MCC news January 15, 2014

MCC reiterates Test Championship support

ESPNcricinfo staff
21

The MCC's world cricket committee, an influential if powerless voice in the affairs of the game, has reiterated its support for the creation of a World Test Championship (WTC), even as it appears the ICC has resolved to go down an alternative route. With broadcasters and commercial partners reluctant to back the concept, the MCC has attempted to keep the idea alive by demanding that two teams contest a WTC 'final', at the very least, in 2017.

A planned first edition of the WTC, involving the top four teams in the ICC's Test rankings, was mooted for 2013 but had to be shelved due to broadcast deals already in place for the Champions Trophy. The next gap in the cycle will be 2017 but problems with the proposed format - in the event of drawn or rain-affected matches - and in stirring sponsor and TV interest have undermined its viability.

However, the world cricket committee, which includes former players such as Rahul Dravid, Andrew Strauss, Steve Waugh and Shaun Pollock and chaired by former England captain Mike Brearley, has called on the ICC to end uncertainty about the WTC and confirm its implementation in some form, to help safeguard the future of Test cricket.

In a statement, the MCC said: "Since its creation in 2006, the WCC have stated that everything possible should be done to promote and protect Test cricket, which it believes is the ultimate form of the game. The committee understands the commercial sensitivities and logistical issues surrounding the proposed World Test Championship, but feels that a solution must be found.

"Whilst the committee would ultimately like to see the currently-proposed four-team knockout competition proceed, it believes that a scaled-down version involving the top two teams in either a one-off Test final or Test series would still provide a context that the longest form of the game currently lacks in comparison to ODI and T20 cricket."

The committee added that a championship involving just two teams was not ideal but "would be better than nothing". ESPNcricinfo understands, however, that the ICC is instead considering a two-tier system, with promotion and relegation.

Worries about the predominance of bilateral series between the major Test-playing nations, to the detriment of countries such as New Zealand, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe - currently ranked eighth, ninth and tenth - has in part fuelled the MCC's concerns, amid a desire to give the five-day game added context. Another issue raised at the cricket committee's latest biannual meeting, which took place on Monday and Tuesday in Abu Dhabi, was the need for the Future Tours Programme (FTP), which sets out ICC Members' commitments in advance, to be binding.

In recent times, several countries have made changes to planned series, often at the expense of Test cricket. Sri Lanka postponed the Test leg of South Africa's tour in mid-2013, while West Indies and Sri Lanka agreed to drop a Test series in favour of an ODI tri-tournament involving India. More recently, India curtailed its tour of South Africa and inserted ad hoc series against West Indies - although this occasion resulted in additional Tests, including Sachin Tendulkar's final international appearance, being added to the schedule.

The cricket committee called such alterations "highly destabilising" and said that "certainty of match programming is essential for the proper administration of cricket amongst ICC members".

The MCC world cricket committee, of which membership is voluntary, was established in 2006 to provide an independent voice in the global game and regularly makes recommendations to the ICC. It has no remit to implement policy but has an unofficial position as one of the sport's guardians.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cpt.Meanster on January 17, 2014, 4:53 GMT

    I am not a supporter of test cricket. However, like I have always said, test cricket is a relic and I accept its history and heritage. For the sake of this forum, I have my own proposal that could be taken into account. I welcome the two-tier system which would provide a lot more context to the format of test cricket. Firstly, it gives the much needed boost to the egos and pride of top test nations in that they can aptly deserve their rankings, especially the top 3 or 4 nations. The teams in the second division can take motivation and strive hard to climb up the rankings. Doing so should provide them some form of monetary benefit such as bonus cash prizes, awards etc. Lastly, the matches should be played by the teams at home and away versus different teams in their own division to determine proper points. The final championship test should be best of 3 and played at a neutral venue. Also, the pitches should be supervised by the ICC to give a fair result. This can be achieved.

  • on January 16, 2014, 23:12 GMT

    This is ridiculous.

    Kill off Tests & ODIs? Seriously?

    Doing that will kill off everything that makes cricket great. The drama, the theatre, the history. The potential for heroes and villians over 5 days, over meaningful series.

    Technique, Skill, Patience, Temperament - all which is diluted in the T20 form.

    Take T20... in this age of social media, T20 is almost like a vine video. Perhaps a 2 min youtube clip. You watch it, you enjoy it. But production values and plotlines aren't necessarily there. It's just entertainment in bitesized form.

