Ian Chappell
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Former Australia captain, now a cricket commentator and columnist

Contract the schedule

If Tests are limited to the top eight teams, T20s to clubs and a relegation system is introduced in ODIs, all three formats could survive and cricket could gain a broader talent pool

Ian Chappell

July 1, 2012

Comments: 55 | Text size: A | A

Stuart Broad had Dwayne Smith caught behind for a duck, England v West Indies, 2nd ODI, The Oval, June 19, 2012
Promotion and relegation in ODIs can help reduce one-sided contests © Getty Images
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Instead of lamenting the demise of Test cricket and indulging in conjecture that the 50-over game has run its race, it's time to formulate a plan that gives all three forms their best chance of survival. The answer could be contraction. Contracting the business is not always a sign of progress but in cricket's case it could well be the saviour of the game.

The major problem in having three forms of the game is the congestion it creates in the schedule. This leads to players choosing between forms of cricket, which exacerbates the lack of star attractions in the game.

There are two chances, Buckley's or none, that Test cricket can expand into major markets like the Americas, Europe, Japan, and parts of Asia and Africa where it isn't already played. Therefore, it would be pragmatic to concentrate on programming the ultimate competition between the major Test-playing countries.

By contracting to an eight-team competition there would be fewer one-sided contests and it would then be possible to conduct a meaningful world championship. It may also be possible through day-night Tests to reduce the matches to three or four days' duration, as they were originally. By taking this option you might not save Test cricket, but at least the administrators wouldn't be guilty of an inside job if it does eventually perish.

By all means continue promoting the longer versions of the game in countries where, with proper nurturing, they could eventually raise their standard to compete with the best. However, don't do it in a manner that dilutes the standard of Test cricket.

The 50-over competitions should be conducted at different levels and should operate on a promotion/relegation basis. That way it becomes obvious when a team is ready for the highest level or another is going through a bad era and needs to drop down a grade. It means fewer one-sided contests that do cricket harm by promoting the less endearing aspects of the game on television.

T20 can be used to foster a wider appeal and open up strong markets in places like the Americas, Europe, Japan and Malaysia. This is best done on a city-franchise basis so that teams in, say, Florida, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur have a chance of competing on an equal footing with sides from Mumbai and Melbourne. T20 internationals between countries could then be scrapped, and hopefully this will open up opportunities for skilful players from a much broader range of countries.

And that's where expansion comes in. In the IPL, the BBL, or any other competition ending in "L", apart from the local stars, it's the same players who spark the headlines and attract big contracts. The game can't continue to expand unless it finds a way to produce more top-class players from a broader pool.

 
 
By all means continue promoting the longer versions of the game in countries where, with proper nurturing, they could eventually raise their standard to compete with the best. However, don't do it in a manner that dilutes the standard of Test cricket
 

Taking advantage of the franchise system by producing players via academies based in potentially productive regions like Afghanistan and parts of Europe could broaden the pool of excellence.

There's also a need to come up with better ways to produce top-class players. It's no coincidence that Sachin Tendulkar's great skills were honed on the maidan, Sir Garfield Sobers' and Javed Miandad's in the streets, and numerous Australian cricketers' in their own backyards. They all improved by learning how to survive and prosper in numerous pick-up matches rather than spending hours in structured net sessions.

I recall watching a young bloke hook, pull and cut with impunity while facing a tennis ball skimming off a film of water at 150kph on a Barbados beach.

"What first-class team does he play for?" I asked one of the players.

"Man, this is the only cricket he plays," came the response.

Cricket can't afford to lose players with such a high natural skill level. The game needs to at least give those players a pathway to succeed at higher levels.

To find more skilful players from a broader spread of countries and promote more competitive matches, cricket might need to contract the schedule but not the different forms of the game.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist

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Posted by rtruth on (July 4, 2012, 15:20 GMT)

Since 1984 I have been an ardent cricket fan, In the nineties I used to tell all my friends that TEST cricket is ultimate real cricket snubbing ODIs but when in 2000s specially since the IPL 1 . I changed my mind , by observing the entertainmet we get through t20s domestic competition. My sugestions to ICC and the cricket administrators is .to give and axe to ODIs and all 50/40 over cricket. cricket is played between bat and ball. We as a spectator want pure entertainment. which t20s give by a long margin compare to test and ODI. please ICC stop ODI we dont want really it give us sleep during the matches. Keep TEsts and t20s and then .depending upon the public opion Icc must axe test cricket also. like soccer we will be having t20s which gives chace to smaller crickiting nations to come up. by looking at tests no country like to play thats why since 1887 there are only 10 nations which play test becoz it is very boring. If icc axe test and Odi. then you will see soccer will be second

Posted by   on (July 4, 2012, 1:11 GMT)

Thank you sir!

