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Former Australia captain, now a cricket commentator and columnist

Test cricket needs fewer teams, not more

Having the top Associate team play the lowest-ranked Test side without the threat of relegation shows how votes mean more to the ICC than results

Ian Chappell

April 20, 2014

Comments: 89 | Text size: A | A

Boyd Rankin was given his first go in Test cricket, Australia v England, 5th Test, Sydney, 1st day, January 3, 2014
Ireland's players who switched over to England haven't made much impact in Test cricket © PA Photos
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The ICC's recent announcement that it is providing a pathway to Test cricket for Associate nations almost - I stress, almost - made me forget the dysfunctional nature of the administration. For a fleeting moment I shelved my concerns about the Big Three power grab and the ICC's incoming president currently being barred by the Indian Supreme Court (pending a corruption inquiry) from holding the same position with the BCCI.

Surely the ICC's main priority is to address the flaws in Test cricket rather than add to them by introducing new teams. Not that the ICC announcement actually stated there will be any additions from among the Associates, but it made it abundantly clear there won't be any subtractions from the current ten member nations.

Wouldn't want to upset the balance of power in the boardroom voting, would we? Certainly not just for the sake of addressing what ails Test cricket.

The ICC's ill-conceived plan is to have the winner of the ICC Intercontinental Cup, a first-class tournament between Associate nations, play the lowest-ranked Test team in a series of five-day first-class matches held every four years, starting in 2018, two at home and two away.

This might seem to be a dream come true for the stronger Associate nations like Ireland, but the fine print acts like a cold shower. No Full Member, beaten by an Associate nation in one of these challenges, can be relegated. So if Ireland or Afghanistan or another strong Associate nation was to beat Zimbabwe or Bangladesh, or, heaven forbid, West Indies, it doesn't necessarily mean that Associate gets to play Test cricket.

That's reassuring, considering Test cricket is already in a state of competitive imbalance. There are four sides who rate as "strong" - South Africa, India, Australia and England. However, all four have flaws. India haven't won a match of any consequence away from home recently; England have dramatically slipped from strong to teetering on the brink of moderate; Australia have improved but are only months removed from 4-0 and 3-0 overseas thrashings; and South Africa could be in for a tough time following the retirements of stalwart allrounder Jacques Kallis and a strong leader, Graeme Smith.

Sri Lanka rank just outside that group but they struggle to produce quick bowlers and Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jaywardene, who form the spine of their batting, are edging ever closer to retirement. Pakistan continue to produce talented young cricketers but with no games at home this will become ever harder to replicate, and they already frustrate with their consistent inconsistency.

New Zealand fight like hell under a brave captain, Brendon McCullum, and they now possess a decent attack, but they have such a small player pool it's always a battle to match it with the superpowers.

Then we come to the saddest tale of all - West Indies. They have been a basket case for more than a decade and cricket desperately needs them to be strong, because playing well, they are a big draw card.

And Bangladesh and Zimbabwe as Test nations make for a misnomer that could only be dreamt up by a body more interested in votes than victory on the field.

Associate nations being elevated to Test level should be about them attaining a consistently high standard of play against strong opposition and developing a solid, dependable production line of players. It shouldn't be about one of them getting lucky with a talented group of players in one four-year period.

The ICC needs to be wary in its assessments, judging by the progress of Ireland's best players. It's not like the transfer to England's colours has seen Eoin Morgan, Ed Joyce or Boyd Rankin actually take Test cricket by storm.

And anyway, looking to add more Test nations when you already have two who shouldn't be playing and another team that needs serious help is ludicrous.

I don't think Ireland or Afghanistan or Netherlands or any other Associate nation should be playing Test cricket. However, neither should Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. To prosper, Test cricket needs to have more competitive balance not less.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator for Channel 9, and a columnist

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Posted by   on (April 25, 2014, 12:34 GMT)

Does Ian Chappell want cricket to be a global sport, or just a curiosity played by a few former British colonies and virtually unknown in the rest of the world? Because if his proposals were to be implemented, it would send the game towards the latter status for a long time. Excluding teams from Test cricket would be an easy way of dismantling any expansion it might have made over the last few decades.

Ireland and Afghanistan should be given Test status as soon as possible, with other teams added when their results merit it. Stipulate a minimum number of times teams must play each other - say two Tests at home and two away over a 5-6 year period - but allow them to arrange further series as they wish. So the lower teams would probably spend most of the time playing each other, but still get an occasional series against top teams - a tier system in effect, but one which only reduces the number of matches between teams of different tiers, rather than eliminating them completely.

Posted by aryanraw on (April 23, 2014, 6:19 GMT)

I am really disappointed by chappells take on test cricket .what we can make out of chappells take here is like making test cricket only for the privileged teams like the big three. and making other teams play the slam bang cricket.Its in fact good if teams like Ireland play test Cricket and even defeat West Indies..I don't know what he meant by saying Heaven Forbid if west indies get defeated by Ireland.Huh.i am really sorry for Ian chappell.He seems to be living in a fools paradise.If test cricket needs to survive and even Grow it needs to be played in maximum countries.Its not that only Australia Can play test cricket.We dont need persons like Chappell who by having such thinking are actually doing trying to destroy test cricket rather than doing any good for the ultimate game,The TEST CRICKET.

Posted by ChikaCasey on (April 22, 2014, 21:18 GMT)

I really wish something akin to "THE ASHES" were at stake every time a ball was bowled in a Test match. That's what'll save Test cricket. And even bring it into the limelight, which is where it deserves to be !

Each and every Test match and/or Test series should matter to the players & public, like the Ashes do to crowds in England and Australia. We don't need a Test Championship in 2017 or 2020 ... we need it NOW !

I can't see why the No.1 ranked team in the world, can't be awarded the title of Test-Champions right away, with rightful contenders issuing challenges, much like it happens in Boxing. The title goes to whoever wins.And other teams play each other to earn shots at the title. (Home advantage to higher ranked teams or title-holders).

Posted by bleedblue22 on (April 22, 2014, 6:57 GMT)

Test cricket needs to be split into 3 divisions, each consisting 5 teams. Promotion and relegation should happen over a 2 year cycle. Tier 1 teams should play 3 home & 3 away test against each team of their tier, thereby playing 12 tests a year. Tier 2 and Tier 3 teams should play 2 home & 2 away tests against teams of their respective tiers, thereby playing 8 tests a year. 4th and 5th team in Tier 1 should be relegated thereby granting promotion to 6th and 7th ranked team. 10th ranked team(i.e. last in Tier 2) should be relegated to Tier 3 and winner of Tier 3 would get promotion. This will ensure fair chance for every team to play against best teams. Moreover, there will be no dead rubbers.

Posted by ygkd on (April 22, 2014, 5:45 GMT)

McGorium is right to say that there is an unhealthy obsession with statistics in cricket and that may lead to an opinion that Test cricket has to be elitist in the extreme so that old records are not undercut by worthless new ones. Sport is full of mis-matches. Every football league has a side at the top, pretty much undefeated, and a side at the bottom, pretty much winless. It happens and people accept it. Maybe a 5-Test series between Bangladesh and Ireland would be a bad idea, but surely a one-off Test or 2-Test series would be appropriate (even Aus v SA is no longer a 5-Test event). There's Zimbabwe too. SL, WI, NZ and Pakistan could follow, once the newcomer's gained more experience. The game doesn't need a two-tier system. It already has one of sorts. Australia rarely play Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, but regularly turn out against India and England. If Ireland was to gain Test status, it would growing the game. That should be the aim - not shrinking it.

Posted by Little_Aussie_Battler on (April 21, 2014, 23:47 GMT)

As usual Ian Chappell is 100 percent spot on.

It is all well and good having all comers playing 'test' cricket but the reality is nobody is prepared to watch them play, particularly in the nations where test cricket is still watched in large numbers and does make money. Besides that, the players themselves from the top nations do not want to be out there conducting coaching clinics for average cricketers who are only there due to cricket politics.

Really test cricket needs to be trimmed back to a top 6 nations, have a play off for that 6th spot every four or so years from the rest.

Posted by   on (April 21, 2014, 23:31 GMT)

I think associate teams like Ireland and Afghanistan deserve their chance in test cricket. Perhaps a promotion relegation system could be employed every 4 years. How to do it is the question. Established test playing counties will not easily give up their status and that is the problem

Posted by   on (April 21, 2014, 23:27 GMT)

Ian Chapple has a point. Solution however more likely to be a two division set up with minimum 12 teams and relegation promotion on a two yearly championship. For a change Test matches that mean something!

Posted by McGorium on (April 21, 2014, 23:08 GMT)

I believe fans, cricketers, and administrators have an unhealthy obsession with statistics. I don't see any other reason for the test club to exist. To me, it appears to be an attempt to not dilute records of former greats by allowing the weaker teams into the club. If Ireland wishes to play Bangladesh in a 5-day game, there's no reason for it not to be called a test. There's some expense on ICC's side, like providing umpires, match refs etc. but surely that's not the reason. Market forces will always decide the number of tests played between teams; this has always been the way. Nobody complained when England were routinely thrashed home and away in the late 90's and early 2000s (ashes, but also other tours). The big 3 will always have more tours between themselves, because there's only so many loss-making tours that can be done. But if Ire wish to play Ban, they ought to be able to, and refer to it as an international test. The financial losses are their own.

Posted by   on (April 21, 2014, 22:29 GMT)

A test match between two evenly matched associate teams would be more interesting than the one sided contests we have been seeing of late between full member teams. May be they could play tests with each other and the best team could play against the weaker full members. Why should full members not be relegated for playing badly ?

Posted by   on (April 21, 2014, 21:08 GMT)

Ian Chappell thinks only Australia and England should play Test Cricket like in the good, old, old, old, old days. Wake up Ian !

The game is getting bigger, and it is only sensible that at this stage there should be at least 12 test playing countries.

Posted by Putty1978 on (April 21, 2014, 19:11 GMT)

I agree that the associate countries should not play test cricket yet but I feel they should play ODI's amongst themselves or other test playing nations if they get a chance. Take the example of football - India, SL, Pakistan do play international football matches right? FIFA doesn't tell these countries that they cannot play international matches because they are not good and suck at playing football. I think every nation if they have a cricket team and basic infrastructure should be able to play ODI's. This is the only way that cricket will spread to more countries. I think T20/IPL has been a revelation. People who complain about T20 and IPL are just stuck up with their old views.

Look what has happened to SL, they are a powerful cricketing nation. We gave them a chance in the 80's/70's and aren't they an important cricket playing nation?

Give everyone a chance, spread the love and the game of cricket. ---An Indian and a cricket enthusiastic.

Posted by   on (April 21, 2014, 19:08 GMT)

I like the idea of a two divisional format of test cricket that was being spoken about a month back except i didn't like the idea that india, aus and england would be exempt from relegation. A two divisional format without pointless discrimination will see more teams play test cricket, more competitively at two distinct levels on the whole. At the same time teams in the 2nd division will aspire for a spot in division 1 and will hence try harder. The prospect of relegation and promotion will make for interesting viewing in itself apart from the fact that by the very nature of the format competitiveness will increase.

Posted by   on (April 21, 2014, 19:01 GMT)

Well they will continue to have the same 14 nations interested in Cricket. By continually setting boundaries for people to enter the sport it will just wither away and people will soon be saying "Remember when people used to play a cricket match for five days...lol".

Posted by   on (April 21, 2014, 17:49 GMT)

'I don't think Ireland or Afghanistan or Netherlands or any other Associate nation should be playing Test cricket' Exactly Mr. Chappell you don't think. If Ireland or any associate gains Test status they will have earned it, the practice of a closed shop is nothing more than elitist sporting discrimination and the ICC have at last taken steps to end it, the prospect of England vs Ireland in test cricket is just mouthwatering. Nations aspiring to play the toughest challenge in the game should be encouraged not demeaned. #TestCricketforIreland

Posted by   on (April 21, 2014, 16:05 GMT)

I agree that Bangladesh was not ready for Test Cricket in 2000, but they have been playing for nearly 14 years now and you just can't take their test status away now. There has been progress and the nation has worked very hard to get where they are right now. Zimbabwe were a decent side in the 1990s and early 2000s, but their quality dropped significantly after quite a few of their best players were sacked in 2004. They have shown signs of improvement - the test win against Pakistan is proof of that. One thing I don't understand is why Chappell has rated New Zealand so much higher than the West Indies. The former is only slightly better than the latter, and that is also debatable. NZ did beat WI last year but WI won when they faced each other in the Caribbean.

