May 4, 2014

We need a think tank for Test cricket

There can be greater competitiveness in five-day cricket if only the ICC spends some time thinking about long-term solutions for the game
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As winter bears down on Australia and football news abounds, it was surprising to hear cricket - especially the Test version - flooding the news with reports of the national team regaining the No. 1 ranking. It was even more surprising to hear the captain, Michael Clarke, say: "I don't think I've had a more satisfying day or feeling in my career."

It's not that I don't think Clarke should be pleased with the achievement. But I would have thought the events of December 17 and March 5 would have brought more satisfaction. Those were the dates when Australia regained the Ashes in Perth and clinched the series against South Africa in Cape Town.

Surely winning on the field by defeating an opponent in a hard-fought battle means more than a computer clicking over to confirm a ranking?

That thought led me to mull over matters like the World Test Championship and other considerations for the longer game.

With the battle for No. 1 in Test cricket now more evenly contested than when first West Indies and then Australia completely dominated the game, it's the ideal time to introduce a world Test championship. The fact that such a tournament has languished as a result of minimal television interest is further condemnation of an administration that lacks both credibility and foresight.

No greater expert on the matter than media magnate Kerry Packer, who in the late 1970s disrupted cricket to eventually gain the rights to televise Australian cricket, once implored Rugby League officials: "Never let a media company run your sport." If the ICC marketing men can't put together an attractive television package for a world Test championship then they are either not trying or their selling credentials are worse than mine.

Instead of bickering over power and how the money will be split, it would be more productive if the ICC initiated a think-tank on Test cricket. In addition to coming up with a feasible format for a world Test championship, ideas on how to revitalise the game - like how best to fast-track day-night Tests and improve the competitiveness of the bottom half of the competition - could be kicked around.

It's interesting to hear players of the calibre of Clarke and Kevin Pietersen say they are not sold on day-night Tests. During Packer's World Series Cricket, played more than 35 years ago, the Super Tests were played at night. I enjoyed playing those games. The time frame allowed you to avoid the heat of the day and was more conducive to large attendances, but the one downside was the ball. Finding the right colour and durability is the key to day-night Tests. That and ensuring you don't play matches at venues where there's likely to be heavy dew.

On the matter of greater competitiveness, the first priority is to ensure West Indies get going again. When playing well they are one of the top draw cards, and Test cricket can't afford to have them languishing.

While I have been critical of both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe's Test status, it's not likely to change under the current regime. So in order to maintain interest in both countries and provide a wider scope for venues in the period between May and September, why not merge them to make a more competitive Test side?

And if the ICC really wants to create a pathway for the Associate nations then select a combined side from the stronger affiliates, like Ireland, Netherlands and Afghanistan. In addition to providing incentive and widening the player production pool, this will also add venue options for Test cricket at a time of year when the choice is limited.

When Clarke was expressing reservations about day-night Tests he cited the competitive nature of some recent matches. That's indisputable, but those exciting contests are far too infrequent and mainly played among the same few teams.

Test cricket has to be nurtured and fostered, not just left to tread water while the officials concentrate on short-term choices designed to fill the coffers.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on May 9, 2014, 5:22 GMT

    @gerry_the_merry : if Kerry Packer would to start a break away league today, it would not be in Australia, any business man would spend his marketing money and effort in a market with maximum returns and the reality of today is Australia and England are no longer the biggest money making locations for Cricket. Talent is no longer in abundance in West Indies. Truth today is IPL, more spinners, smaller grounds, more runs, T20's. Is that good for the game, not as per Ian Chappell, but he is old school and thinks that money comes after the game, truth is money and game go hand in hand, without money, players will not play, every one is professional in cricket now. So market and change the game as per where the Money is. I like the thought process of @flickspin, who has put in more effort and thinking than Ian Chappell above.

  • on May 7, 2014, 11:41 GMT

    There should be a test championship but it should be No. 1 test team V/s Rest of the world. It should be played in the home country of No.1 test team and should be of at least 3 tests Every 2 yrs.

    The Rest of world players could also be selected from batting and bowling rankings.

    I feel it is a workable solution.

  • flickspin on May 6, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    about the southern hemisphere vs northern hemisphere was set up 10-15 years it would of been the greatest games cricket ever

    the northern hemisphere would have had this team

    1v sewag(ind)2 m vaughn(eng)3 r dravid(ind)4 s tendilkar(ind) 5 b lara(w.i)6 i ul haq(pak)7 k sangakarra(s.l)wk,8 s aktar (pak),9 w akram(s.l), 10 m murilidaran(s.l), 11 s malinga( s.l)

    the southern hemisphere would have had this team

    1 m hayden(aus), 2 g kirsten(s.a),3 r ponting(aus), 4 j kallis(sa), 5 s waugh(aus),6 s fleming(nz),7 a gilchrist(aus)wk,7 s warne(aus),8 s bond (nz),9 a donald (sa), 10 g macgrath

    players would see it as honor to play, imagine scoring 100 or taking 5 wickets it would be a career highlight.