Let us recognize and acknowledge what (most) audience and players "really want" - more of DOMESTIC T20s in every country - India, Australia...!

Let us be gracious and allow the "most attractive of all cricket" - Domestic T20 Championship SPACE to breathe and deliver.

Free the Domestic T20s from the tyranny of congested International schedule of largely boring test matches and ODIs.

Create enough room in the calendar so that the major cricket playing countries can have their Domestic T20s and International stars can join it.

Let Test Cricket be limited to - one International Test Championship a year - to be completed in a max of 2 months.

Let ODI Cricket be limited to - one International ODI Championship a year - to be completed in a max of 2 months.

Keep at least 6 months (+1 for CL) a year free so that countries can have their domestic T20 Championship free of distractions.

This is the BEST way to move forward in my opinion.

Posted by jay57870 on (July 3, 2012, 14:31 GMT)

Ian - Focus should be to prioritise & rebalance the schedule, not just "contract the schedule"! Case in point: The Top 2 Test sides, Eng & SA, soon play 3 Tests & a lopsided 5 ODIs/3 T20s. Misplaced priorities. To make matters worse, there's the Pom-Aussie series of 5 ODIs just ahead of the more relevant duel for the Test crown! Boneheads!! If ICC & the boards, especially ECB, really mean to "save Test cricket" then why such a stupid schedule in prime-time cricket season? (Don't forget the Olympics!) No wonder the "congestion"! Importantly, will not the Pom-Aussie ODIs "dilute the standard of Test cricket": the Ashes? Or is preparing for the faraway 2015 ODI WC more urgent? Which is it, Ian? It's so obvious. Yet, you don't even recognise this logjam! Couldn't they have made it 4-5 Tests & reduced the 13 ODI-T20s? Even dropped the Aussie tour? No, don't blame IPL/BCCI or Euro for this logjam. Yes, the cricket calendar is sustainable: Just have to prioritise & rebalance it! Get it, Ian?

Posted by Mongarra on (July 3, 2012, 11:57 GMT)

I wonder how we can improve the standard and nurture the game in Associate countries by not allowing any of them play the 10 Test-playing countries. There is already a 4-day competition for Associates and, say, every 2 years the winner of the competition should be allowed play the lowest-ranked test-playing country in a 3-match 5-day series with the winners having test status and the losers playing in the 4-day league. Neither Bangladesh nor Zimbabwe are setting the world alight in their test matches while Ireland and Afghanistan have already ODI status and are surely entitled to have some access to the big league, at least for a 2-year period where they could play 3 or 4 test matches if not a full series. If they prove not good enough then they will revert to the 4-day league at the expense of the winners of that competition.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2012, 11:35 GMT)

For all three forms of the game to survive at the same time it is important that scheduling is done in a proper way, meaningless ODI matches should be scrapped, teams shouldnt play cricket for the sake of revenue, etc; for Test cricket to prosper the quality of pitches needs to be looked at. To spread the game in other countries it will be good if top teams like India, Australia, SA etc play matches in neutral venues so that cricket gets more exposure in other countries. I have my doubts about Day night test cricket but the world test championship is a good idea

Posted by rtruth on (July 2, 2012, 19:24 GMT)

Cricket is ruinning itself ,Why dont cricket administrators stick to one foramt of the game. Why they have 3 formats I suspect many more formats are in pipeline, Why dont they make a format which can never be changed. Look at Soccer and Tennis. No new rules no new formats since 100s of years those formats have been stood as it was. Now what the heck , I beg to the administrator, Please axe this meaningless ODIS forever. Keep test matches and T20s

Posted by Noman_Yousuf_Dandore on (July 2, 2012, 13:37 GMT)

I totally second Srikanth when he says that cricket should honour tradition much more than it does. Unscheduled series should not be allowed and teams should play each other at pre-determined intervals. Additionally I believe teams should be divided into 3 groups of 5 each for test matches with biennial promotion/relegation and top 2 groups gaining proper test recognition. That'll pave way for teams like Ireland and Afghanistan to work harder and have a way forward, whereas it'll keep teams like Bangladesh and WI on toes to keep their status intact and will instill some fear in India to protect their test side from falling into to the second tier. Cheers!