Posted by   on (April 21, 2014, 13:37 GMT)

everyone said this about SL but look at us now. Bangladesh and Zimbabwe should be playing. Bangladesh will succeed soon. Look the best Ashes winning coaches for the POMS have been Zimbabweans.

Posted by   on (April 21, 2014, 13:19 GMT)

I don't agree with Mr. Chappell,l partly because if Test cricket has to grow it has to be played by more countries and agree with him partly because for any entity (not just cricket or sport) to be spread it has to be interesting so we need more balance. If we can incorporate relegation process then there will be a competition even for the last chair. By doing that we can achieve balance and associates can have chance at tests. They need to play tests with big guys in order for them to develop. They can't get good by themselves. We also need to be patient with countries which are still not yet to the mark. India started playing tests 1930s It took them 70 years o get to the top(only for few days though)

Posted by vallavarayar on (April 21, 2014, 12:29 GMT)

I thought Bangladesh is one of the top five Test playing nations. Maybe I got it wrong.

Posted by   on (April 21, 2014, 12:23 GMT)

Well to a degree i have to agree with Mr. Chappel but then again if test cricket is to grow it needs more countries to take part in it.Maybe Nagladesh could tour Australia,England and SA once a year and play with their A teams(the 3 teams A teams) and get a good assessment of there conditions,this in turn will help Bangladeshi players come up and be able to face good seam bowling in testing conditions(4 day games) well India to be honest hasn't played well at all outside Asia,compared to SL and Pakistan in the last 2 years.But on the bright side they have two good seamers in Aaron and Shami so atleast now they can challenge top sides outside asia,but it is important that Indian pitches give some help to these bowlers so they can take wickets,Sri lanka on the other hand have a couple of Good players coming through like Thirimanne and Karunarathne ,and many more so that is exciting! Lakmal and eranga have done well and need to be encouraged more,Australia by far looks the best team!

Posted by dunger.bob on (April 21, 2014, 10:07 GMT)

It didn't take long for this to develop into a slanging match but that's no surprise. Anyway I'm with Chappelli on this. What we need is high quality Test cricket, not simply more Test cricket. Only a ghoul wants to watch one team getting slaughtered game after game. (Unless that team is England of course, lol).

I can't agree that being fed to the sharks is the way to improve. It seems to me that the way forward is to develop a solid, competitive domestic FC structure before being thrown into Test cricket. You need some player depth to cover injuries, loss of form etc. .. Anyway, keep sniping at each other boys. It's mildly entertaining I suppose.

Posted by   on (April 21, 2014, 9:49 GMT)

Test cricket is a unique and wonderful format and needs first to be preserved and then to be spread wide. As several readers have suggested a two tier system of promotion-relegation over a 4/5 year cycle should be given a try. Only variation I might suggest is the promotion-relegation should be for the top and bottom three of the lower and upper divisions consisting of eight teams each.

Posted by   on (April 21, 2014, 8:39 GMT)

don't know about ireland but afghanistan looks very promising. I can see them being a strong test team in future.

Posted by flickspin on (April 21, 2014, 5:24 GMT)

i strongly disagree with ian chappell

i look foward to the day when nepal,afghanistan,uae,ireland, kenya and holland play test cricket.

big deal if they get beaten in 4 days.

australia,england & south africa have over 100 years of cricket history, west indies has 80 years of cricket history, pakistan and india have 60 years of cricket, new zealand have 50 years of cricket history, sri lanka have 30 years of cricket history, zimbabwe and bangladesh have 20 years of cricket history.

nepal,afghanistan,kenya,ireland, uae have no cricket history and are just starting to create their cricket history.

their is a strong correlation between money spent on athletes and success.

compare the irish,bangladeshians or afghanistan's money invested in thier cricketers compared to australia, i reckon the money would be for every $1 ireland spends australia would spend $10, ireland's budget is run on the fumes of a oily rag.

australian cricket is professionally run compared to other countries

Posted by mihir_nam on (April 21, 2014, 4:35 GMT)

Mr Chappell , What you think if FIFA works according to your Idea. We will never be able to see even so many good players in world cup . 8 Team Fifa world Cup . infact its shame that EURO Cup football has more teams than World Cup Cricket. Well as for Test goes , According to meaning less test matches then India should not tour Australia and England for 4 or 5 Test matches . 2 test ok against them. Australia also should tour for 2Test to India, Ashes should be in England only , and England will face Whitewash in Australia, World Cup Cricket should be of 4 teams Big 3 and one qualifier from rest of teams ,May be South Africa will qualify, Well when it goes to Ireland , Team which can produce players who can represent world no2 team in Test that time when they debut , Why can't their home country play test. Even they have proved from time to time by winning IC cup 4-day competition for Associates four times.Let them play Ban,Zim,WI,PAk for first 5 years .

Posted by HyperNova on (April 21, 2014, 4:13 GMT)

To say that Eoin Morgan, Ed Joyce and Boyd Rankin have not taken the world by storm in Test cricket is ridiculous and unfair. As Ireland was not a Test nation, they were not able to gain the required development for a player to progress in Test cricket, cause Cricket Ireland had no intention of developing players for Test cricket. Cricket Ireland wanted to develop the game so that cricket in Ireland could improve and currently, that is happening. If Ireland was to receive Test status, then that would be catalyst for Cricket Ireland to invest more in development of players cause they would then know, that future players would be playing at the highest level of cricket. So Ian Chappell, you are talking complete nonsense, if you feel that a sport only requires 5 or 6 teams and ignore every single nation cause 'they are not good enough', then you harming the development of the game worldwide.

Posted by roversgate on (April 21, 2014, 3:15 GMT)

This is such a narrow minded way of thinking. Just because Bangladesh is taking a while to settle at the highest level and Zimbabwe is playing at extreme level changes doesn't mean we can deny other associates from making it. With the exception of Pakistan, all other test teams haven't tasted success immediately after entering test cricket. It is just a part of the game.

Plus if another associate team joins in then Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, West Indies and the associate can all play each other until they have a settled unit and can fight with the bigger test teams (not included NZ because of recent success).

You never know, Ireland and/or Afghanistan might actually become very competitive in a decade after entry. Unfortunately, the game is such that it will take them that long but we need to give them a chance to try.