    you would probably need 6 days to play the test match,

    it would put heaps of money in the icc bank account as it would be shown around the world, i believe the quality of the match would go down in history as some of the best test ever played

    im sure my proposal would be a sucess

  • flickspin on May 6, 2014, 5:44 GMT

    i have another idea to promote test cricket and that is to have a all star series between the southern hemisphere & the northern hemisphere.

    i believe it would be good as state of origin in rugby league or the east vs west all star game in the nba basketball

    i would have a 3 match test series every 5 years, and the games alternate between countries, 1 year england, 5 years later the west indies and so on

    the southern hemisphere are aus, s.a, n.z and zim

    the northern hemisphere are eng,ind,pak, s.l.l ban and w.i

    these are the teams

    southern hemispere

    1d warner(aus),2m guptil(nz),3 h amla(sa),4 m clarke (aus) capt,5 ab de villers (sa)wk,6 r taylor (nz),7 s smith (aus),8 m johnson(aus), 9 n lyon (aus) 10d steyn (sa), 1 v phillander (sa)

    northern hemisphere

    1 a cook(eng),2 c gayle(wi),3 c pujura(ind),4k sangakarra(sl)wk,5s chanderpaul(w.i),6m jayawardne(sl)7 v kohli(ind), 8 s broad(eng)9 s ajdmal(pak),10 r aswin(ind)11 j anderson (eng),

    players would would be honored to play

  • MarinManiac on May 5, 2014, 23:33 GMT

    Zimbladesh? I hope not. Mighty difficult to sort out where the home matches will be played as well. If one is going to go down that path, you might as well create Irelistan and the New Indies, possibly the Scotherlands as well.

    If we want to make Test cricket more popular, have it at a time of day when people can actually go. Try starting the matches on a Saturday rather than on a Thursday...

  • on May 5, 2014, 17:38 GMT

    Gerry the merry man is wrong about fast bowling being the most attractive item of cricket. These days the spin bowlers have taken their game to a new level, and is now dominating the game. With bigger and more 'powerful' bats the fast bowlers are more likely to get plastered over the boundary more often than before. The question is how do they take their fast bowling to the next level? Is their a limit to how much 'brute force' a bowler can get out of fast bowling?

    As for the ball for day-night test, a bowl that glows in the dark (based on pigments use to dye the ball) could solve the problem.

    And to Ackwardhid, the reason that Ian loves the West Indies is the same reason everybody else loves them; we play with sunshiny rhythm -- soca and reggae rhythm -- we bring fun to the game. Who do you think the crowds would prefer to see? The Bangladeshis or the West Indians?

  • flickspin on May 5, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    continued from past post:

    the draw is rigged to help each group

    the middle nations like new zealand would play sri lanka, west indies, bangladesh & zimbabwe 3 times in 10 years with a minimum of 4 test

    new zealand would play the top nations like australia, south africa, india, england & pakistan 2 times in 10 years with a minimum of 3 test

    new zealand would play the lesser nation 2 times in 10 years with a minimum of 2 test

    and the lesser nations like ireland would play the top nations like australia,south africa,england,india & pakistan and 1 time in 10 years with a minimum of 2

    ireland play the middle teams like sri lanka,bangladesh,west indies zimbabwe & new zealand, 2 times in 10 years with a minimum of 2 test

    and ireland play uae, kenya, afghanistan,nepal, netherlands and namibia 3 times in 10 years

    the is rigged so the teams mainly against teams similar to thier ability, which would for a intresting team of the decade championship where every game counts

  • flickspin on May 5, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    with the team of the decade i would rig the draw so the top teams play the top teams the most, the middle teams play the middle teams the most and the lesser teams play the lesser teams the most

    the draw would look like this

    top teams: australia, south africa, england, india & pakistan

    middle teams: new zealand,west indies, sri lanka, bangladesh & zimbabwe

    lesser teams: uae, ireland, kenya,afghanistan, nepal, netherlands & namibia

    australia plays the top nations south africa, india, england & pakistan 3 times in 10 years with a minimum of 4 test per series

    australia plays the middle teams new zealand,west indies, sri lanka, bangladesh & zimbabwe 2 times in 10 years with a minimum of 3 test

    australia plays the lesser nations 1 time in 10 years with a minimum of 2 test,

    i know you thoughts on the middle and lesser nations playing test, but i disagree and dont see the harm in playing these nations once in 10 years big deal if they get beaten in 4 days, the game is slowly growing

  • Cool_Jeeves on May 5, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    Good article. But misses some key marketing points. 1) To market any product, the product design itself needs to be rid of flaws. For instance, pitches, poor fast bowling resources, two-test series receiving poor response, step motherly treatment even from players who miss tests to play and prolong IPL etc. Remember Kerry packer filled up his teams with great pacemen, not spinners. 2) Prize money - there is no effort which is worthwhile without prospects of rewards. Right now the payoff is an increasingly probable sit-out of lucrative IPL style tourneys. Instead put a $20m prize money for ICC #1 team every year. 3) Add a bit of marketing glitz of various hues as appropriate to market Tests - remember Packer's marketing. Right now, all focus is on players, not the matches.