Posted by Selassie-I on (July 2, 2012, 13:11 GMT)

our problem in England is self(board) made since the big money sky deal, all the counties get a huge handout from the ECB(themselves) then they immidiatley spend this on buying themselves a huge, pointless(and probably ugly) new pavillion and loads of extra seating with the view of becoming an international venue, they then sit in their EBC meeting and moan that they have the stadium and want some international cricket, it's of course unfair to visiting teams to not play at lords so we then have to have a whole bunch of pointless odis to service the moaning counties. we'd have been better off leaving the cricket on free to air TV and be without the money and with the whole country being able to watch cricket of all levels all the time, then we'd probably sell more tickets, especially to county games.

Posted by Selassie-I on (July 2, 2012, 12:49 GMT)

I don't know if we need a t20 franchise system around the world really. How about just getting rid of the meaningless matches. It sounds so simple but let's get the test league started, all teams casn play each other on rotation 3 home & away tests per 4 years(5/4 match series can just have a 3 of tests that are counted towards them) less arduousley long odi series, 5 at very most thanks and more focus on the WC. 3 t20is per series with the wc every 4 years. get rid of champs troph. a 1 month gap for the IPL, shortened from its current length. Every team playing 4 series per year is then possible, 3 tests, 3 odis, 3 t20is(5 matches if boards agree, ie ashes) then you get the series winner as well, perhaps an ICC leaderboard for total tour wins covering all 3 formats?

Posted by jb633 on (July 2, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

The biggest threat to the global game is the IPL and the ICC needs to decide sooner or later whether to embrace it or ban it. ODI cricket and to a lesser extent test cricket are going to fade away if the top players are absent and playing IPL. Altough I do hate the IPL, it is more damaging to ignore it and talk down about it because it is not going to go away. IMO T20 should be restricted to domestic leagues and the IPL should be given a month long window. The clash of IPL and international cricket will constantly throw up problems and who can really blame players for taking the money on offer. In terms of the test matches I would hate to see BD removed as they are finally beginning to produce players of real class ( Shakib, Rahim, Tamin). At the end of the day it took Sri Lanka a while to develop and look at how they came good in the end. I belive that if the public interest is there then sooner or later BD will come good. I fear more for WI than any other side at present.

Posted by Gerry_the_Merry on (July 2, 2012, 10:21 GMT)

The young bloke hooking at 150kmph...where Ian, and when? Let's get him into the West Indies team now.

Posted by Arun.Iyer on (July 2, 2012, 10:05 GMT)

I've no doubt that all 3 formats can coexist. Have been in love with the sport "Cricket" since 1991, whatever the format is. Will continue to do so. All 3 formats may have pros and cons, but a true cricket lover will continue to love the sport.

However, a request to the ICC, stop continuous experiments with ODIs. Like reducing the limit of fielders from 5 to 4? Seriously? Why do you want to let the bowlers face extinction when it's already a batsman's game? Hope common sense prevails sooner than later.

Posted by Arun.Iyer on (July 2, 2012, 10:02 GMT)

Cricket is probably the only sport in the world with 3 different formats (God forbid a fourth format - The Natwest Pro40). All other sports just have a single format. But the pros about the different formats is it appeals to traditionalists (tests), the middle men (ODIs) and the Slam Bang (T20s). Then there are rare people who watch all 3 formats with equal interest.

Test cricket will survive when there is good competition between bat and ball, for that you need good result oriented pitches (bouncy / swinging / spinning). Flat tracks are unacceptable. Like who really cares watching matches in SL / Pak / Bang. Further, reduce ticket prices so that there is sufficient viewers in the stadium.

ODIs will survive without meaningless matches. WC is the saving grace. But bilateral series should give room for more tri-series.

T20s is where all the action is. It's a way of expanding base and covering more regions / countries. T20 WC should encourage more teams participating.

Posted by gopikrishnar on (July 2, 2012, 9:59 GMT)

I don't think all 3 formats can co-exist.It is just 1 format too many.This in my view is what ICC must do immediately after the 2015 world cup.1)Start a new test points table and ensure that all the top 8 teams play each other home and away within the next 4 years(2015-2019) in 3 match series(Except the Ashes of course where the first 3 matches can be considered for the points table)The top 4 teams in the points table will play out the World Test Championship in 2019 or 2020.This way each and every test match will have consequence to not only to the 2 countries who are playing but also to the other 6 countries. 2.Ensure that there is only one form of limited overs cricket at the international level.(The IPL,Big Bash and Friends Provident can continue to be Twenty 20's)I would prefer this to be not 20 overs (too short) or 50 overs(too long).Instead it should be 30 overs per side contests.The ICC must also set the limit for these matches per bilateral series as 3.