Posted by bikigupta on (April 21, 2014, 3:02 GMT)

Mr. Chappell has raised a few decent issues in the article. However, with due respect to his opinion, I have another ideas to what he concludes. I agree that teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are incapable of giving competition of any sort to the teams above them, let alone prove them as capable test playing nations. However, depriving them completely the chance to play test cricket would hamper the development of the game in their nations significantly. To me the best solution would be to divide the entire roster into two levels, i.e. the upper tier and the lower tier, as has been suggested previously by a number of veterans and enthusiasts. The upper tier should consist of 10 nations and the lower tier of 6. 2 nations to be relegated from upper tier every four years and 2 to be elevated from the lower tier. This will not only encourage the game in nations like Ireland and Netherlands but also hold a threat to Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to raise their game.

Posted by Bishop on (April 21, 2014, 2:15 GMT)

When it comes down to it "Test" is just a word, and what we should be talking about is 5-day international cricket. By having a "Test" tier, you are obligating all the teams within that tier to play each other. This will cause problems. The answer is to scrap the current "Test" rating system for a FDI (5-day international) rating system that includes all the teams. Teams such as BD, Zim and Ire would tend to play the struggling top eight teams, as well as the better performing associates, but without the stigma of "relegation" or the prospect of never playing the top teams again. Top teams touring Eng might consider a 5-day match in Ireland at the beginning of the tour - similarly Zim ahead of tours to SA, and Bang ahead of Indian tours. In order to preserve records, matches would be given "test" status only if both teams' ranking exceeds a certain cutoff point. Each 5-day match would have context, because it would move a team closer to or further away from the Test status point.

Posted by ThatsJustCricket on (April 21, 2014, 2:09 GMT)

Chappel is right in saying that test cricket needs more balance in competitiveness. However, stopping anyone new entering the club or dropping some existing members is not the answer. This is where a two tier system can do wonders.

Posted by ygkd on (April 21, 2014, 0:27 GMT)

Yes, there is a gap between the abilities of those at the top and the bottom of the Test nations. Yes, adding another Test nation will not close that gap. So what is to be done about closing that gap? Surely, there are a number of things which could be tried. The amalgamation or expansion of domestic First Class competitions across borders (eg NZ & Aust; Ireland & Scotland & Nethds, Zim & SA one day hopefully) is the sort of measure that could improve the lower tier. Reducing red tape on players travelling across borders is another (at least as a one-shift-only-per-player measure), allowing big-4 fringe types fast opportunities elsewhere. More opportunities for the non-top 4 to play. A reasonable slice of the financial pie for all concerned. Even having an all-Associates Test team is a worthwhile investment. Test cricket cannot survive on a diet of big-4 alone. Yes, there are problems, but this time I can't agree with Chappelli. Ireland's ECB players should be there for all-Ireland.

Posted by kentjones on (April 20, 2014, 23:39 GMT)

Mr. Chappell, I agree fully with you hear. The standard of test cricket must be maintained to ensure that performances stay at the highest level always. Test cricket must always remain the ultimate 'test' for batsman or bowler in order that the performances are always evaluated from the highest perspective. Associate nations and those on the periphery may have to be weeded out to ensure that the highest levels are maintained. I have no problem with involvement in the shorter format of all the cricketing nations, but leave test cricket for the best teams.

Posted by jb633 on (April 20, 2014, 23:25 GMT)

I agree on certain points but not in particular with others. I would say both NZ and Pak are decent test sides with strong performances at home and weak away. They are the same as pretty much all the other sides at the moment. I see WI giving up test cricket entirely by 2020 as they seem to have no appetite for that format and their best players are too busy making money playing IPL or Big Bash. I think test cricket should be based on which countries actually value it. IMO the way Sri Lanka have taken to T2O cricket is having a great detrimental effect on their test side. I fear for SL in the longer format and am not sure how much their board cares about its welfare. For me Pakistan are a big concern. Pakistan have always been a very entertaining test match side as they can play in all conditions and have the bowlers to take wickets anywhere. My concern for them is the fact that sides like ENG/AUS seem more reluctant to arrange series with them because the finances are not favourable.

Posted by SLSup on (April 20, 2014, 22:44 GMT)

AC, BCCI, and ECB are not all about cricket. It's pirmarily about securing power that the commerce could afford them and about maintaining that power and influence thereafter. I can't think of a single decision these three boards have come up with that BENEFITS cricket. As someone who'd come to expect ZILCH from these bodies, I cannot say I am dissappointed.

As for Ireland, Netherlands, and Afhanistan not playing cricket. I think reasoable people can agree except, perhaps, if when the reason being sighted is because we have BNG & ZIM that "should'nt' be" playing cricekt. BNG & ZIM worked hard to earn Test status and have fallen away. It doesn't mean another team cannot knock on doors. However, REMOVING Test status MUST be on the table for countries that don't keep up. If BNG had two more sessions and Sanga had not scored almost 50% of runs for SL in the last BNG/SL Test, SL would have lost THAT Test, too!

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (April 20, 2014, 22:16 GMT)

As a T20 fan, I don't care about Test cricket. In fact, I don't think Test cricket will survive beyond 2020, no pun intended. It's a harsh truth that no country outside of England and Australia really want to watch the format. There are empty stadiums everywhere when the white cloths are donned. Look at the UAE now with the IPL going on. It's MAGICAL and beautiful to see entire families, different age groups including toddlers, people new to cricket altogether, even neutrals who have no representative players playing in the league such as SL/PAK fans coming to the stadiums to support the tournament. This happens all the time whenever T20 cricket is played around the world. Test cricket, no matter how pure it may be, how old it may be will never achieve that. Hence, the ICC will do well to ensure at least some of the associates like Ireland, Afghanistan, Scotland etc. get to play the format. It won't help Test cricket survive but at least ensure it breathes just a little longer.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (April 20, 2014, 22:09 GMT)

With all due respect to Ian Chappell, I sincerely feel this is one of the most ridiculous articles ever written on cricket. The last thing Test cricket needs is fewer teams playing the format. It's already a dying format which has next to zero interest outside of England and Australia. If you shrink an already truncated group with realistically only 8 teams playing good Test cricket excluding Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, you will accelerate the death of Test cricket sooner than later. Test cricket will never be embraced globally, it will never reach new audience, it will never catch the imagination or interest levels of youngsters as it is. If we follow Mr Chappell's proposal, Test cricket will be doomed. The smart thing to say would be to keep the current set of teams by ensuring there is Test cricket played throughout the year in a two tier system with relegation. Sadly, the Big Three don't want relegation on the ground of money-minting.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 21:57 GMT)

I've said this before to friends: in order increase interest in Test cricket, there needs to be tables of 4 teams each, at the end of which the bottom team Tier 1 plays the top team in Tier 2. As of now, Tier 1 would be Eng, Ind, Aus and SA. Tier 2 would be SL, WI, Pak and NZ. Tier 3 (4 day matches) would be Zim, Bang, Ire and whoever is 12th. Tier 4 (3 day matches), Tier 5+ 1 day matches.

