then fair enough, let them. It would clear up the calendar a bit, and make the test championship a lot easier. If only 4 nations end up wanting to play test cricket then I am happy watching that! If the Ashes carries on as the only form of test cricket ( I can't see that dying any time soon) then I would be happy with that too.

The boards & players need an honest look at which formats they want to play, and if they don't have the passion for tests anymore, that's fine, there will be others who do.

Posted by maddy20 on (December 19, 2013, 16:35 GMT)

Looking at the number of empty seats at the Wanderers today, I think their concerns are justified IMHO!

Posted by DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on (December 19, 2013, 16:29 GMT)

this shows the reality of sport cricket's popularity.. people are moving away from longer format. Most of them does not watch tests. That's all. Shorter format is the future of cricket.

Posted by Stark62 on (December 19, 2013, 15:56 GMT)

Maybe if the icc tried to expand the game and imply rules fairly to everyone, then the icc could have gone ahead with this plan (although participating teams would have to be increased)!!

Why not make the WT20 a 16 team tourny, with the associates getting a chance to play against top team in the main draw and shortening the 50 over WC to 10 or 8 teams.

T20 is the way forward, whether grey haired men like it or not because it is fast, exciting and unpredictable, which are key elements in drawing audiences and fans to develop enthusiasm for the game.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (December 19, 2013, 15:55 GMT)

It must be played among 8 teams with 7 matches in total. Q. final matches Matches can be played simultaneously in pairs. 10 days for two pairs of Q.finals, 10 days for semifinals, 5 days rest after semis and then 5 days for final. It will take a month to finish.

Posted by stormy16 on (December 19, 2013, 15:30 GMT)

Just cant get this going and it will only become harder with windows for IPL, Ashes etc. There is also the small issue of you may be ranked say 3rd at a given point in time but the championships starts you could be 5th. I think if this is to have any commercial succes it would have to be staged in India which of course means SA, Eng and Aus are nullified with their pace based bowling attacks. Alternative may be a neutral venue hosting a test match between teams at different times and a point system decising the winner. You could also include some of the teams outside the top 4.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 15:26 GMT)

Always thought that 2 semis and a final is ridiculous. It is one of those concepts which is good only on paper - just like the best team vs rest of world series. In practice, it is bound to fall flat. Also, the ICC rankings have way too many flaws - unequal no. of matches, home and away factor not considered - to be used to determine the top 4 teams (it can be used in practice to determine the top 8 teams though as we all now Bang, Zim are miles behind the rest at least in test cricket). It may be used whereby say the top 4 teams get direct entry while the remaining play in some sort of a qualifying competition but directly eliminating everyone but the top 4 is ridiculous. If the ICC wants to do this - do it properly. 8 teams participate - with 2 groups, semis and a final - and use all the 4 months of the English summer to get it done if need be. And if some matches are in front of empty stadiums - so be it. Even the ODI WC doesn't have a full house every match.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 15:17 GMT)

And suppose it happens as the World T20 is limited to 8 permanent temas with others qualifying what will happen if India, England or Australia doesnt qualify for that in 2018 . I mean its the same thing instead of promoting cricket in test-playing nations its sinking money in USA and other countries which are pathetic at cricket

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 15:12 GMT)

@anton1234 Ashes remain the most prestigious!!! most of us care 0% who wins the ashes.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 15:09 GMT)

Its my personal opinion and hence may not resonate with many people. I think the idea of Test Championship is absurd. No one in today's world has the luxury to spare so much time. Also, T20 and ODIs are the way forward (if global appeal of cricket has to be increased). Old cricketing heads, who could not achieve much in ODIs or who could not play much of ODIs are sticking to tests to maintain their own worth and influence. Although many people believe tests test the true potential of a cricketer, I very humbly disagree. I can give many logical reasons but I will put forward a few, no pressure on bowler even if 5 boundaries are scored, no pressure of keeping up with run rate, no pressure to score runs fast, no pressure to contain runs, no concept of bowling in death overs, no concept of taking wickets while stopping runs, no pressure of power play and field restrictions, draw is very unlikely and hence has to be taken to avoid losing etc etc...plus global appeal. I rest my case!!!

Posted by Desihungama on (December 19, 2013, 14:23 GMT)

I have never witnessed a more farce tournament than this so called Test Championship. How can countries like SL, Pak, WI, NZ improve their respective rankings when they only get to play so few Test matches Fact of the matter is India is out to create two tier system with the help of Eng & Aus by playing unlimited number of matches amongst themselves to extract maximum ranking points ensuring these teams stay in top 4 no matter what. One remaining spot is left for all others to scrap for.