Posted by ultimatewarrior on (July 2, 2012, 6:39 GMT)

t20 is the best form of cricket that can challenge popularity of top games in the world and to move ahead t20 should be propagate as a club game first, and as far as the t20int'l is concerned t20 world cup is there and few more tournaments can be organized such as Asia Cup, Champions Trophy(top 5-6 teams in world) and one-off matches between the nations after test series or one day series.......t20 tournaments should be played most among clubs of different countries or in the leagues like ipl/bbl/bpl/spl etc...i m looking forward in this century t20 will be among top 3 team games in the world, not only in terms of popularity but also in terms of money....an ideal international cricket tour can be of 3 test/3 odi/1 t20I...to give chances to more and more star players to earn more money in league matches instead of forcing him to opt out from international cricket and play only for clubs/leagues....further as Ian said to play quality test/odi, it should be restricted to top teams only...

Posted by shrikanthk on (July 2, 2012, 6:09 GMT)

The Problem with Cricket is that it does not honour "tradition" as much as it should. Organized sport is all about traditions and rituals. Tennis today exists as a major sport because it honours the "4-Slam" tradition played in the same 4 venues. There's the right kind of anticipation which builds at certain times of the year because all tennis fans are familiar with the calendar. They don't get bored by the sameness of it.

Cricket disrespects tradition. It always has. The only two "traditions" in international cricket are the 4-year Home and away Ashes cycle and the 50 over Cricket world cup. It shouldn't be a surprise that these two events are EASILY the most popular cricketing events on the planet.

Posted by JohnnyRook on (July 2, 2012, 2:46 GMT)

@getsetgopk...How exactly is lack of DRS cricket's biggest problem. It was tried for the first time barely 3 years back. Anyways thanks for reminding me of one wonderful Calvin and Hobbes strip....."I just found out about a few products I didn't know existed but I desperately need them"....Hahaha....

Posted by Meety on (July 2, 2012, 2:26 GMT)

@tfjones1978 - I understood you were talking about 8 yrs into the future. With regards to Kenya - they certainly withered on the vine, & it was because of that the ICC actually took steps to ensure that up & coming nations have some pathway - Afghanistan is a great example. IMO - tests cannot be opened up to 22 Test playing nations. Atm - the ICC has the Intercontinental Cup which is a 4-day tournament, it involves the best teams below test standard. Whilst atm - Zim & to a lessor extent Bangladesh have very low yearly commitments - they should be scheduled to play some of the intercontinental teams in test-like conditions - which theoretically would lift Zim & Bang's confidence & raise the exposure level for the likes of Afghan & Ireland. I like your ideas, but IMO, they are more like a 28 year timeline rather than an 8 year timeline. Many people bag Bangladesh as not being competitive, but they would belt all the non-test nations (Ireland excepted) by a long way.

Posted by mikey76 on (July 2, 2012, 2:26 GMT)

Make test matches 4 days 100 overs per day and fine the fielding side a run a ball for slow over rates. Scrap the rules on bad light and use floodlights. Make 50 over series a max of 5 matches doing away with these 8-9 match epics which people and players get bored with and start having 2 T20 matches in a day. Its only 40 overs each and would make for a great spectacle.

Posted by bobagorof on (July 2, 2012, 1:22 GMT)

Kulaputra: What is T50? T20 is a abbreviation of the name Twenty20, so T50 is..? As for the ODI being a 'contrived' game, the same could be said about Twenty20's - the popularity of both games in their initial years outshone the existing formats because they were new, but will you be saying the same thing about Twenty20's in 10 years time? Already there is an oversupply of Twenty20 matches (as well as ODIs) and many viewers fail to see the point of yet another competition - IPL, BBL, SLPL, Friends Life T20, plus international matches. Then what? More gimmicks, like the 'innovations' you mention that currently devalue the 50 over game, or do we come up with an even shorter format until we're reduced to a coin toss? Or do we trust in the value of the product that has developed for decades and still draws interest when given context?

Posted by jmatwho on (July 1, 2012, 23:07 GMT)

Agreed that its high time that t20 was only played at the club level. Its unthinkable that the administrators of the world game have not yet come to this conclusion. This lack of insight is unnecessarily polluting the schedule. However, it's an elitist joke to say that test cricket should be contracted to eight teams to maintain its quality. What was the quality of the Sri Lankan team when they first started playing test cricket? Look at them now. If you want to allow innate talent to develop and have something to strive for, the participation in test cricket needs to be expanded with a two tier system that determines who plays whom either in the framework of the FTP or a WTC. To opine of contraction is a luxury you can only afford if you are Australian or English, and as Tony Greig pointed out a few days ago, this is no longer only your game.