    I would say ODIs are like a feature film. The opportunity to build a plotline, to entice the audience to buy in to it on an emotional level. Think about games of ODIs that go down to the wire with ridiculous ebbs and flows.

    Test series are like a TV show, each test being a season. Ultimate feast of the psyche for a true cricket fan.

    p.s. I'm 24 and absolutely love my Test & ODI cricket (there goes your >50 theory @JohnRajkumar)

  • TheCricketeer on January 16, 2014, 11:36 GMT

    The current test mace is a pointless effort. The concept of a 4 team championship is a pointless effort (and makes no sense - who is surprised broadcasters arent interested?).

    There may be verious sustainable models - I think one is below. But I believe the elimination of ODI cricket is essential. My proposal:

    1. Kill off 50 over cricket at international level. (Its a nice format for development purposes though).

    2. Focus on building T20 - it is a great format to spread the game. Have at least 3 months of the year blocked off. During this 3 months no international cricket can take place and all the cricket unions around the world can compete for the dollars with their own domestic T20 circuses.

    3. The other 9 months of the year are dedicated to bilateral tours consisting of 3 test matches and 5 t20's. All tours must be standardised and played home and away over four years. With a champion declared every two years. (Because every two years you can draw a log from the last 4).

  • Brahams on January 16, 2014, 6:26 GMT

    Now that the Ashes are over, the India bashers are back! Welcome back folks!

    The truth of the matter is - most Indians don't care about tests. Indians are good in shorter forms (ODIs and T20s) and they will (and should) stick to their strengths.

    Other countries would just follow suit, whether they like it or not. This can be painful, but this is what the market - not BCCI - dictates.

    I love tests, but I hate to say this: tests will die in my lifetime (hope I have another 30 years), except may be Ashes - even that will lose its charm given the overkill.

    So please hold back the snide remarks, it is like barking at the moon (with apologies to Ozzy).

  • on January 16, 2014, 3:01 GMT

    Everyone over the age of 50 should not have a voice on the demise of test cricket, after all they have enjoyed it for 50 overs but no one does now ( ashes aside, let aus and eng play every 6 months avoiding april and may so they can play the IPL)

  • on January 16, 2014, 2:59 GMT

    This will largely go unnoticed. A proposal:

    Test WC of sorts to be held every four years in conjunction with FTP.

    Contested between top 8. However, only top 6 ranked teams automatically qualify.

    Knock-out qualifying tournament held the year before WC between teams 7-10 and the 4 highest ranked associates to give associates exposure & a slim chance to qualify for WC. Tournament hosted in an associate country for exposure.

    7th ranked full member vs 4th highest ranked associate - 8th vs 3rd highest associate etc.

    Win two tests and you're in the top 2. Rankings to determine who is Q1 and Q2. Tests will have 2 reserve days (for rain). If 450 overs are bowled, first inns lead determines result. Duration: 20 days

    2 pools of 4, each pool stage to be hosted in 1st and 2nd ranked nations. Played concurrently, duration of this stage. 3 tests each over 24 days.

    Semis & Final will be hosted in a predetermined location. 2 reserve days for the Semi, 2 test series for final.

  • Little_Aussie_Battler on January 16, 2014, 2:21 GMT

    This idea of a top division for the major test nations is a great idea.

    Question is, when India falls into the 2nd division, which they will, will they try to get better or call foul?

    Make it happen ICC.

  • outforhatrick on January 15, 2014, 22:59 GMT

    BCCI should not be blamed for everything that's happening the world governing body should have powers to control or administrate the game. The WTC is not a requirement either ensuring all the test nations play equal amount of test cricket among all of them and also both home and away in a period of 4 years should decide the #1 Team should suffice. BCCI might be the richest body among the other boards, but that is becoz of the fan following in india for cricket and also a market for corporates to cash in, which is not the same in other countries, ENG, NZ, AUS and SA have Football and Rugby, AUS have many other sports also.

  • 2.14istherunrate on January 15, 2014, 22:28 GMT

    2017 can be a year devoted to promoting Test cricket as the main dish. A championship then would fit in well-with 3 extra games involving the top 4 ranked sides.It can be there in the summer in the same way a World cup or Champion's trophy would be,alongside scheduled bilateral series. I would suggest also the retention of Champions Trophy to run every 4 years rather than 2 and would adopt the idea of cutting down on other meaningless bilateral ODI series or extra games within normal series so that 5 games were the maximum rather than 7. There is room for both the Test Championship and the CT, which is quite a hit still.