I would even consider having a series including Test, 1 day and 20/20 cricket at some point value towards the table.

I know they would never go for this because:

1. The Big 3 could at some time get relegated. 2. Zimbabwe and Bangladesh don't want to be reduced to 4 day games.

But over the last few years of seeing dwindling attendance, something needs to be done.

Posted by Baundele on (April 20, 2014, 21:30 GMT)

Test cricket is just another format of cricket. It needs a different set of skills, e.g. compared to T20 cricket. Nothing else. For the sake of expanding cricket, ICC should allow test status to more cricket nations. The duty of developing cricket and making it 'test standard' must be done by both the cricket nation and the ICC. Reducing the number of test teams, only 10 at the moment, will aid killing cricket's globalization.

Posted by StevieS on (April 20, 2014, 21:20 GMT)

TheRisingTeam OK how many tests have Bangladesh won in the peroid that they have been playing test cricket? How many tests have NZ won in the same period. The point is they shouldnt even be playing test cricket, they are just as hopeless as they were when I first watched them. "unpopular NZ team", childish remark, not even worth commenting on.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 20:58 GMT)

Simple , relegate zim and Bangladesh so they play Inter Cont Cup and reduce their funding drastically and spread it among the top associate sides.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 20:49 GMT)

I like how there are quite a few Indians saying how they should be top tier and nz should be 2nd tier when we have recently showed them why we shouldn't be. Surely if India is as good as people say they are then we should never have beaten them comprehensively at home

Posted by Anti_ZCFOutkast on (April 20, 2014, 20:28 GMT)

@Gagg: Have Zimbabwe ever beaten a team in the top 8 you ask? You must have a short memory as they beat Pakistan in a test match last year. Zimbabwe have even won a test series against Pakistan in Pakistan. What does Zimbabwe have to do to get some respect? Even when we beat the so-called elite, people are calling for our removal from cricket. Zimbabwe won more tests in 2013 than Australia and India did.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 19:05 GMT)

1 thing which people dont realise is that we can have 20 test teams with all teams in the same tier. there should not be any requirement of a team having to play all the remaining 19 teams. south africa, had not played any test match against india & west indies before their readmission despite india & west indies having got test status around 1930. both of them did not get any series against south africa in their 1st 60+ years of test cricket. also, even if a new test team gets 2-3 tests in a year, even thats fine

ireland, scotland & netherlands will be more interested in getting tests against england & australia rather than getting tests against sri lanka or new zealand. same with afghanistan & nepal, they will want to play more against india & pakistan, rather than west indies or south africa

Posted by Happy_hamster on (April 20, 2014, 18:48 GMT)

Lets face it the top teams don't want to play Bangladesh or Zimbabwe, even England and Australia (big test following) struggle to sell out tests against them, TV and advertising money is thus reduced. I for one agree with Chapelli and don't think more, weaker teams playing tests is the future, ODI's and T20 are the way for associate teams (and realistically Zim and the Banga boys) the practicalities of trying to expand is unrealistic and talk of America/China in the future is frankly ridiculous, I live in the states and it will never ever happen I tell thee.

Posted by unclelen on (April 20, 2014, 18:39 GMT)

All Test countries have to start somewhere. It takes years to build a strong,consistent squad. Remember what Sri Lanka were like 30 years ago? Compare that to now. Even Zimbabwe were getting a good side together until Mugabe went on his path of ethnic cleansing. There are Associate sides who are crying out for higher quality cricket. If they aren't good enough to play the top sides, let the lesser sides play full tours against each other. The odd Test against a top side will bring them in some money and regular Tests against lower ranked sides will increase their competitiveness. Maybe bring in Two divisions of Test Cricket making it more competitive

Posted by Mannix16 on (April 20, 2014, 18:07 GMT)

The problem is not money or viewership numbers, it is (and should always be) about the cricket itself. Yes, test cricket is facing a crisis in which not many fans want to watch, yet almost all the players put test cricket/first class cricket above any other form of the game. As long as this continues to be the top priority of cricket players, there will be no problem. That being said, it makes sense that almost all players from Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland, etc dream of representing their country in Test cricket. You take that away from them, and you are doing a disservice to the game by not allowing cricket to spread. I am all for a 2 Tier system in which 10-12 teams are in Class 1 and another 10-12 associate nations are in a Class 2 system and at the end of a season (4 years), the bottom rank fight the top ranked for the place in Class 1. We need more regulation of tours in which instead of Aus/Eng/Ind playing every other month, they also need to tour other nations as well equally

Posted by salazar555 on (April 20, 2014, 15:44 GMT)

I agree, 'the big 4 teams' don't even want to play the likes of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh let alone an associate team. The crowds and thus thus the money isn't there. England really just want to play against Australia and India because that's where the money is, both the TV money and the gate money.

Get small teams involved in 20/20, test cricket is what it is and good intentions aren't going to change that

Posted by TheRisingTeam on (April 20, 2014, 14:29 GMT)

@Gagg: How many years have Ban and Zim played Test Cricket compared to West Indies and New? invalid point mate. Obviously New and West overall are still way ahead of Ban and Zim in terms of class, ability and professionalism but they don't play anywhere near the amount of Cricket as your small unpopular NZ team.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 14:26 GMT)

all these people clamoring for test how many of you have watched a whole day at the stadium or on tv. look at the audience for test matched outside England and australia-let us be real instead of being emotional . Chappell is right how many of the big guys intend to play Bangladesh or Zimbabwe for a full tour?

Posted by Wealwayslosethecricket on (April 20, 2014, 14:01 GMT)

Some good points raised in this article, but I'm not really sure how you could go about revoking a nation's test status. If Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are struggling in their current status of being below par test teams, the loss of the opportunity to play test cricket would be massively detrimental to the development of cricketers in those countries. Also considerable financial losses and lack of interest from the public would probably result, leading to a decline in domestic leagues in Zim and Ban which might cause the sport to never recover in the country. Even for the high level associates the prospect of one day playing test cricket a few years down the track is sort of the light at the end of the tunnel for a lot of players and if that gets taken away then there will be little to no chance of the weaker countries ever catching up to the top level test nations.