Posted by HawK89 on (July 1, 2012, 21:17 GMT)

Who is going to spend half of their day watching a test match? At least in an ODI, there is a result at the end of it.

Posted by yorkshire-86 on (July 1, 2012, 21:11 GMT)

ODI's must survive as to 99.999% of cricketers, its the only format they play. To say to players you play 50 overs all your life (as all Saturday league clubs below first class level play between 40 and 60 overs) but as soon as you get to the top level you only play 20 overs and 4/5-day cricket? By all means reduce the number of ODI's - primarally by reducing the number of international grounds a country is permitted to have, let the ICC only authorise 5-6 grounds max in each country and internationals are only played there, so rubbish grounds with wealthy backers dont become Test grounds. T20 is a completely different sport - wickets dont matter, classy batsmen who cant slog never get centuries, all you need is 1 player to do well and you win - so treat it that way, ie scrap T20I's, and make all the mercenary T20 leagues (IPL, BBL ect) play concurrently with a 6 week window in the international calender for all the leagues at once.

Posted by Thunee_man_Naidoo on (July 1, 2012, 21:07 GMT)

I'm always a bit exasperated with articles like this because everybody (including myself) has there own wildly diufferent opinion on how the three formats should be run. With that said, I agree with Chappell's point about ODI's and T20's although I would like the World T20 stay. The rarity of international T20's (being that they are only played for a block every two years) would make the tournament extremely popular. He has a fair point about Tests the only problem being how you would contunually assess the top 8 tests teams when there are only 8 teams playing tests. The other teams would have to be assessed on ODI merit alone

Posted by TobeornottoB on (July 1, 2012, 20:53 GMT)

To extend this idea of 8 Test playing teams - I suggest a tiered structure based on 4 year cycles. The 8 teams in the top tier play home and away series of at least 3 Tests per series in the first 3 1/2 years. For each country this means two home series and two away series per year. The outcome is scored in a round robin points table. In the last half year of the 4 year cycle, the two top teams play home and away series, 3 Tests each, to establish the champion. And, the teams placed 7th and 8th play the teams who came second and first (respectively) from the second tier competition to determine who plays in the next 4 year cycle. The 2nd tier of 8 teams plays a round robin of first class cricket in the 1st 2 years. In the next 18 months, the top 4 teams play 3 match Test series home and away to determine who plays against 7 and 8 from the top tier in the last 6 months, and 7 and 8 of the 2nd tier (ie 15th and 16th) play 17th and 18th (determined by OD status) for next cycle places.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2012, 18:46 GMT)

T20 at an international level is just plain embarrassing to cricketers. It should definitely be kept for the lesser lights of domestic players with limited skill but enough to make a living from cricket. Part of T20's appeal I feel is the crowd can identify with the hit and giggle nature of it. I'm sure most players would appreciate it off the international schedule. ODIs should remain in tournament formats only

Posted by Dhs2000 on (July 1, 2012, 17:10 GMT)

@kulaputra - First things first, T50 and T30 do not exist. I don't know what T30 is but what you call 'T50' is called an ODI. Also, The author is trying to save all three formats, which does not include scrapping ODIs. He says to turn it into a promotion/relegation system. Also, I don't know anybody who likes T20s better than ODIs, and none of them care about the T20 ranks. Also, there are much more arcticles about Test and ODI rankings than T20 rankings which proves people care more about ODIs and Tests.

Posted by getsetgopk on (July 1, 2012, 15:16 GMT)

I see quite a few ideas flying around here, most of them quite unnecessary and pointless. Crickets immediate problem is the lack of a universal DRS system that is harming the game is a big way, 9 out of 10 full members know that DRS will provide fair play and make test cricket more interesting and result oriented yet non has the spine to stand up for it. Writing an article for sake of an article is one thing but reality quite another, if these 9 full members cant force a simple and basic thing like DRS over the tenth member what chance is there that they'll be successful with other issues? I would say none.

Posted by Kulaputra on (July 1, 2012, 15:11 GMT)

Fix a test calendar and let IPL, BBL, SLPL flourish and also take the game to Kuala Lumpur, Amsterdam and Ft, Lauderdale as the author suggests

Scarp ODI. It was a contrived game in which no one is interested anymore, not even the world champions !!! I am not sure why there is desperation to save this format which has outlived its usefulness unless you have lot of innovations like substitutions. even in that case, T20 outshines T50. Consider it a step that conservatives took on the way from Tests to T20.

The question really is is Is T30 a better game than T20?