  • D.V.C. on January 15, 2014, 20:58 GMT

    Can't believe I'm going to say this, but I think the apparent ICC model of 2 tiers is far far better. A proper Championship over 4 years (with no finals like the EPL) is the right model for the practicalities and cadences of Test cricket. Playing 4 years and then having one-off semis and a final is a ridiculous concept.

  • Cpt.Meanster on January 17, 2014, 4:53 GMT

    I am not a supporter of test cricket. However, like I have always said, test cricket is a relic and I accept its history and heritage. For the sake of this forum, I have my own proposal that could be taken into account. I welcome the two-tier system which would provide a lot more context to the format of test cricket. Firstly, it gives the much needed boost to the egos and pride of top test nations in that they can aptly deserve their rankings, especially the top 3 or 4 nations. The teams in the second division can take motivation and strive hard to climb up the rankings. Doing so should provide them some form of monetary benefit such as bonus cash prizes, awards etc. Lastly, the matches should be played by the teams at home and away versus different teams in their own division to determine proper points. The final championship test should be best of 3 and played at a neutral venue. Also, the pitches should be supervised by the ICC to give a fair result. This can be achieved.

  • on January 16, 2014, 23:12 GMT

    This is ridiculous.

    Kill off Tests & ODIs? Seriously?

    Doing that will kill off everything that makes cricket great. The drama, the theatre, the history. The potential for heroes and villians over 5 days, over meaningful series.

    Technique, Skill, Patience, Temperament - all which is diluted in the T20 form.

    Take T20... in this age of social media, T20 is almost like a vine video. Perhaps a 2 min youtube clip. You watch it, you enjoy it. But production values and plotlines aren't necessarily there. It's just entertainment in bitesized form.

    I would say ODIs are like a feature film. The opportunity to build a plotline, to entice the audience to buy in to it on an emotional level. Think about games of ODIs that go down to the wire with ridiculous ebbs and flows.

    Test series are like a TV show, each test being a season. Ultimate feast of the psyche for a true cricket fan.

    p.s. I'm 24 and absolutely love my Test & ODI cricket (there goes your >50 theory @JohnRajkumar)

  • TheCricketeer on January 16, 2014, 11:36 GMT

    The current test mace is a pointless effort. The concept of a 4 team championship is a pointless effort (and makes no sense - who is surprised broadcasters arent interested?).

    There may be verious sustainable models - I think one is below. But I believe the elimination of ODI cricket is essential. My proposal:

    1. Kill off 50 over cricket at international level. (Its a nice format for development purposes though).

    2. Focus on building T20 - it is a great format to spread the game. Have at least 3 months of the year blocked off. During this 3 months no international cricket can take place and all the cricket unions around the world can compete for the dollars with their own domestic T20 circuses.

    3. The other 9 months of the year are dedicated to bilateral tours consisting of 3 test matches and 5 t20's. All tours must be standardised and played home and away over four years. With a champion declared every two years. (Because every two years you can draw a log from the last 4).

  • Brahams on January 16, 2014, 6:26 GMT

    Now that the Ashes are over, the India bashers are back! Welcome back folks!

    The truth of the matter is - most Indians don't care about tests. Indians are good in shorter forms (ODIs and T20s) and they will (and should) stick to their strengths.

    Other countries would just follow suit, whether they like it or not. This can be painful, but this is what the market - not BCCI - dictates.

    I love tests, but I hate to say this: tests will die in my lifetime (hope I have another 30 years), except may be Ashes - even that will lose its charm given the overkill.

    So please hold back the snide remarks, it is like barking at the moon (with apologies to Ozzy).

  • on January 16, 2014, 3:01 GMT

    Everyone over the age of 50 should not have a voice on the demise of test cricket, after all they have enjoyed it for 50 overs but no one does now ( ashes aside, let aus and eng play every 6 months avoiding april and may so they can play the IPL)

  • on January 16, 2014, 2:59 GMT

    This will largely go unnoticed. A proposal:

    Test WC of sorts to be held every four years in conjunction with FTP.

    Contested between top 8. However, only top 6 ranked teams automatically qualify.

    Knock-out qualifying tournament held the year before WC between teams 7-10 and the 4 highest ranked associates to give associates exposure & a slim chance to qualify for WC. Tournament hosted in an associate country for exposure.

    7th ranked full member vs 4th highest ranked associate - 8th vs 3rd highest associate etc.

    Win two tests and you're in the top 2. Rankings to determine who is Q1 and Q2. Tests will have 2 reserve days (for rain). If 450 overs are bowled, first inns lead determines result. Duration: 20 days

    2 pools of 4, each pool stage to be hosted in 1st and 2nd ranked nations. Played concurrently, duration of this stage. 3 tests each over 24 days.

    Semis & Final will be hosted in a predetermined location. 2 reserve days for the Semi, 2 test series for final.

  • Little_Aussie_Battler on January 16, 2014, 2:21 GMT

    This idea of a top division for the major test nations is a great idea.

    Question is, when India falls into the 2nd division, which they will, will they try to get better or call foul?

    Make it happen ICC.

  • outforhatrick on January 15, 2014, 22:59 GMT

    BCCI should not be blamed for everything that's happening the world governing body should have powers to control or administrate the game. The WTC is not a requirement either ensuring all the test nations play equal amount of test cricket among all of them and also both home and away in a period of 4 years should decide the #1 Team should suffice. BCCI might be the richest body among the other boards, but that is becoz of the fan following in india for cricket and also a market for corporates to cash in, which is not the same in other countries, ENG, NZ, AUS and SA have Football and Rugby, AUS have many other sports also.

  • 2.14istherunrate on January 15, 2014, 22:28 GMT

    2017 can be a year devoted to promoting Test cricket as the main dish. A championship then would fit in well-with 3 extra games involving the top 4 ranked sides.It can be there in the summer in the same way a World cup or Champion's trophy would be,alongside scheduled bilateral series. I would suggest also the retention of Champions Trophy to run every 4 years rather than 2 and would adopt the idea of cutting down on other meaningless bilateral ODI series or extra games within normal series so that 5 games were the maximum rather than 7. There is room for both the Test Championship and the CT, which is quite a hit still.

  • D.V.C. on January 15, 2014, 20:58 GMT

    Can't believe I'm going to say this, but I think the apparent ICC model of 2 tiers is far far better. A proper Championship over 4 years (with no finals like the EPL) is the right model for the practicalities and cadences of Test cricket. Playing 4 years and then having one-off semis and a final is a ridiculous concept.

  • on January 15, 2014, 19:37 GMT

    So BCCI is made the Villain again? What makes you think that BCCI alone doesn't want Test matches? What about broadcasters who don't want to show it? What about audience across many countries who don't come to the stadium to watch it? Lets see how many people will come to the stadium to watch England Vs Sri Lanka at Lords or Australia Vs Bangladesh at MCG? When they don't turn up for such matches, would you still blame BCCI or India?

  • WonkyBail on January 15, 2014, 17:15 GMT

    I would imagine that if at some point India has a dominant test team ala Australia or West Indies of yore, a test championship will be fast tracked regardless of other commitments. Unfortunately the nouvea riche of cricket call the tunes and the less financially secure cricket boards follow tune. ODI cricket has no place now T20 has occupied the quick fix niche but India are better in this format hence it stays, comparisons with football are frankly ridiculous.

  • Nutcutlet on January 15, 2014, 17:03 GMT

    The MCC's world cricket committee contains the real heavy-weights of cricketing wisdom - just look at the range of highly respected cricketers - all endowed with considerable intelligence, gt knowledge & with the good of the game at their collective heart. The ICC, on the other hand, is full of businessmen and politicians, often with a considerable overlap between those two discredited careers. They see cricket only as a product, and, of course, India's in charge. The MCC's WCC has got it right, IMO, whilst the ICC tries to put a smoke-screen up & over their inept attempts to stage, in the first instance, a World Test championship and now (god help us!) they are mulling over a two-tier system for TC. Neither will happen because there is neither the will nor the intellect to arrange such complicated & attenuated competitions. I all but despair of the international guardians of our game - they lack common sense. Go for a 3 Test 1st v 2nd to decide which country is top. Simple is best!

  • anoopshameed on January 15, 2014, 16:59 GMT

    @ MrGarreth, what has BCCI got to do with this mate? It is the ICC's duty to conduct the World Cups or the World Test Championship. Do you think that the ICC will not conduct any ODI or T20 World Cups if BCCI says not to? If so the problem is with ICC, not BCCI-they simply do not have the backbone! Everybody looks at what is good for themselves, and in my opinion, BCCI is doing just that. A classic example is how they do not allow their players to participate in any of the half-dozen T20 domestic competitions around the world-they know doing so will devalue their own domestic T20 competition-the IPL! Now if the other boards or ICC cannot do what is good for themselves, then how is it BCCI's fault? They are only supposed to control and enhance cricket in India-not the whole world! And not sure if you have noticed it, but India is the Test Nation that plays the least number of T20 internationals!