I like the idea of an all-star associate team playing a test nation in a ODI series- Might give an idea of where they're at

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 13:29 GMT)

Disagree with Chaps here...the game needs expansion at all levels...sure there are imbalances but more strong nations are needed and particularly a strong West Indian and Pakistan team.These should be urgent priorities.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 13:29 GMT)

The test cricket should be divided into two divisions.The top 8 teams in 1st division.And Bottom two and the top 6 from the associates in the 2nd division.That way we will actually be able to see some competition.

Posted by StevieS on (April 20, 2014, 13:09 GMT)

Rafelgibt because unlike Bagladesh and Zimbabwe, New Zealand and WI have a chance to beat the top teams away from home, NZ won the last test they played in Australia and Sri Lanka. Have Bangladesh or Zimbabwe ever won a test away besides against each other? Have those two teams ever beaten anyone in the top 8, ever?

Posted by A.Kessell on (April 20, 2014, 12:34 GMT)

If you want to keep the cricket world segragated, but still grow the game in existing associates you have to create proper context for those nations. At the moment a team like Canada or Holland play WC qualifiers, those are the only meaningfull fixtures from an non-cricketing perspective, all the intercontinentalcup matches are essentialy meaningless. If you want to keep them apart from the big boys, but still have them contribute more in an effort to grow then they need to have more fixtures amongst themselves that are meaningfull to those outside the game that have to bring in the cash or tv camera's or other form of assistance. Now the ICC cant create a new Cup, they just cut one, but maybe having having the sport be part of the olympics and having the required qualifing rounds (that the big boys will propably send their A sides to, considering their packed scedule and allready decent paychecks) would yield enough new interest and sustained competition

Posted by ImonG on (April 20, 2014, 12:21 GMT)

I think if test cricket is to be kept attractive in the long run, there has to be some inclusiveness to it for other nations to aspire. There has to be some sort of incentive for lesser ranked teams & associates to keep them interested in test cricket, and a relegation & promotion based test status is ideal for that. Yes I agree its not a football league, but considering the number of participants it can be surely treated like one. Playing Test cricket should not be a birth right, & if countries like Brazil Argentina, Italy, Germany etc have to play the qualifiers to play the world cup, there should no reason that teams from Aus, Eng, Ind, Pak, WI, NZ, SL should have a continuous right to play test cricket irrespective of how good they are. Let there be a relegation & promotion based system for all teams. If Man Utd, Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Real Madrid can be relegated from their leagues because of poor performence some where in their history, no reason why the test status cant be

Posted by Ace89 on (April 20, 2014, 12:16 GMT)

I don't think many people would be calling for a 2 tier structure with NZ and WI losing out.

However, a 2 tier structure of 8 teams each makes more sense for competitive cricket, with the 2nd tier having promotion/relegation. Also makes sense to have 16 team world events based on rankings and/or qualifiers.

To improve cricket, the focus then must be on improving domestic cricket in each country and make it sustainable, like what Fifa focuses on.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 12:04 GMT)

What about a combined associates team? They play one series a year. The players go back to there local setups and pass on what they have learned. Surely they can make one decent team between all the associate players.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 11:59 GMT)

only top 8 teams must play regular test cricket. BD and Zim must play with Ireland and Afg etc and the winner must play Test cricket for 4 years or so. Thats the way. My first priority is to Exclude BD from test cricket from immediate effect because Zim is a team that is improving but BD is not

Posted by John-Price on (April 20, 2014, 11:55 GMT)

Whenever this topic is raised multiple comments arise, all subscribing to the myth that poor sides become good sides by playing against better sides and getting thrashed. This is simply not the case. If Ireland or Afghanistan were to be made a test team with a full set of fixtures all that would happen is the same as as happened to Bangladesh - defeat, after defeat and defeat; generations of players coming and gong without ever getting close to a real test match victory.

One precondition for test cricket should be a pool of players with proven first class ability, including a nucleus who have the kind of outstanding record that promises well for test cricket. To achieve this countries will need a proper professional structure and big public interest; the only hope I can see is Afghanistan.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 11:54 GMT)

Why do we always look at teams when we talk of cricket.......why don't we talk seprately of seperate players....cricket has already set its feet in a good number of nations......it might be a case where some players from a nation might be good test players.....but why does our system let them overshadowed just because they belong to "associate nations".......i am not actually pointing towards franchise cricket but i think there should be establishment of some zones......zonal test cricket that is......where you donot have to wait for 5 years or so for residentship........example Brendon Taylor should have been given a chance from SA or any full member nation....

Posted by A.Kessell on (April 20, 2014, 11:53 GMT)

We need to get to a place where a person in Canada (for example) can become a full time cricketer contracted by his board and playing televised limited overs cricket among the top 18/20 orso nations year round, earning a living comparable with other less high profile sports in their country. Untill this happens there is no way for these countries to be sustainable test nations. Playing year round against the top teams is the only way to both make associates better and grow the game, and the best formats in which to do that are the limited overs.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 11:47 GMT)

is it possible to hold most of test matches at neutral venues.? just to avoid home advantage and get less biased match ? say AUS vs ENG ashes held in India for example ?

Posted by A.Kessell on (April 20, 2014, 11:46 GMT)

obviously this sort of sentiment is going to cause a gut reaction among people like myself, who are big supporters of associate cricket, apon seeing the headline it seems like a gut punch to the lower ranked teams. But this is an argument I have been making for a while, Test cricket is a red herring. Ian is right when he says that it needs to be more competative across the board and introducing a new team will not help the balance. What is important for associate cricket is a more level playing field and more matches against the top 10 when it comes to ODI and T20, formats in which they have a lot more playing expierence and in which they have a proven track record of being able to beat higher ranked teams. They need more matches, more local interest and more funding. Instead of a grand total of 4 matches for 1 or 2 associates, cricket needs to evolve to the point where these associate players can be centrally contracted by their boards which will broaden the competative game. contunes

Posted by thandsmut on (April 20, 2014, 11:10 GMT)

I somehow can't imagine Chappelli expressing these views had he the misfortune to be born in Limerick, The Hague or Kabul. The problems he mentions with the game are real but are nothing compared with the big issue - most of the world doesn't know the game exists. To achieve the greatness it deserves the game must be in the hearts and minds of all the world - meaning eventually all countries must be included. And I don't see soccer suffering because, for example Germany is so much better than the Philippines.