Posted by   on (July 1, 2012, 14:21 GMT)

Tests should we divided into 2 tiers and keep odis as it is. And i like the idea t20 should be played at only club level

Posted by Vibhormbic on (July 1, 2012, 14:04 GMT)

So, you mean players shall be selected to a national Test side on the basis of their T20 performance in their leagues?

Posted by   on (July 1, 2012, 13:37 GMT)

Franchise cricket is a farce. Why not create 10 more teams in India and call them "Amsterdam" "Paris" "Berlin"..T20 is the most popular format currently and country vs. country in that format is absolutely necessary to increase and sustain interest. I cannot wait for the World t20 in sept....

Posted by tfjones1978 on (July 1, 2012, 13:11 GMT)

@Meety, my idea is that over the next 8 years the ICC move to a relegation system for ALL 3 forms of the game. I believe that all 3 forms have a future as they all have something different to contribute and we need the sport's pinical for each format to be INTERNATIONAL and not domestic. Regarding your issue with more then 12 teams. In 2004 it could be argued that we had only 6 teams that could compete with WI and NZ not performing well in tests and Zimb & Bang struggling in all forms of the game. Kenya at the time was at a high after 2003 WC but was heading downwards. Under my suggestion for tests, Tier A be the top 8 teams in the world (say Eng vs WI), Tier B would be 7th to 14th (say NZ vs Scotland) and lower tiers would be teams of equal ability. My view for ODI is that tiers should be 12 not six teams and be relegation which top tier (full members) are not under WCL. T20I should use similar strategy as England used decades ago in tests: Send lesser teams to lower ranked countries.

Posted by eZoha on (July 1, 2012, 12:07 GMT)

Good read, but I beg to differ with Ian on most points. I'd suggest to keep Tests as it is now. Remove bilateral ODI series. It has zero context. ODIs should be played only in triangulars, quadrangulars, world cups and like. Just like current T20I, put a cap on how many ODIs can a team play in a year. Finally, as Ian have suggested, T20 should be played only at club level.

Posted by Swampy5 on (July 1, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

I'm surprised at Ian with his thoughts on test cricket. It's easy for him as an Australian to advocate reducing teams because it wouldn't affect Australia, but would he be as keen if he was say Bangladeshi or Irish? Every sport looks to expand apart from cricket, which wants to reduce the number of participating nations due to the illogical notion of the so-called standards being diluted. First the impending 10-team world cup in 2019, and now Ian suggests similar for tests. How about finally sorting out the mess of a schedule to bring structure and purpose, bringing in Ireland and Afghanistan as a priority to provide more even competition for the lower-ranked test nations, and at the same time promote the Intercontinental Cup? What I also don't get is that if Ian, as I'm sure, thinks test cricket is a great game, why does he think other countries have no chance of appreciating tests, as well as ODI & T20, given time and using T20 as a gateway to it? Other sports aren't so defeatist.

Posted by Meety on (July 1, 2012, 10:51 GMT)

@tfjones1978 - with respect to your wishlist for 2020, the standard below the top 12 sides in the cricketing world is pretty poor. Outside of the 10 test sides, there are really only 2 USUALLY competitive other teams (Ireland & Afghans), then there is nations that CAN pull off upsets like Netherlands & Scotland, I think Namibia is reasonable, but their record against Test nations is poor. The ICC already has relegation & promotion in the WCL, the only stumbling block is they don;t appear to have clear criteria for Test status. I would like to see an expanded 3-tier test format of 12 teams. The top 4 sides (Tier A) would play 4 & 5 test series amomgst each other over + they would play Tier B (the next 4 teams) over 2 & 3 test matches. Tier B - would play themselves over 4 & 5 tests (as well as series v Tier A) AND also they would play 1 & 2 test series against Tier C (Zim, Bang, Ire & Afghan). Tier C would play each other over 3 tests & Tier B in 1 or 2 tests.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2012, 10:45 GMT)

Well I agree with Chappel atleast with what he says about t20 cricket. Club cricket between the cities of the world cup will be so interesting. I would love to see a team from Kabul competing with Dhaka, Delhi, Chennai, Singapore, Birmingham, Dublin, Amsterdam, Munich, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Karachi, Tokyo, Jeddah, Dubai, Colombo, Cape Town, Toronto, Miami, Kingston, Bounes Aires, Nairobi, Harare, Sydney and Auckland. I also conditionally agree with his view point about contracting the no of test playing teams to 8 provided there is no obstacle for teams like Afghanistan and Ireland which deserve to play at the highest level. The criterion should be that those teams which are at top 8 of the ICC ranking list in ODI's at the end of a calender year, be given the test status for the next year. This is practical and the hope for Test status will be there for the emerging teams. Nisar Ahmad from Kabul, Afghanistan.