    With these changes, I am confident that Test Cricket will quickly move up to the premier position that it deserves. Other things like too many Bangladesh and SL matches will take care of itself.

  • flickspin on May 5, 2014, 6:35 GMT

    i forgot to give points for a draw, teams would get 2 points per draw.

    what the points would do is

    thier is an incentive for captains to go for out right wins,( i have not seen a outright win in years), say a team is 7 down on day 4 both teams will have lots to play for the team going for the win will bring the field up trying to take wickets, the team trying to last to day 5 will be doing everything in thier power to survive.

    i dont like first innings points as teams will bat till thier 700 runs and every game is a draw.

    maybe my points system isnt very good, maybe you should get more points for a win

    maybe you might get 6 points for an outright win,and 5 points for a innings win and 4 points for a win, 2 points for a draw and 1 point for a loss that 4 innings and 5 days

    im sure that the icc with the help of ex cricketers to come up with a better system.

    by having points it will give captains plenty to think about and thier will be games within a game

  • on May 9, 2014, 5:22 GMT

    @gerry_the_merry : if Kerry Packer would to start a break away league today, it would not be in Australia, any business man would spend his marketing money and effort in a market with maximum returns and the reality of today is Australia and England are no longer the biggest money making locations for Cricket. Talent is no longer in abundance in West Indies. Truth today is IPL, more spinners, smaller grounds, more runs, T20's. Is that good for the game, not as per Ian Chappell, but he is old school and thinks that money comes after the game, truth is money and game go hand in hand, without money, players will not play, every one is professional in cricket now. So market and change the game as per where the Money is. I like the thought process of @flickspin, who has put in more effort and thinking than Ian Chappell above.

  • on May 7, 2014, 11:41 GMT

    There should be a test championship but it should be No. 1 test team V/s Rest of the world. It should be played in the home country of No.1 test team and should be of at least 3 tests Every 2 yrs.

    The Rest of world players could also be selected from batting and bowling rankings.

    I feel it is a workable solution.

  • flickspin on May 6, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    about the southern hemisphere vs northern hemisphere was set up 10-15 years it would of been the greatest games cricket ever

    the northern hemisphere would have had this team

    1v sewag(ind)2 m vaughn(eng)3 r dravid(ind)4 s tendilkar(ind) 5 b lara(w.i)6 i ul haq(pak)7 k sangakarra(s.l)wk,8 s aktar (pak),9 w akram(s.l), 10 m murilidaran(s.l), 11 s malinga( s.l)

    the southern hemisphere would have had this team

    1 m hayden(aus), 2 g kirsten(s.a),3 r ponting(aus), 4 j kallis(sa), 5 s waugh(aus),6 s fleming(nz),7 a gilchrist(aus)wk,7 s warne(aus),8 s bond (nz),9 a donald (sa), 10 g macgrath

    players would see it as honor to play, imagine scoring 100 or taking 5 wickets it would be a career highlight.

    you would probably need 6 days to play the test match,

    it would put heaps of money in the icc bank account as it would be shown around the world, i believe the quality of the match would go down in history as some of the best test ever played

    im sure my proposal would be a sucess

  • flickspin on May 6, 2014, 5:44 GMT

    i have another idea to promote test cricket and that is to have a all star series between the southern hemisphere & the northern hemisphere.

    i believe it would be good as state of origin in rugby league or the east vs west all star game in the nba basketball

    i would have a 3 match test series every 5 years, and the games alternate between countries, 1 year england, 5 years later the west indies and so on

    the southern hemisphere are aus, s.a, n.z and zim

    the northern hemisphere are eng,ind,pak, s.l.l ban and w.i

    these are the teams

    southern hemispere

    1d warner(aus),2m guptil(nz),3 h amla(sa),4 m clarke (aus) capt,5 ab de villers (sa)wk,6 r taylor (nz),7 s smith (aus),8 m johnson(aus), 9 n lyon (aus) 10d steyn (sa), 1 v phillander (sa)

    northern hemisphere

    1 a cook(eng),2 c gayle(wi),3 c pujura(ind),4k sangakarra(sl)wk,5s chanderpaul(w.i),6m jayawardne(sl)7 v kohli(ind), 8 s broad(eng)9 s ajdmal(pak),10 r aswin(ind)11 j anderson (eng),

    players would would be honored to play

  • MarinManiac on May 5, 2014, 23:33 GMT

    Zimbladesh? I hope not. Mighty difficult to sort out where the home matches will be played as well. If one is going to go down that path, you might as well create Irelistan and the New Indies, possibly the Scotherlands as well.

    If we want to make Test cricket more popular, have it at a time of day when people can actually go. Try starting the matches on a Saturday rather than on a Thursday...

