England news November 24, 2011

ECB committed to Test Championship


The ECB remains fully committed to ensuring the Test Championship comes to fruition after initial hopes of staging an inaugural event in England during 2013 were scuppered by the ICC's current broadcast deal.

Earlier this month Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, confirmed that a Test Championship won't take place until at least 2017 due to the commitment in the current TV rights package with ESPN STAR Sports for a Champions Trophy tournament in the 2013 season.

"We are building towards the Test Championship in 2017," David Collier, the ECB chief executive, said. "I'm very confident it will form part of the calendar in that year.

"It is common knowledge that we were the main advocates for the Test Championship and we still believe that very strongly," he added. "We recognise the challenges when you already have contracts in place for the 2013 season but remain fervent in our support for the Test Championship and we'll be pushing very hard to make sure in happens in the future.

"I don't think the interest in Test cricket has ever been higher in this country. I realise there are challenges elsewhere in the world but in this country it is still the true test of a cricketer."

England are one of the few Test nations where the game is healthy both on the field and in the stands and Collier's remarks came on the day that the ECB announced a 10-year title sponsorship for the Test game with Investec. Andrew Strauss, the England Test captain, has previously voiced his concerns about the future of the five-day game and again warned that it would be dangerous for the English game to become complacent because crowds remain strong on home soil.

The recent series between South Africa and Australia produced thrilling cricket but was never played in front of a full stadium over the two Tests, while the current contests between India and West Indies have been greeted by poor attendances - although the Sachin Tendulkar effect is having an impact in Mumbai.

"I'd hate to think that anyone is arrogant enough to assume that it will always be around. I don't think that is the case," Strauss said. "I'm buoyed by what great support there is for the game in this country but I'm quite aware that in other parts of the world it is less so. We are in a fortunate position here, but administrators all around the world need to keep working on the product.

"It's important to market the game as well as possible. In a lot of ways in the past we've just relied on Test cricket always being around. Now we've got to knock our heads together and work out what the best way is to get people watching Test cricket. There's a fairly strong argument saying that using one-day and T20 cricket to feed through can work. But I also think that added context to Test cricket is important, not just through bilateral series but playing for something greater whether it be the World Test Championship or something similar."

Administrators are also coming under pressure to back up their talk of defending Test cricket with actions. The delay to the Test Championship, the two-match series between South Africa and Australia and next year's three-match contest involving England and South Africa are cited as examples to show administrators aren't serious

However, Collier insisted there is a balancing act to strike so that the ten Test nations all remain viable rather than it becoming a game for a few elite teams. "If you always played five Test series you'd end up not playing some countries at all and ending up with three or four Test nations wouldn't be good for cricket as a whole. It's good that we are able to protect a number of nations.

"If we play five Tests against one side [in a summer] we play two against the other," he added. "We aren't playing Zimbabwe or Bangladesh at home in this FTP cycle, they are just away series, so it means the two-Test series will be against the likes of New Zealand and Sri Lanka. It's very important when we got back there, for example to New Zealand, that they have three Test matches so we have to help those countries as well."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 25, 2011, 13:27 GMT

    As mentioned in the article, why on earth is England's home series v South Africa next year only 3 tests, particularly when we're playing a pointless 5 ODI series against the Aussies just beforehand?! I'm sure that most English cricket fans would prefer an extra test v SA and to get rid of the Aussie ODIs, but the ECB have to appease the likes of Bristol, Chester-le-street and the Rose Bowl by giving them an extra ODI each, it's ridiculous but partly their own fault for forcing them to upgrade their stadiums to compete for international matches. Just having the 6 test venues worked perfectly well for 100 odd years, but as with the proposed 14 game County Championship they've tried to fix something that wasn't broken in the first place.

  • david on November 25, 2011, 10:22 GMT

    @Bigwonder well done! you have somed up the current BCCI stance perfectly!I could not have written it better!

  • david on November 25, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    @bigwonder, you are right the ecb should drag the rest of the cricketing countries in what the ecb feels is best for its own.Because I can tell you one thing the ecb will protect the best interests of the game not hold a gun to the other cricketing nations heads for not toeing the BCCI party line!

  • Satish on November 25, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    @spence1324 : We saw it for too long how well the ECB hadled cricket not allwoing space for any nation.. Atleast BCCI consults other nations and the other nations come out and voice their opinion more freely now.. Gone are the days ECB and CA can bully anyone with their arrogance.. I se only the English and some Aussies complaining about BCCI often... Rest are really comfortable with the administration by BCCI..

  • Sam on November 25, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    If you are a fan of Test Cricket, please make an effort to pressure the boards. LET'S START A MOVEMENT. WRITE to ICC and local cricket boards. Write or CALL broadcasters and tell them that you like Test cricket. Take BANNERS when you go to see televised games that will start conversations. Call in to Cricket/talk shows and bring up this topic. If you are an INDIAN CRICKET FAN, do something (like burning an effigy or organize other forms of protest) to ask for reasonable schedules, better facilities and respectful treatment in addition to all of the above. Get people talking and build pressure on the administrators. If you have friends in the media or if you know ex-cricketers lobby them to support Test Cricket. If more people talk about this and ask for action, we may be able to MOUNT PRESSURE BEFORE THE INACTION OF THE ADMINISTRATORS RUINS OUR BELOVED GAME! PLEASE POST MESSAGES ON OTHER CRICKET PAGES, FORUMS AND VENUES!

  • Manesh on November 25, 2011, 4:24 GMT

    for this season only! after that they will be out of the top4 spot and they will ask for more T20s...lol

  • Big on November 25, 2011, 3:41 GMT

    @spence1324, the way I read your post is "Arrogant ECB should drag the rest of the cricketing countries in what ECB feels is best for its own. But hey, its a crime when BCCI does anything. Such double-standards. Let's accept the fact that England no longer has the influence to force the test cricket to the rest of the world. Test cricket is dying a slow death and we all should respect it and not try to do too much.

  • Prasanth on November 25, 2011, 3:01 GMT

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/story/521382.html Actually just 922 lucky souls turned up to watch the amazing last day heist by England

  • Navneet on November 25, 2011, 2:57 GMT

    Test championship is a rubbish idea. How are you going to determine winner? Are we going to play timeless tests? Does one off test decide who is better? Give me 4 Test or 5 Test bilateral series instead of Test championship anyday. And reason why ECB promotes it because it fills up their coffers.

  • Prasanth on November 25, 2011, 2:55 GMT

    I know Cardiff isn't exactly in England, but when the "English" team hosted Sri Lankans, Cricinfo had this to say,"A crowd of roughly 6000 turned out to watch the team in their first match of the new season"... I can guarantee the Kolkota and Delhi tests had more than that...

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