Posted by Meety on (July 1, 2012, 10:40 GMT)

Good article. I do not beleive the Test world needs to contract to 8. I believe it needs to be split up into Tiers, to ensure more liklihood of competitive contests. As for ODIs, (I love them), the bilateral series devoid of Test context (like the current ENG v OZ) needs to be scrapped. If we were to do away with bilateral ODIs & instead play trilaterals whereby the 3rd team is a "minnow" ( meaning any team from Ireland to Bangladesh - inc Zim & Afghan) we would be taking a large chunk of meaningless matches out of the schedule. As for T20s - YES, YES, YES - no Test Nations should play T20s unless it is in the Olympics or a W/Cup played every 4yrs. The Champ Trophy should be changed to include qualifying franchises from ALL test nations PLUS, national sides from the Associates. This would increase the money pool for fledgling cricket countries as the Champ League is played yearly & has a lot of coin attached.

Posted by DipJena on (July 1, 2012, 10:28 GMT)

at a time when all the self-proclaimed cricket are busy slamming T20 for killing test cricket n oneday crkt n the gradual decline in popularity and no one coming up with a solution kudos to Ian Sir for proposing such which mite nt save test ckt but it has certainly given all of us food for thought.i think franchise based league shud open gates to players of less privileged countries like afghanistan,nepal,Hk,malayasia..this will disseminate ckt in various countries..relegation/promotion is an wonderful idea to save 50 ovr..but itz pros n cons needs to be carefully studied before implemented as 50 ovr stands in a such a precarious state any wrong step wud eventually kill it off..if properly nurtured n cared i dont see any reason why 3 formats cannot co-exist

Posted by   on (July 1, 2012, 10:16 GMT)

It is sad to see that the way of things is such that the purest form of the sport has to find ways to survive. While fans may exist in countries like Bangladesh but even they understand that they would want to be a better ODI side where they are at are a better position than test cricket. Reducing the test championship to 8 teams (with 2 relegations) allows teams to push their games up. Sadly, the way India is going it may be a reality that we are among those 2 teams vying for a top spot. Agree with Ian Chappel on contracting formats

Posted by   on (July 1, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

Why is cricket so boring that everyone try to prove it to be interesting? Is similar discussion going on for baseball?

Posted by   on (July 1, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

ha ha Chappel!! Why do all 3 format need to be there? Games are played because its interesting for people involved, more for spectators... Do agree that all non-sense games without purpose shall go away .. Do we need Ashes or world test championship?

Posted by   on (July 1, 2012, 9:55 GMT)

Very well thought and said Ian. Totally agree. In the sub-continent there a already a lot of talented kids. All they need is proper training facilities, guidance and motivation to play for their countries. If the boards manage to do that it is even better served for this very beautiful game.

Posted by tfjones1978 on (July 1, 2012, 9:02 GMT)

I strongly disagree with Chappell here. What is needed is an expansion of test cricket not a contraction. These are the following changes I would like to see brought in by 2020: [1] Test Cricket played amongst any UN recognised nations (or body of nations eg: WI).[2] T20I three levels of 20 teams & ODI four levels of 12 teams with Promotions, Demotions & Regional Qualifiers every two years. [3] Test levels A (1-8) B (7-14) C (13-22) D (21-30) & regional qualifiers with promotions/demotions every four years. [3] Test level A plays min of 42 tests (six against each), B plays min of 28 tests (four against each), C & D plays min of 18 tests (two against each). Border teams pay half minimum against each team (AB 35, BC 18 & CD 18).[4] Test Levels A & B matches four days (8 hour days plus three breaks of 30 minutes each). C & D matches four days of 6 hours. Regional Qualifiers matches three days of 6 hours. [5] Each test has an extra day scheduled for rain.

Posted by JohnnyRook on (July 1, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

Typical Ian Chappell. Coming up with a lot of impractical solutions which will never be implemented because they alientate too many cricket fans. What about tons of Bangladesh fans who love test cricket. Why restrict test cricket to 8 teams, why not 6 or 4. Why would you want T20 to be only played in leagues. I am an Indian who hates IPL but loves international T20. I am sure there are a lot of people like me. Stop trying to control cricket. Free Market can and will control it loads better than you do. The fact of business is that the world has become too fast and tests are too long. You can hate that fact as much as you want but you gotta agree with it. Like it or not, a decade later, tests will reduce to say 5 tests a year for every team because that would be optimum figure for them to be profitable as well as interesting.