  • on May 5, 2014, 17:38 GMT

    Gerry the merry man is wrong about fast bowling being the most attractive item of cricket. These days the spin bowlers have taken their game to a new level, and is now dominating the game. With bigger and more 'powerful' bats the fast bowlers are more likely to get plastered over the boundary more often than before. The question is how do they take their fast bowling to the next level? Is their a limit to how much 'brute force' a bowler can get out of fast bowling?

    As for the ball for day-night test, a bowl that glows in the dark (based on pigments use to dye the ball) could solve the problem.

    And to Ackwardhid, the reason that Ian loves the West Indies is the same reason everybody else loves them; we play with sunshiny rhythm -- soca and reggae rhythm -- we bring fun to the game. Who do you think the crowds would prefer to see? The Bangladeshis or the West Indians?

  • flickspin on May 5, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    continued from past post:

    the draw is rigged to help each group

    the middle nations like new zealand would play sri lanka, west indies, bangladesh & zimbabwe 3 times in 10 years with a minimum of 4 test

    new zealand would play the top nations like australia, south africa, india, england & pakistan 2 times in 10 years with a minimum of 3 test

    new zealand would play the lesser nation 2 times in 10 years with a minimum of 2 test

    and the lesser nations like ireland would play the top nations like australia,south africa,england,india & pakistan and 1 time in 10 years with a minimum of 2

    ireland play the middle teams like sri lanka,bangladesh,west indies zimbabwe & new zealand, 2 times in 10 years with a minimum of 2 test

    and ireland play uae, kenya, afghanistan,nepal, netherlands and namibia 3 times in 10 years

    the is rigged so the teams mainly against teams similar to thier ability, which would for a intresting team of the decade championship where every game counts

  • flickspin on May 5, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    with the team of the decade i would rig the draw so the top teams play the top teams the most, the middle teams play the middle teams the most and the lesser teams play the lesser teams the most

    the draw would look like this

    top teams: australia, south africa, england, india & pakistan

    middle teams: new zealand,west indies, sri lanka, bangladesh & zimbabwe

    lesser teams: uae, ireland, kenya,afghanistan, nepal, netherlands & namibia

    australia plays the top nations south africa, india, england & pakistan 3 times in 10 years with a minimum of 4 test per series

    australia plays the middle teams new zealand,west indies, sri lanka, bangladesh & zimbabwe 2 times in 10 years with a minimum of 3 test

    australia plays the lesser nations 1 time in 10 years with a minimum of 2 test,

    i know you thoughts on the middle and lesser nations playing test, but i disagree and dont see the harm in playing these nations once in 10 years big deal if they get beaten in 4 days, the game is slowly growing

  • Cool_Jeeves on May 5, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    Good article. But misses some key marketing points. 1) To market any product, the product design itself needs to be rid of flaws. For instance, pitches, poor fast bowling resources, two-test series receiving poor response, step motherly treatment even from players who miss tests to play and prolong IPL etc. Remember Kerry packer filled up his teams with great pacemen, not spinners. 2) Prize money - there is no effort which is worthwhile without prospects of rewards. Right now the payoff is an increasingly probable sit-out of lucrative IPL style tourneys. Instead put a $20m prize money for ICC #1 team every year. 3) Add a bit of marketing glitz of various hues as appropriate to market Tests - remember Packer's marketing. Right now, all focus is on players, not the matches.

    With these changes, I am confident that Test Cricket will quickly move up to the premier position that it deserves. Other things like too many Bangladesh and SL matches will take care of itself.

  • flickspin on May 5, 2014, 6:35 GMT

    i forgot to give points for a draw, teams would get 2 points per draw.

    what the points would do is

    thier is an incentive for captains to go for out right wins,( i have not seen a outright win in years), say a team is 7 down on day 4 both teams will have lots to play for the team going for the win will bring the field up trying to take wickets, the team trying to last to day 5 will be doing everything in thier power to survive.

    i dont like first innings points as teams will bat till thier 700 runs and every game is a draw.

    maybe my points system isnt very good, maybe you should get more points for a win

    maybe you might get 6 points for an outright win,and 5 points for a innings win and 4 points for a win, 2 points for a draw and 1 point for a loss that 4 innings and 5 days

    im sure that the icc with the help of ex cricketers to come up with a better system.

    by having points it will give captains plenty to think about and thier will be games within a game

  • flickspin on May 5, 2014, 6:08 GMT

    i dont think you can decide a test champion after 5 years, not every team will play each other enough

    i have proposed a team of the decade, which will need strict obedience of the future tour program

    every team plays an average of 100 test over 10 years, say 1 team plays 95 test and another country plays 105 test the winner is worked out on averages, but i believe thier will a out right winner

    every test has points, 5 points for a out right win, 4 points for a innings win, 3 points for a win , 1 point for a loss that has 4 innings and last 5 days.

    extra points for scoring 500 runs, extra points for winning on day 3, extra points for winning day 4

    extra points for winning a series, extra points for winning a series unbeaten, and extra points for winning away from home

    it would add plenty of intrest to test matches even dead rubbers, and encourages captains to think about points per match

    i think teams would count an honor to be named team of the decade, and would cherish it.

  • on May 5, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    [1] Ranking system needs to be fixed. It should reset every two years & av 3 tests/series, with 3 per win, 1 per draw at home, 5 per win, 2 per draw away. No opponent should be counted twice. [2] World Test Championship. Ranking system in (1) will resolve this issue as all teams will play stronger teams at home, weaker teams away to gain max points & revenue. [3] Day-Night tests. Fully support it IF they can fix the problems. They should have ONE FULL season of domestic in each test country before test cricket has it. [4] West Indies. WI have had internal problems for 20 years, no money will resolve this. [5] Bang & Zimb test team. Ludicrus, disasterous, destructive. They have no cultural or language similarity and why only these two teams? They are up to test level now, not everyone can be a top 4 team. [6] The Associates test team. Love it. Test cricket should represent ALL countries in the world. Allow "The Associates" test team to represent those whom arent playing test cricket.

  • ksquared on May 5, 2014, 5:02 GMT

    On paper a test championship seems a good idea but practically it really isn't. With windows for all the domestic T20 leagues and the amount of ODI and T20 internationals it is pretty hard to schedule something like this.A span of at least two years is needed for it to be successful and all the test playing nation should play each other in at least a three test series and I don't see that happening.

  • Lachy7 on May 4, 2014, 23:57 GMT

    I reckon that the ICC should focus on getting countries like Australia, England and South Africa playing more against the lower ranked countries.

    Also, I'm not a fan of day night tests, why change such a great tradition like test cricket?

  • on May 4, 2014, 23:37 GMT

    I love Ian Chappel he played test cricket hard,the way its supposed to be plaayed,....Here is an idea get rid of najam sethi and bring in Ian Ghapprl as his replacement,nobody in his right frame of miind would oppose that

  • aewahid on May 4, 2014, 23:25 GMT

    Ian Chappell is an fool to put it mildly. What would a combined BD-ZIM team be called? What country is that? Zimbabwadesh? Banglangwe? Chappelle needs to be reminded that ZIM have won their most recent Test against a full strength PAK side and Bangladesh has drawn 4 of their last 8 Tests. Both teams are finally moving in the right direction. Its not like WI, who Chappel seems to love, are winning loads of Tests.

  • ygkd on May 4, 2014, 22:36 GMT

    This won't happen for much the same reasons that many other things won't happen. The status quo gets in the way. A proper Test championship, truly worthy of the name, would require a substantial time-frame. To provide equity, it would have to be run on a home-and-away basis, for almost all of the better teams are far better at home than they are away. Given the importance of particular Test series (eg. The Ashes), various limited-overs Championships and the oh-so-vital IPL, it's hard to see where and when a Test Championship could be scheduled. Still, it's not a bad idea per se, rather like an Associates Test team or, better still, Continental Test teams for the associates (although Ireland could feel short-changed on that one) and the day the game has no more ideas left is the day it dies. Chappell's right to say "Test cricket has to be nurtured and fostered, not just left to tread water while the officials concentrate on short-term choices designed to fill the coffers".

  • Abhilash22 on May 4, 2014, 20:22 GMT

    Test cricket is boring.Only way to make it intresting is to make it limited over game like 50 overs game but two innings .This will generate a lot of interest and surely we will see much closer games then before in tests.Test championship idea is dull and i don't think its gona work.

  • rizwan1981 on May 4, 2014, 19:36 GMT

    Ali_Eorse

    Johnson may be a destroyer on Australian and SA pitches but Mitch does not have a stellar record in the sub continent - Even the great DENNIS LILLEE average over 100 in Pakistan and NEVER played a game in India .

  • Alexk400 on May 4, 2014, 19:27 GMT

    if they removed ASHES test series and replace with World Test championship then i am all for it. Ashes do not define best Test team so its for me kinda useless. Always one team is weak in Ashes test series. Its more for trash talk between england and australia than about cricket. I feel World test championship should be held in 3 cities in world. 1. England/West Indies 2. South africa/india/srilanka 3. Australia/NZ. This allows people to have overseas test twice and one home test. Each team play 3 test only for first round. Winner play best of 3 test series final. It should be conducted every 3 years.

  • on May 4, 2014, 19:22 GMT

    many people especially from Ind, Eng & Aus talk love for Windies cricket and want us to rebound but what are they doing to help reach that goal? obviously the efforts being made from as far back as 2000 have been insufficient. We need more outside help. not just financial aid but administrative and technical aid from people who understand the game and what is needed to consistently produce cricket and cricketers of a high standard. investing money in incompetently managed institutions helps no one in the end. We have had enough of persons with personal /national agendas & grudges who lack vision, know-how and even basic cricket common sense. What we also need is for the big 3/4 to look into getting West Indian talent involved in their 1st class tournaments like they used to be in the good ol days. 1 thing all good Windies cricketers from Atlas to Tiger share is that they expounded on their talent by playing quality 1st class cricket against quality opposition in foreign conditions.

  • on May 4, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    In ODI cricket the world cup is the premier event and garners the most interest among viewers...by the same logic the world test championship should also garner the most interest and viewership... if the world test championship is not feasible due to lack of viewership...doesn't it imply that all other test cricket will eventually not be feasible either..?

  • eggyroe on May 4, 2014, 18:29 GMT

    With out a doubt Test Match Cricket should have a World Test Championship.All test match playing nations would have to play over a period of 4 years each other home and away over the best of 5 series of games.Points being award as follow's 3 points for a win,1 point for a draw,0 for a loss.All games count so no dead games.At the end of the 4 year cycle the top 2 teams play off for the Championship.The home side would be the team who finished top of the table.The Final would be a timeless test to ensure a winner.The ICC would hold the television rights to the final and they would then do a deal with the broadcasters of the host nation in the final.If to accommodate all this Test Match Cricket,1 Day Internationals and 20/20 Internationals have to be sacrificed so be it,after all Test Match Cricket is the pinnacle of the game.Another thing to add is the Match Referee shall observe all pitch preparation to ensure that there is a wicket that gives both teams a fair crack of the whip.

  • OttawaRocks on May 4, 2014, 18:25 GMT

    What the test world needs is for Associate and lower tier test nations to play more 5 day cricket against each other. This cricket needn't be given official test status, but it needs to be encouraged to build experience, i.e. transitional experience, that lifts a nation from the one day or three day game to the 5 day game. Over time expertise in the 5 day game will be built within the lower tier and top Associate nations. Basically, since it is impossible to say who will rise to the top level of test cricket, why not give all nations of the lower group equal chances to rise to the top. This can be accomplished by availing all "lower" nations opportunities to play 5 day cricket against each other regularly - a growing environment from which maybe 2 will rise to the top tier level in 5-7 years time (or thereabouts). This "lower" group of nations would consistent of say 8 Associates plus the lowest 2 test tier nations.

  • Nadeem1976 on May 4, 2014, 17:12 GMT

    why to save Test cricket. what is the benefit to save test cricket. Can we promote Test cricket in countries like China, USA. No so why to worry.

    Promote T2020 cricket it has great future. Test cricket will die under T2020 pressure one day. Other than Ashes and Aus vs SA there is nothing special left in Test cricket.

    My advise just let Big 3 + SA play test cricket and let others play T2020 cricket.

  • Puffin on May 4, 2014, 16:16 GMT

    No, I don't think the World Test Championship is a great idea, the rankings give a better idea of longer-term excellence, beating different opponents home and away in various conditions. The WTC could all come down to where it is played and who gets lucky.

    Get rid of those ridiculous 2-Test rubbers, trim back some of those 50-over competitions, make the top teams play longer series between each other (minimum 4 tests). Why can't there be a 5-test series between SA and Australia?

  • Ali_Eorse on May 4, 2014, 14:14 GMT

    Ian: You are the Greatest. Here is what you can do that will make you the best commentator in the world.

    Since you referred to Packer, can you suggest to ICC to arrange a test match between AUS and Rest of the World (ROW) starting this coming Boxing Day in AUS? Can you do that?

    I want to see Johnson destroy the ROW. I want to hear the commentators saying something like this as it will put a chill on my legs and everyone else:

    Three slips, a gully, a forward-shortleg, a backward short leg, a leg slip, a deep extra cover. In comes Johnson,…. [All hell brakes loose for ROW. Think of Adelaide with Cook or Broad being bowled - cleanly.]

    Can you help, Sir Ian?

  • MarkTaffin on May 4, 2014, 13:15 GMT

    What a great idea, Ian. Merge Zim and Bang.And why not make a couple more XIs out of the best players from the Associate Countries - must be loads of Irish players... And why not chuck in a few Aussies and English who are better than the current Zim-Bang players but can't get in to their own Test XI.

    Call it the IPL x 5 and you should even be on to a market winner and sell it to TV.

    But it wouldn't be Test cricket between nations anymore.

  • on May 4, 2014, 12:45 GMT

    Chappell is very prudent enough to think about the Longer version when there is gaining acceptance of the shorter format of the game. Unless ICC intervenes and chalks out a plan, Test Cricket will be extinct and long gone in the generations to come. In this matter, ICC can sit and dispute the viability of a Test Championship with heavy clouts like BCCI, ECB and CA. Though the plan was in the pipeline, there seems to be little clarity on why it was dumped. In times of breaks, or during off seasons, domestic leagues are planned and gives very little breathing space for players to adapt to the longer format, or are subsequently injured. Contests like SA-AUS, Eng-Aus, Ind-NewZ and few more were pleasing and reminding us that Test Cricket is not dying, but still needs resurrection. If ICC Test Championship is not viable, what can be done to improve the quality of tests and the number of matches played in a year. Collaboration of Associate team members into 1 unit is an excellent initiative.

  • crazyguru on May 4, 2014, 10:01 GMT

    I don't get the anxiety of people who want ZIM and BL out. They're crying that nobody is willing to play against them. Test cricket can be improved only if the quality of matches the 'good' teams play improves. The SA vs AUS series is a welcome sign, because a team other than SA finally played well overseas. But we need atleast 4 teams that can perform well in all conditions. That ain't gonna happen anytime soon. Regarding drop in viewership, it is totally untrue that in India test cricket is losing fans. Well people do follow it, but they don't watch it on TV or come to ground because not every cricket fan is lying idle in home all day. D&N cricket will improve it drastically. Also all teams are now in a building-up phase. there are no stars to go and watch.

  • mihir_nam on May 4, 2014, 9:54 GMT

    Well ICC need to work out seriously . Teams with growing Cricket population like Ireland,Afghanistan,Nepal,PNG . ICC should help them develop as good competitive Teams . They can send ICC presidents XI team to them team with players from A teams of full members to these teams to play 2 5-day games and 5Odi's . If Ireland promoted to Full Membership after World Cup 2015 it will raise game in Island , Let them play against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh West Indies .. England vs Ireland will be Sold out at Dublin anytime. Ian Chappel is out of his mind many times. Such people have kept Cricket only 6-8 nations Cup. Since last century Imperials have not promoted game , Or else cricket would have been played atleast 16-20 Full member teams. Infact Test Championship will increase standard of the game. World Cup should have been 10-12 Nations since 1975,

  • TheRisingTeam on May 4, 2014, 9:06 GMT

    Things like day/night tests, championships etc are not the solution but will cause more problems to tests if you think about it carefully. Day/night games can easily cause a disadvantage for one of the teams since night conditions can easily favour the bowler and aid with more swing or unfavour the bowler to dew or something. Championship for test is unfair due to certain teams playing far more tests than others in process and the hosting of those possible games.

    The main solution to solving the problem in test is to make the weaker test teams from Sri Lanka and below all the more competitive. Right now there are only 1-2 proper test sides and the rest have problems. I think more A matches and tours between countries is the solution and making first class structure the up-most priority. Because if you look at teams like West Indies, Bangladesh etc they are far more interested and focused on the T20 tournaments rather than whats really important its poor first class system.

  • ReverseSweepRhino on May 4, 2014, 7:40 GMT

    How about allowing continents to create their test teams from the top Associate nations? Each nation would have a maximum limit of 4-5 members in the continental team for each game. We could initially start with: 1. Asia (Afghanistan, UAE, Nepal, Hong Kong) 2. Europe (Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland)

    If this works, it can be extended to 3. Africa (Kenya, Namibia, Uganda) 4. Americas (Canada, US, Bermuda)

    Also, teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe can be relegated to the continental side if they can't play at a satisfactory level for Test Matches as individual nations.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on May 4, 2014, 7:40 GMT

    If feasibility of day-night tests is in question, why not experiment with it at the first class level? Countries who feel it works can go ahead and schedule day-night tests.

  • Captainman on May 4, 2014, 7:38 GMT

    I disagree. He talks about importance of rankings but wants teams like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh to not play tests. A combined side between 1 or more countries is illogical and uninteresting and fans from those countries would not care. World Test championship won't work because of the small number of teams that play tests and uneven distribution of matches. Australia are definitely not a number 1 side because they also gotten heavily beaten 3-0 and 4-0 away to a couple of teams didn't they? and have only thrived recently due to the shear pace of Johnson who is not exactly a youngster isn't he? Australian test side is one that is ageing with the likes of Clarke, Watson, Rogers, Johnson etc all well into their 30s so most likely they will not last as the number 1 test side.

    In order for Test Cricket to thrive then its the responsibility of the bigger teams -India, Australia, England and SA to help the teams that are seriously struggling with the longer form.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on May 4, 2014, 5:37 GMT

    Test cricket outside Ashes is struggling for survival,a reality.Short forms esp. t20 is future anyway.ICC need to take some steps to revive it,keep it interesting for some time. Making DRS univ. and uniform-all aids incl.-,d/n tests,pink/white B are some.

  • thefountain on May 4, 2014, 5:18 GMT

    I've been reading Ian Chappell articles for years, and every single one has had at least one good idea with it. Please listen ICC.

  • AmeyaAB on May 4, 2014, 5:16 GMT

    I doubt if the merger of sides would be feasible. The politics in the administration of cricket is very complex for even a side like Bangladesh. Merging would mean a clash between those warring cricket associations. I doubt the feasibility straightaway.

  • SRAM20 on May 4, 2014, 5:12 GMT

    All OK - but what with the idea of merging Zimbabwe and Bangladesh? Cricket is primarily a country vs country sport. How on earth do you merge Zimbabwe and Bangladesh players together and put them as a country? Unless they move to the US and the USA team gets test status (well USA is not even near T20 status)

  • on May 4, 2014, 4:39 GMT

    Why not have a Davis cup type format for test matches?

  • Sauron_Of_Middle_Earth on May 4, 2014, 3:03 GMT

    As always, a great article by Ian. I can agree with him on most counts - resisting the media's control on the game, getting WI back on track, Zim and Bangladesh's Test status and helping the associates improve their competitive levels. But I've got to disagree with his take on day-night test matches. You can never account for change in conditions. Add the completely unpredictable dew factor, and it becomes horribly unreliable. Test Cricket is a tradition and I'd like it to remain that way. If the ICC is bent on trying out day/night tests - Domestic First class cricket is the place. As far as the broadcasters claiming the unmarketable nature of the Test Championship - I seriously doubt people would not be interested if it is conducted in the right format - League of Top 4 teams (by rankings) - A 1-test series between each of them over a 2-month period home and away. I know it's long, but, I really think it could work. Of course, the Rankings and the FTP need to be thoroughly updated.

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  • Sauron_Of_Middle_Earth on May 4, 2014, 3:03 GMT

    As always, a great article by Ian. I can agree with him on most counts - resisting the media's control on the game, getting WI back on track, Zim and Bangladesh's Test status and helping the associates improve their competitive levels. But I've got to disagree with his take on day-night test matches. You can never account for change in conditions. Add the completely unpredictable dew factor, and it becomes horribly unreliable. Test Cricket is a tradition and I'd like it to remain that way. If the ICC is bent on trying out day/night tests - Domestic First class cricket is the place. As far as the broadcasters claiming the unmarketable nature of the Test Championship - I seriously doubt people would not be interested if it is conducted in the right format - League of Top 4 teams (by rankings) - A 1-test series between each of them over a 2-month period home and away. I know it's long, but, I really think it could work. Of course, the Rankings and the FTP need to be thoroughly updated.

  • on May 4, 2014, 4:39 GMT

    Why not have a Davis cup type format for test matches?

  • SRAM20 on May 4, 2014, 5:12 GMT

    All OK - but what with the idea of merging Zimbabwe and Bangladesh? Cricket is primarily a country vs country sport. How on earth do you merge Zimbabwe and Bangladesh players together and put them as a country? Unless they move to the US and the USA team gets test status (well USA is not even near T20 status)

  • AmeyaAB on May 4, 2014, 5:16 GMT

    I doubt if the merger of sides would be feasible. The politics in the administration of cricket is very complex for even a side like Bangladesh. Merging would mean a clash between those warring cricket associations. I doubt the feasibility straightaway.

  • thefountain on May 4, 2014, 5:18 GMT

    I've been reading Ian Chappell articles for years, and every single one has had at least one good idea with it. Please listen ICC.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on May 4, 2014, 5:37 GMT

    Test cricket outside Ashes is struggling for survival,a reality.Short forms esp. t20 is future anyway.ICC need to take some steps to revive it,keep it interesting for some time. Making DRS univ. and uniform-all aids incl.-,d/n tests,pink/white B are some.

  • Captainman on May 4, 2014, 7:38 GMT

    I disagree. He talks about importance of rankings but wants teams like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh to not play tests. A combined side between 1 or more countries is illogical and uninteresting and fans from those countries would not care. World Test championship won't work because of the small number of teams that play tests and uneven distribution of matches. Australia are definitely not a number 1 side because they also gotten heavily beaten 3-0 and 4-0 away to a couple of teams didn't they? and have only thrived recently due to the shear pace of Johnson who is not exactly a youngster isn't he? Australian test side is one that is ageing with the likes of Clarke, Watson, Rogers, Johnson etc all well into their 30s so most likely they will not last as the number 1 test side.

    In order for Test Cricket to thrive then its the responsibility of the bigger teams -India, Australia, England and SA to help the teams that are seriously struggling with the longer form.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on May 4, 2014, 7:40 GMT

    If feasibility of day-night tests is in question, why not experiment with it at the first class level? Countries who feel it works can go ahead and schedule day-night tests.

  • ReverseSweepRhino on May 4, 2014, 7:40 GMT

    How about allowing continents to create their test teams from the top Associate nations? Each nation would have a maximum limit of 4-5 members in the continental team for each game. We could initially start with: 1. Asia (Afghanistan, UAE, Nepal, Hong Kong) 2. Europe (Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland)

    If this works, it can be extended to 3. Africa (Kenya, Namibia, Uganda) 4. Americas (Canada, US, Bermuda)

    Also, teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe can be relegated to the continental side if they can't play at a satisfactory level for Test Matches as individual nations.

  • TheRisingTeam on May 4, 2014, 9:06 GMT

    Things like day/night tests, championships etc are not the solution but will cause more problems to tests if you think about it carefully. Day/night games can easily cause a disadvantage for one of the teams since night conditions can easily favour the bowler and aid with more swing or unfavour the bowler to dew or something. Championship for test is unfair due to certain teams playing far more tests than others in process and the hosting of those possible games.

    The main solution to solving the problem in test is to make the weaker test teams from Sri Lanka and below all the more competitive. Right now there are only 1-2 proper test sides and the rest have problems. I think more A matches and tours between countries is the solution and making first class structure the up-most priority. Because if you look at teams like West Indies, Bangladesh etc they are far more interested and focused on the T20 tournaments rather than whats really important its poor first class system.