Posted by Kingie on (December 19, 2013, 14:18 GMT)

The problem with a championship over a four year cycle (which in theory is the best idea) is that surely all series should be equal in length. Therefore we either end up with a New Zealand - West Indies series of 5 Tests (JOY!) (no offence to either country) or a three-Test Ashes series (which admittedly would please most England fans right now). I just don't think there's a practical solution at all for this, unfortunately.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 14:15 GMT)

ICC should think about fans and people majority is authority just quit the test cricket and grow T20 to the global stage by organising franchise and club t20 tounaments such as asian champions league european champions league and give more chances to associate through t20 to grow themself on the cricketing world

Posted by chechong0114 on (December 19, 2013, 14:03 GMT)

This article is such a beautiful piece because not only does it discuss the concerns of the sponsors for the proposed tournament but it is actually highlighting first hand the game of cricket in general. I have been talking about the game's lack of appeal for months now, the game's inability to try new things and generate more passion to the sport loving public and here in a nutshell all the issues have been addressed in one simple article. Cricket is not a business sport and apart from India it is making very little profit if any worldwide. Its time the ICC and the cricket boards embrace the business aspect of the game, if not then they should just have the games played in open playgrounds. Imaging a simple thing like day/night test matches taking so long to implement trying to find all colour balls to use when they have been using the white ball for one dayers and T20 matches for some time now with great success. Why not just use the white ball until they can agree to another colour.

Posted by Rich_man on (December 19, 2013, 13:55 GMT)

Do away with FTPs. Make a permanent fixture of test cricket for all the countries. Divide 10 test teams to two groups. Team in each group would play 8 tests (twice against each opponent, home and away). Top seeded team from one group should play two matches with the second seeded team from the other group (home and aways) and vice versa. Winners should play a series of three tests to decide the champion at the end of every year. The team with most points before the final should have the advantage of playing the final three matches at home. Every team would play 8 tests a year, top 4 would play 10 and two finalist would play 12 matches apiece and then conntinue with all the ODIs, CT, T20Is, WCs and T20 WCs.This would ensure that every year every test team gets to play atleast 8 test matches and that too with most of the opponents.

Posted by anton1234 on (December 19, 2013, 13:52 GMT)

A test championship has to be played over two years otherwise it would just drag and fans would lose interest. If it's condensed into a 2 year programme then it's feasible. Whatever way you think about it though, the Ashes has to remain a 5 match series as it's the ultimate series in world cricket, even more prestigious than the ODI World Cup.

I think you have to have two divisions. 8 countries in the top division and 4 in the second tier with one promoting and one relegating at the end of the two years. The second tier in the first world championship will be made up of Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland, and either Kenya or Holland.

Posted by Igthorn on (December 19, 2013, 13:41 GMT)

I think a Davis Cup style tournament is far easier and could incorporate ODI and 20/20 games as well. It could involve affiliate countries at a lower tier and be much simpler to schedule. Home advantage is part of the package just as it is in tennis

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 13:41 GMT)

I would have thought the obvious thing would be to play each other once home and away over four years and have a table system. Then two semi-final's hosted by the top two with the highest placed team hosting the final. The best teams should be over a decent period of time and not in a couple of weeks. This will keep the Test championship interesting. If Ireland get their deserved test status, then this would be 20 test matches for qualifying. You bring the game home to the world and keep interest everywhere at a maximum.

Posted by PrasPunter on (December 19, 2013, 13:17 GMT)

@jonesy2 , can't agree more. And Brisbane is undoubtedly the best in the world , when it comes to the quality of the wicket made out for Tests - something for everyone - spinners take wickets, quality batsmen make merry and good seamers reap aplenty.

Posted by PeddaBokka on (December 19, 2013, 13:11 GMT)

So in that case broadcaster can take the whatever teams he wanted and start the first non bilateral test series...and dont name the test champion ship.. for the fans attractions...

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 13:04 GMT)

It has to be in England, we have the world's best fans. I see a South Africa v England final. The 2 best teams in the world at present.

Posted by CricketChat on (December 19, 2013, 12:54 GMT)

I agree with sponsors. There is a huge financial risk. As is, people are no longer watching bilateral series barring few Ashes matches or other trumpeted matches (like Sachin's staged farewell tests in Ind). I think this concept will fizzle out eventually. T20s and ODIs (to some extent) are already doing this. Let's leave it at that.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 12:50 GMT)

Test Championship should be played among the top 8 teams same on the structure of football leagues home & away match between each team and it should be that long procedure to determine the real winner. 8 teams play QF with 2 matches for each team (1 home, 1 away)... otherwise to pick and choose as per the commercial interests will destroy the essence of the word 'championship'

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 12:29 GMT)

Well said taytwin2. Using the current system but giving Zimbabwe and Bangladesh more series (and making a space for Ireland?), so that everyone plays everyone at home and away over 4 years, would be the best way forward. The true test champion is the best team in all countries and all conditions, which can only be decided over 4 years, not a couple of weeks. I can see the non England matches in 2017 (if the competition goes ahead) being played to empty grounds, if England don't make it to be one of the 4 teams then the whole thing will be a disaster. Keep the current rankings and 'test mace' but give the rankings more publicity and each test more context.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 12:25 GMT)

I don't think this has to be so hard. You could, every year, play 3 test matches at the end of the year (2 semis and then a final), to determine that year's "test champion". It will have more interest if England, India, Australia are in it, but then, they normally will be.

Posted by aaron.smih on (December 19, 2013, 12:24 GMT)

Make it 6 teams tournament in two groups - host + top five in the Test rankings (1, 3, 5 - Group A & 2,4, host - Group B) ICC will get media sponsors surely. World Cup T20 should be every 2 years or replace it with an ICC's new attractive limited-overs format championship (like 20x4 or 25x4 Cricket)

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 12:22 GMT)

Test cricket is the pioneer style of cricket and it should be lifted and promoted by the fans i think. ICC should have to introduce the idea of coloured kits for the players in test cricket . Also the major 8 test playing nations should compete only in this Test championship .

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 12:12 GMT)

Aamir, I genuinely hope you are joking with your demand for the 'ICC Champions Trophy'.

Posted by CodandChips on (December 19, 2013, 12:08 GMT)

Like the idea of a test championship but it is pretty hard to do. Also having it in England gives us a home advantage (although we might not be there anyway) and there is also the risk of bad weather.

Why not set aside a year and a half for the test championship? Have rounds based on country's location. Eg round 1 in Newzealand and Australia, in January and February, have round 2 in April and May in West Indies and UAE (for Pakistan), round 3 in July and August in England and India, have round 4 in October and November in Sri Lanka and South Africa. (although I'm not too sure on weather so please forgive me). Therefore home advantage becomes a good thing.

2 groups of 6 (include Ireland, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and one other). Fair split based on the above locations and world rankings. Try and make fixture list fair based on conditions and home advantage (easier said than done).Then have a semi and final stage in the UAE. Hence, a test championship.Issue of other formats neglected though

Posted by jonesy2 on (December 19, 2013, 11:59 GMT)

simple, don't have it in England. have it in Australia and south Africa, the two countries who will likely be number 1 and 2 respectively in the world then (Aus 1 and SA 2) and easily the two countries that produce the worlds best pitches and have the worlds best grounds and the worlds best cricket weather and the worlds best barbeques.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (December 19, 2013, 11:56 GMT)

The only other time this was attempted, there were only three Test teams. England Australia & SA. The Triangular Tournament of 1912 was one of cricket's biggest ever flops in one of the wettest of summers. That's what history has to say. I think we should listen.

Posted by taytwin2 on (December 19, 2013, 11:55 GMT)

While a noble idea, the current test championship format was always going to have issues since a knockout tournament could never capture the true essence of test cricket dominance and always felt as a lazy quick fix to test crickets current problems (such as the FTP and marginalising of small test nations). A better approach for a Test Championship would be to organise a proper competition over a 4 year period with set rules and schedules involving a set number of teams (8 - 12) with ideally teams playing an equal number of home/away tests/series. This would be more suitable since it would tackle the large inbalances in the FTP between larger and smaller nations (such as two test series). It could also provide greater focus and context to team rankings which currently are confusing to understand and don't take into account home/away matches.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 11:51 GMT)

Lets play top 8 teams in quarterfinals with every match as 6 day each, keeping mind the UK weather.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 11:51 GMT)

I don't think the ICC or any of the cricket boards fully understand what the cricket fans want. The ICC should be renamed the Incompetent Cricket Council. The article states "the fact is that the Champions Trophy was popular with broadcasters, spectators and sponsors. Its revival cannot be ruled out". I hope it is not, instead the ICC should shorten the World Cup. In terms of the Test Championship, no-one will care. It will gone on for too long and be as meaningless as the ICC v ROW match in 2005, all the ICC Champions Trophies and all 50-50 World Cups from 2003. I see David Collier at Pinner station most mornings on the way to work, I try to tell him all this, but he just blanks me.

Posted by AndyZaltzmannsHair on (December 19, 2013, 11:49 GMT)

Might as well go ahead and declare India winners. The World Test Championship is clearly about who has the deepest pockets. And with that I'm off to my local trophy store. I'm gonna buy a trophy which says "Best Poster Ever On Cricinfo". It must be true, it says so on the trophy and I paid for it.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 11:44 GMT)

Instead of Test Championship, ICC should revive ICC champions trophy. I also see no appeal in test championship just like Asian Test championship that only lasted for 2 years.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 11:43 GMT)

This only goes to show how commercialization has become more important than Test cricket? Now a days cricket is only about money making but nothing else. Really sad that that test cricket is given less importance compared to the hopeless T20 format and ODI. ICC must take some steps to protect test cricket. Otherwise people in 20 years will start telling there was a format called test cricket.

Posted by Irshad_Cricket on (December 19, 2013, 11:38 GMT)

Keeping my fingers crossed for the most awaited event, Test championship. Number of true cricket lovers are waiting for this to happen. Test cricket is real cricket and test champion would be the real champion.

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