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (July 1, 2012, 8:27 GMT)

What are the new countries that have taken up cricket?

No, nothing.

I think promoting T20 a good idea to get new counties. But ICC should do much more. Get T20 an Olympic event. London should have done it. Like Rugby 7's

Posted by agam99 on (July 1, 2012, 8:19 GMT)

Have been saying and praying for long that Intl T20 should be scrapped completely. As for entertainment, monetary purposes and promotion of game, T20s at club level are more than enough specially when almost every country is coming up with their own version of IPL. ODIs are best for filling up the gap between Test and T20s and should be persisted with.

Posted by murraymckechnie on (July 1, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

I think that having T20 leagues like in soccer and no international T20 is a great idea. Once the leagues grow enough, you can have cup competitions as well and not only the CLT20. I also think the 50 over idea is good. Teams could be promoted/relegated every year or 2 years. This would create more money for smaller teams because they would not be expected to lose any more and would get more support. However, for test cricket, I think every team should be kept. However, I think you could also have different leagues with teams like Bangladesh playing with South Africa A etc in league 2 for now. For the first few years, the ICC should be allowed to edit these leagues immediately if they see one team being too dominant or too bad for their league.

Posted by Baundele on (July 1, 2012, 8:04 GMT)

The idea of limiting the all-sacred test cricket to a certain number of so-called elite teams is rubbish. Opining against the globalization of cricket will do no good to cricket. Better work for introducing cricket to more nations. Otherwise cricket will be bossed by the BCCI forever.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2012, 7:21 GMT)

What's wrong with the way things are now? People are too quick to jump to conclusions. Test cricket is prospering and is alive and well especially in Australia and England. One day internationals continue to draw large crowds and get good television ratings, particularly in India. And domestic T20 is booming in India and Australia (England need to catch up a bit). International T20 cricket is drawing enormous attention. I bet that the Australia day T20I in Sydney next year will attract 80,000+ for just three hours of cricket. How can anyone say that isn't good for the game? Cricket has other smaller issues it should focus on and allow what's already working to remain in place.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2012, 6:13 GMT)

Brilliant article, sums up what needs to happen to a pinpoint.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2012, 5:39 GMT)

Ian is always better than Greg, unless ICC comes up with a Test Championship the comments on dying test cricket will be in the higher rate. A sport played for than 100 years without a Championship, then some thing wrong with the administrators. Test Championship to be played between eight teams over a period of four years with 3 test series among each teams on home and away pattern. Come up with a semi finalists with 5 test series in neutral venues same may be the format for Finals too.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (July 1, 2012, 4:26 GMT)

What a brilliant idea for T20 cricket. Restrict T20 to only clubs. Nobody likes watching INternational T20s, because they simply are too boring. What people really love about T20 cricket is the IPL and its crazy scenarios. Nothing from the IPL is ever replicated in the international arena and in terms of International cricket, ODI>T20 in terms of excitement and interest.

Posted by PDTM on (July 1, 2012, 4:20 GMT)

I would love the see T20s only for domestic teams, but it just isn't going to happen. Too many cricket boards rely on T20 internationals for a lot of funding, and you can't expect them to give that up for the good of the game. They may be gaining more from domestic tournaments these days, but that is being offset by first class competitions that are costly to maintain.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (July 1, 2012, 4:05 GMT)

I'm not sure I completely agree with restricting Test cricket to 8 teams but I do agree that Test cricket has limited opportunity to succeed outside of the current Test playing nations. The fact that Ireland are pushing for Test status suggests there are possibilities but other countries don't have England as a next-door neighbour and such a big influence. There's also no guarantee that Ireland will be especially competitive if and when they do receive Test status as it's a much harder game to succeed at. A real shake-up of when and where each format is played, as Ian suggests, may well be the best chance for the game as a whole. The cricket establishment will have to think out of the box a little. Does anyone know if they can do that?

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Ian ChappellClose
Ian Chappell Widely regarded as the best Australian captain of the last 50 years, Ian Chappell moulded a team in his image: tough, positive, and fearless. Even though Chappell sometimes risked defeat playing for a win, Australia did not lose a Test series under him between 1971 and 1975. He was an aggressive batsman himself, always ready to hook a bouncer and unafraid to use his feet against the spinners. In 1977 he played a lead role in the defection of a number of Australian players to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, which did not endear him to the administrators, who he regarded with contempt in any case. After retirement, he made an easy switch to television, where he has come to be known as a trenchant and fiercely independent voice.

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