Posted by imtiazjaleel on (April 20, 2014, 10:03 GMT)

Mr. Chappell is right, because the balance between teams is not right. there is a huge gap between the standards. Playing test cricket for the sake of cricket is not good. Any sport which is one sided doesn't make interesting for the viewers. T20 or ODI is ok becoz one or two players can win the match.

Posted by Warm_Coffee on (April 20, 2014, 10:00 GMT)

The problem with few teams is that rankings tables will become useless and everyone will laugh due to the small teams that are in it therefore damaging Cricket's reputation as a sport. I agree teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are clearly struggling in the long form and even against teams like West Indies and New Zealand who rank just above them know they are likely to lose this with ease especially heavily when they tour away.

But question to Chappell when was the last time Australia played Bangladesh or Zimbabwe in a test match? if the big teams don't help the smaller teams then we all know what's really happening. The reason Ireland could be playing test Cricket is to grow the game more and allow weak test teams more long form Cricket since as you can see big teams like Australia and India are unwilling to play teams from New Zealand and below in tests. Its sort of like a catch-22 if you look at it carefully and judge these thing accordingly.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 9:18 GMT)

People disclaim teams like New Zealand, West Indies and Sri Lanka. All three teams are stronger than people give them credit for. You just have to take a look at England, India and Australia as examples. England 10 years ago were ranked 7-8 and they held that spot for 3-4 years. Over the last 3 years, England have been dominant in world cricket, times change. I relate this to New Zealand currently now. New Zealand just beat the 2nd best test side in the world. They also beat WI 2-0 in the test series before that. They aren't a tier two team no more. This is why the system is flawed. Over the last few years, NZ have been a poor test side. They only played Zim, Bang and the West Indies. As soon as we got a shot at SA, we lost bad. The boys learned a lesson, they then went on to beat India. Point is, teams go through bad stages. Restricting who they play is not the answer. There's an old saying, to be the best you have to beat the best. A tier system is just stupid!

Posted by Jadejafan on (April 20, 2014, 9:05 GMT)

There are many problems with Test Cricket. 1 as article already mentions the clear difference of quality of all the test teams. 2 lack of interest and dismal crowds. England are the only team that brings in packed test grounds but the rest especially West Indies and New Zealand hardly a 100 people for a test match day even on weekends. 3 most touring teams struggle badly hence one sided contests a lot of the time in tests these days i.e. India thrashing Australia 4-0 but Australia thrashing India 4-0 and then England 5-0. And 4 lot of pitches these days are flat hence making the game unexciting and too one dimensional. These problems can easily be rectified but question the commitment in improving the test game from its problems.

Posted by Jadejafan on (April 20, 2014, 8:44 GMT)

And that's why Cricket is pretty much unpopular and disliked by most of the world due to the game being so restricted. Though have to admit the quality of test teams today is massive so Chappell is pretty much correct. I agree Zimbabwe and Bangladesh shouldn't really be playing test Cricket due to their clear struggles but why are they and some of the others as well struggling? its because of lack of interest and a very poor first class structure.

Remember what Rahul Dravid said not so long ago? he said that its best if the bigger teams help these smaller teams to become all the more competitive in the longer version for example India helping Bangladesh i.e. first class team participating in Ranji Trophy or something. England helping West Indies and South Africa helping Zimbabwe.

Posted by pradeep_dealwis on (April 20, 2014, 8:38 GMT)

I actually agree mostly with Chappell....ODIs and T20 are the forms of cricket for the associates, not just because they don't have the talent, but more so because those countries don't have the fan interest to sustain Tests. What id on't agree with is, how is India in a top group when they are probably weaker than SL, Pakistan and NZ? Cricket wise, of course.

Posted by Rafelgibt on (April 20, 2014, 8:35 GMT)

This is like Mr. Chappel is saying the same thing (quite ridiculous) on behalf of BIG3.If you want to make TEST cricket more competitive then why only reduce BAN and ZIM?Why not reduce NZ and WI as well so that super 6 compete with each other and it will generate more revenue.Basically, you are saying the same thing like the BIG3 that "Without us nobody has any right to play Cricket".Such a shame.100% disagree with your expert opinion.

Posted by ultimatewarrior on (April 20, 2014, 8:13 GMT)

I will suggest there should be 3 internal groups Group A (Ind/Aus/SA/Eng) Group B(Pak/Sri/NZ/WI/BD/Zim) C(Top 5-8 Associate)....then matches should be played between...(I) 4 Teams from A & Top 2 Teams from B should play big series of 3/4/5 matches ..home & away(II)Bottom 3 from B & Top 2 from C should play small sized series of 1/2 matches (III)Bottom 3 from B also gets small sized home series against any 3 from top 6 & away series against remaining 3 from top 6 (IV)Associates among themselves should play as it is...........It may give(I)best test cricket (II) & (III)motivation to come into best(IV)motivation to play official test

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 8:12 GMT)

Excuse me, why are people bringing up that 2 tier system again? And to those who're keeping NZ and WI to 2nd tier, I asl you what have we done to be stated there. WI are a formidable force on home tracks with a batsman averaging 50+. Same with NZ, we don't have a standout performer if someone sits out to replace. That way, what have sri lanka, pakistan and yes, India done to be in 1st tier? Australia have started playing brilliant cricket but what about the results before that? England have recently suffered and so have south africa with retirements of Kallis and Smith. Sri Lanka don't even play tests and pak (kudos to them in holding themselves without playing at home) are so inconsistent. India haven't won anything outside. Please let cricket as it is, no need of tiers and if they are to come, I won't see a reason why WI and NZ be in tier 2.

Posted by dalboy12 on (April 20, 2014, 8:10 GMT)

I'm guessing that everyone who has commented on how good a two tier system would be for test cricket comes from countries that would be in the top tier. As a Kiwi, I hate the idea, it would be the death of test cricket here in NZ., not to mention we just won a series against India. Also what about ODI's which form an important part of tours and where NZ has very competitive of late, beating a number of the top tier teams. NZ has also drawn a series with Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka recently. In summary, a tier system is something that will do nothing good for the game in NZ and nor is it something that I believe the team deserves.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 7:55 GMT)

Cricket needs to expand not contract, you can't have a few countries playing and expect to be a strong game. The more teams playing test cricket the more the lower teams get games and the more they improve. Obviously these teams need to have a good first class domestic competition, modeled off existing test teams.

