ECB moots points-based system for SL series
Sri Lanka Cricket has confirmed that the ECB has made a request for the upcoming series between the two teams to use a points-based system - following the lead of the women's game - to decide a winner across all formats. England are scheduled to host Sri Lanka for three Tests, five ODIs, and a T20I.
The proposal will be discussed by the SLC committee at its next board meeting either later this month or early in May although even if it is agreed each format will continue to be contested for separately as well.
"The ECB has made a request, but we have not discussed or agreed up to this point of time," SLC's secretary Mohan de Silva said. "We will probably take it up at the next executive committee meeting. The CEO and the Cricket Operations Manager will have to make a recommendation to the committee."
The ECB led the way in introducing points-based scoring across all three formats for the women's Ashes in 2013. Initially, there were six points available for winning a Test (two for a draw) and two points for the ODIs and T20s, although the Test allocation has since been cut to four points as there was concern the one-off Tests had too much of a weighting.
Until now, the men's game has kept each of its formats distinct during bilateral tours, but there is a desire to try and increase the context of tours and give meaning to matches that may otherwise have little significance. It could, potentially, make end-of-tour T20s the deciding fixture in determining the overall winner.
It was a topic covered in this year's Editor's Notes in Wisden with Lawrence Booth writing: "Walkovers happen, but cricket would benefit if they didn't happen in a vacuum... last summer's women's Ashes provided a glimpse of a solution, already suggested elsewhere for the good reason that it makes sense: hand out points for every win on a bilateral tour (say, six for a Test, three for a one-day international and two for a Twenty20), tot them up, then award three to the overall winner, or one each in case of a draw."
The exact details of how a points system would work if the idea was adopted for the English season are yet to be confirmed - and it remains to be seen whether there would be conflict with existing sponsorship deals, with each format in England being under a different name - but individual series winners would remain.
Cricket Australia's team performance manager Pat Howard said that events in the UK would be monitored with interest ahead of Australia's next assignments, including a multi-format tour of Sri Lanka in July and August.
"We've noted the trial and we will see how it plays out," Howard said, "before considering any changes to our current system, whether it be at home or in away series."
The only two Test series 'trophies' that England do not currently hold are against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, who are the second visiting team for the season and whose tour could also adopt the points system. Sri Lanka won 1-0 on the 2014 visit to England, and Pakistan won 2-0 in the UAE late last year.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo, Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando