MCC World Cricket Committee July 15, 2009

Test cricket could die out warns MCC

Cricinfo staff

The future of Test cricket dominated the two-day MCC World Cricket Committee meeting at Lord's, with the sombre conclusion being that it is in danger of dying out. The committee put forward recommendations including a World Test Championship, a trial of day/night Test cricket and pink balls in a bid to make the longer format more appealing.

"Except for certain icon series, such as the Ashes, Test cricket throughout the world, and in particular the lower-ranked nations, is in very real danger of dying," a statement by the committee said. "MCC's research proved that attendances at Test cricket have declined in recent years. In addition, there is a growing ambivalence towards the longer format of the game from cricketers in certain nations, with player surveys revealing that an IPL contract was the main career aspiration for many."

"The committee is deeply concerned that the proliferation of lucrative domestic Twenty20 leagues, such as the IPL, will lead to the premature retirement of quality international cricketers. Those from the lower-ranked Test nations could be particularly susceptible to such a career choice, based on earnings alone."

Referring to a World Test Championship, the committee said that the game "needs a World Test Championship and it needs one within the short-term. Work should commence immediately on devising the appropriate format."

Those views were endorsed by Steve Waugh, a member of the committee. "Test cricketers want to play for a world championship, like what happens in one-day and Twenty20," he said. "Something has to be done to lift the game's profile."

Martin Crowe, the former New Zealand batsman, suggested an eight-team format in which teams play three-match series and then move towards the semi-finals and final. The committee said the proposal, which must first reach an ICC agenda, would fit in with the current Future Tours Programme.

"If there's something to play for, it's definitely going to make a difference," Rahul Dravid, another member of the committee, said. "This sort of thing would help motivate players because when No. 7 plays No. 8 it's almost meaningless."

A ranking system is currently employed by the ICC and Australia sit on top of the table after beating South Africa in March. Cricket Australia hired consultants over the past couple of years to shape a Test championship model but went cold on the idea after not getting any support from the other ICC members.

Other aspects the committee hope will increase the attractiveness of Tests include playing day-night games using a pink ball. "We are hoping to stage one here next year against Bangladesh," the MCC's head of cricket John Stephenson said. "We would like to experiment with a pink ball. We've done the research and think it's worth trying. We want to safeguard the future of Test cricket."

After the meetings the committee also demanded stricter controls on the number of international players appearing in the IPL. "The committee is deeply concerned that the proliferation of lucrative domestic Twenty20 leagues, such as the Indian Premier League, will lead to the premature retirement of quality international cricketers," the committee said. "Those from the lower-ranked Test nations could be particularly susceptible to such a career choice, based on earnings alone."

The IPL chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi spoke to the group for more than an hour on Tuesday and emphasised that the league's success stemmed from it being market-driven.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Uzair Khan on June 17, 2015, 17:04 GMT

    if test cricket is losing attention its because its boring try makin it less boring

  • Ali on July 19, 2009, 12:12 GMT

    The measures of making test last only four days, making them day night or using pink balls will all most probably fail.

    The only way the test cricket can survive is to establish meaningful series among the nations like Ashes which result in real street like contest with national spirit. Such series should only happen once in 2-3 years between selected nations like IN vs PK, SA vs SL, EN vs AU, etc. People will pay attention and will be seriously interested in the results. So make it special and make it meaningful.

    The main trouble at the moment is not necessarily the format of the test but the way series are organized with no real meaning. In fact for the moment the matches are organized just for the sake of matches to be organized.

    And for God sake do not organize a test cricket world cup. That can just the be the end of it.

  • Matt on July 19, 2009, 2:27 GMT

    Im a fan of different sports. It's important to not to look too hard at what the others are doing and dance to their tune. Whilst it is a good idea to keep up to date with what other sports are doing I believe every sport must play to it's strengths. Cricket is a love of mine and has been since I was a kid and Test Cricket is the ultimate form of this game. Australia, England and India are the main countries where the game is strongest. I hope cricket does not go down the T20 path all the way as it is not what cricket was invented for. If cricket has to sell out to this form of the game, then there may not as well be cricket in my mind. Test Matches are the ultimate for testing a cricketers ability. The one of the few reasons T20 is popular with players is money and thats sad. Fans remember great Test Matches, not T20's. Whether on TV, radio or at the game, Test Matches can be enjoyed by a huge audience numbered in the millions. No one sport can dominate the world so stop trying.

  • shafaet on July 17, 2009, 16:52 GMT

    PITCH,PITCH,PITCH,PITCH,PITCH,PITCH,PITCH. Only sporting pitches can save test cricket.

  • Joe on July 17, 2009, 12:46 GMT

    WI should not be included in their current state as their current team got beat by Bangladesh

  • Keith on July 17, 2009, 12:00 GMT

    The MCC + the commentary to this article make plain the many options available. Yet what they + we lack is political potency. Now is the time to commit to a new political process in the cricket, covering all aspects and forms of the game, including finance and representation. Shall MCC and ICC get behind a genaral Cricket Convention to work out all the details great and small? The Philadelphia Constitutional Convention of 1787 as the key to the recovery and later success of the nascent USA. Consider a Cricket Convention in the same general geographical location -- Haverford College in Philadelphia is as ancient a home of cricket as America can muster. The advantage is that USA is not a major cricketing nation, making it close to an ideal neutral venue for such a gathering of cricketing brains and power brokers. They should gather no later than the northern summer of 2010.

  • Amahl on July 17, 2009, 6:39 GMT

    An incentive such as a world championship of tests may be substantial to ensure that the stake in Test cricket will not diminish to such an extent. We have to accept that the value of this form of the game will diminish slightly with the introduction of the more commercial friendly T20. But, as highlighted by the current Ashes series and the Pak-SL Test series, Test cricket can still be an extremely exciting and thrilling format. Small innovations such as pink balls for day night cricket may help to revive the game. But people have to stop living under the misconception that test cricket is 'boring' or 'monotonous'. Honestly, on the most part, it is anything but that.

  • gaurav on July 17, 2009, 6:38 GMT

    TEST cricket is Important But It is not Future.................................................

  • gaurav on July 17, 2009, 6:36 GMT

    Test cricket should only play with a World Test Championship Season such as

    World Test Championship Season 2010-12

    Group A- India,Aus,Newzeland,Westindies Gropu B- SAfrica,pak,england,srilanka

    Each country play 4 Test (2 Home and 2 Away) series with each other so each country would play 12 test in their group ,,, then top 4 team in semifinal

    A1 vs B1(2 Home and 2 Away) A1 vs B2((2 Home and 2 Away) A2vs B1(2 Home and 2 Away) A2 vs B2(2 Home and 2 Away)

    and then final series should be played....

    All these play should be in 2 years season then 6 month break and then nxt test champ season would be continue


  • gaurav on July 17, 2009, 6:28 GMT

    For all of Test cricket lovers (not cricket lovers ),,,,,,,,

    Test cricket was once a national game of canada declared by its first prime ministor in 1850 , but in todays time period cricket is just a minor sport in canada,,,have all you noticed,,, and not only this,,, france was second nation to compete with england in only olmpic contest in cricket but then what happened........A game needs to be enough short and great excitement to survive in todays era..

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