Posted by stormy16 on (April 20, 2014, 7:34 GMT)

Fair point Ian but I think all debates need to recgnize the context. For example if we went with your theory in the year 2000, its possible both Eng or India would not make the cut to the top 8. Also given the current trend of the the ICC 8 will soon become 3 but fortunately since the 3 doesnt include the best team in the world 4. The point is we can debate the make up but THE number 1 point which will give the lower ranks teams to be competitive is an equal playing field. For example you cant expect Zim to improve if they dont play test cricket against the other nations and the same applies for Bangladesh. There is little point in Eng/Aus/Ind playing 10 tests each against each other in a 12 month period and wondering why the other teams arent improving. The starting point for the ICC is an equal playing field = 3 test home and away in a 4 year period. If Ashes, Border/Gavasker need to happen they must happen within this framework but the framework cannot be compromised.

Posted by PandemoniumBawa on (April 20, 2014, 6:38 GMT)

I think it is fair to say that u put Australia with Mitch Johnson against Nepal or South Africa with Dale Steyn up against Scotland, it is a mismatch.. But it won't be a mismatch, if ICC give a right to Associate nations to play cricket at their level.. Like how they have in soccer leagues..

U can play but against teams at your level.. Also, they should remove Zimbabwe and Bangladesh from the top cricket circle.. Let Ire, Zim, Ban, Afg, Nep, UAE, HK, Scot, Neth play amongst themselves and after every 2 or 4 years promote 2 teams to the top circle..

Only then will it be fair play for associate nations..

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 6:33 GMT)

2 tier Test cricket. Tier 1- India, Australia, England, South Africa, Pakistan & Sri Lanka Tier 2- West Indies, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Ireland, Afghanistan 6 year cycle tournaments against each other with 1 relegation and 1 promotion every 6 year. Tier 1 and Tier 2 teams may play one off test match according bilateral contracts if agreed by both boards. This may happen only 3 times each six year cycle. So that Tier two teams may have a reality check. Expansion of the game is only possible by letting the teams play in the highest level. ICC can encourage American/Chinese sponsors to sponsor in global tournaments also. This is how the financial crisis may also get solved.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 6:31 GMT)

excellent article 100% agreed with Ian chappel ,rightly said ICC has to make test cricket more competitive between top 8 sides exclude zimbabwe and Bdesh but ICC won't do it because Big3 needs votes

Posted by ra56 on (April 20, 2014, 6:21 GMT)

I always like Ian Chappal analysis he saild right things i think only four nation respect test cricket India Austarlia, SouthAfrica, England but England is really responsible life of test cricket these four nations should play test cricket rest hould get revenue by playing 2020.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 6:04 GMT)

There should be no formal distinction between Test and non-Test nations. Do Nepal and Hong Kong want to have a Test? Ok, fine! No skin of my Aussie nose. Informally there might be an elite four or elite six which fans think of as "real test teams". But that will be informal, and there will be no absurd rule privileging, say, Zimbabwe is over Ireland.

Only the statistics keepers will have to adapt: maybe an innings is only included in your average if it is against a top-8 nation. Perhaps we should already make such a distinction.

Posted by mihir_nam on (April 20, 2014, 5:35 GMT)

Indian Test hardly even went to 4th day in last Australian and England tour. So according to competitiveness of sport India should not play more then 1 or 2Test in these countries . And now India is touring for 5 Test after 4-0 thrashing. infact it should have been reduced

Posted by RottPhiler on (April 20, 2014, 5:17 GMT)

Which is why cricket should go the North American way and become franchised sport, with a World Cup (or Test Championship) every 4 years to play for national pride. The majority of cricket should however be franchise based, with trades, salary caps and the works. This would solve the following problems

1) Pietersen - If the franchise thinks the player is detrimental to their team, simply trade him to a franchise that is willing to work with him, and best utilize him. It is a shame that Pietersen is lost to the highest level of cricket and its innumerable fans.

2) Vettori/Lara - Great players both, two of the best ever to play the game. It was sad to see them languishing with bad teams and playing out their careers. Sport at its essence is about winning. These two champions not winning as much as they should have is a tragedy.

3) Dinesh Karthik - Sadly his career coincided with MS Dhoni's, and since they play the same position DK is kept out of the team, when worse players play.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 4:32 GMT)

This article forces me to look back at the promotion-relegation policy of the ICC. In order to mantain the proper balance I think that relagation could be handy because at some point or the other test cricket is going to need more aand new nations. Relagating a Bangladesh for some other nattion like Afganistan might actually tturn out to be handy.

Posted by PratUSA on (April 20, 2014, 4:12 GMT)

I disagree. Yes a one sided test match is not that anyone wants to see and yes even test matches between Bangladesh or Zimbabwe and a top team are often not competitive but test cricket won't thrive or survive by cutting out newer teams. Ireland vs South Africa might be no match but let Ireland and Bangladesh play 'test' cricket. I keep saying it, every team including India, West Indies etc were struggling first and were often only playing 3 day tests so to expect a new team to come ready to beat a big team is unfair. If it was up to me, I'll give test status right now to at least 3 or 4 more teams. That can be the only way forward.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 3:56 GMT)

Absolutely spot on. However i believe Ireland should still be given a shot at tests given how the Irish perform fairly well in the county championship. Zimbabwe should have a first class system integrated with South Africa. And Bangladesh with India, For the moment however none of those countries should be playing tests. I would say the same for WI but that would mean the death knell of tests in the Caribbean, and my conscience won't let me.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2014, 3:44 GMT)

agreed. ironically this may be the best time to take tough decisions like relegating bang and zim, with power in the hands of few.

Posted by goabnb94 on (April 20, 2014, 3:28 GMT)

I actually think test cricket would really be improved by having tiers. This means that the top tier like England, South Africa, Australia, India and possibly Sri Lanka play each other in a sort of series tournament fashion, and the bottom tier like West Indies, New Zealand, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and maybe an associate or two play in the same fashion. Then, the top team from the bottom tier and the bottom team from the top tier play it out in a series, and the winner goes into the top tier. This means struggling teams play other struggling teams, and top teams test their might against other top teams. I feel this will help every team, as Bangladesh will never get better by playing South Africa, but they certainly need more matches, and they will only get more matches if they can win some. This also means South Africa will be tested, not just winning games against struggling nations, because watching a thrashing isn't nearly as entertaining as a hard fought battle.

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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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