  • B.C.G on January 15, 2014, 16:25 GMT

    'problems with the proposed format - in the event of drawn or rain-affected matches' Why not solve this 'problem' by making the format timeless?I bet if the match is made timeless,not a single games will last even 5 days.

  • on January 15, 2014, 15:26 GMT

    Everyone over the age of 50 should not have a voice on the demise of test cricket, after all they have enjoyed it for 50 overs but no one does now ( ashes aside, let aus and eng play every 6 months avoiding april and may so they can play the IPL)

  • DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on January 15, 2014, 13:49 GMT

    how could it be influential if it is powerless

  • on January 15, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    If everybody agrees to let India win, do you think they'll let us have some kind of championship?

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on January 15, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    Rahul Dravid, Shaun Pollock, Strauss, Waugh

    These are the kind of blokes who you need to have at the helm of the ICC, not just the 'influential, but powerful' MCC CC'.

    That would be much better than having politicians in charge.

  • on January 15, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    At least the MCC CC, which although indeed powerless - has the former cricketers that have brains to realize the sense & urgency needed behind this. ICC needs urgent revamping to get those bureaucrats with no cricket background out & allow people with cricket logic to run the game - their incompetence alone will destroy test cricket, more so that broadcasters & sponsors reluctance to get behind the WTC idea.

  • MrGarreth on January 15, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    The BCCI will, at the last moment (as they always do), reject the test championship and we'll all have to go and take cold showers again because what they say seems to go.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • MrGarreth on January 15, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    The BCCI will, at the last moment (as they always do), reject the test championship and we'll all have to go and take cold showers again because what they say seems to go.

  • on January 15, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    At least the MCC CC, which although indeed powerless - has the former cricketers that have brains to realize the sense & urgency needed behind this. ICC needs urgent revamping to get those bureaucrats with no cricket background out & allow people with cricket logic to run the game - their incompetence alone will destroy test cricket, more so that broadcasters & sponsors reluctance to get behind the WTC idea.

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on January 15, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    Rahul Dravid, Shaun Pollock, Strauss, Waugh

    These are the kind of blokes who you need to have at the helm of the ICC, not just the 'influential, but powerful' MCC CC'.

    That would be much better than having politicians in charge.

  • on January 15, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    If everybody agrees to let India win, do you think they'll let us have some kind of championship?

  • DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on January 15, 2014, 13:49 GMT

    how could it be influential if it is powerless

  • on January 15, 2014, 15:26 GMT

    Everyone over the age of 50 should not have a voice on the demise of test cricket, after all they have enjoyed it for 50 overs but no one does now ( ashes aside, let aus and eng play every 6 months avoiding april and may so they can play the IPL)

  • B.C.G on January 15, 2014, 16:25 GMT

    'problems with the proposed format - in the event of drawn or rain-affected matches' Why not solve this 'problem' by making the format timeless?I bet if the match is made timeless,not a single games will last even 5 days.

  • anoopshameed on January 15, 2014, 16:59 GMT

    @ MrGarreth, what has BCCI got to do with this mate? It is the ICC's duty to conduct the World Cups or the World Test Championship. Do you think that the ICC will not conduct any ODI or T20 World Cups if BCCI says not to? If so the problem is with ICC, not BCCI-they simply do not have the backbone! Everybody looks at what is good for themselves, and in my opinion, BCCI is doing just that. A classic example is how they do not allow their players to participate in any of the half-dozen T20 domestic competitions around the world-they know doing so will devalue their own domestic T20 competition-the IPL! Now if the other boards or ICC cannot do what is good for themselves, then how is it BCCI's fault? They are only supposed to control and enhance cricket in India-not the whole world! And not sure if you have noticed it, but India is the Test Nation that plays the least number of T20 internationals!

  • Nutcutlet on January 15, 2014, 17:03 GMT

    The MCC's world cricket committee contains the real heavy-weights of cricketing wisdom - just look at the range of highly respected cricketers - all endowed with considerable intelligence, gt knowledge & with the good of the game at their collective heart. The ICC, on the other hand, is full of businessmen and politicians, often with a considerable overlap between those two discredited careers. They see cricket only as a product, and, of course, India's in charge. The MCC's WCC has got it right, IMO, whilst the ICC tries to put a smoke-screen up & over their inept attempts to stage, in the first instance, a World Test championship and now (god help us!) they are mulling over a two-tier system for TC. Neither will happen because there is neither the will nor the intellect to arrange such complicated & attenuated competitions. I all but despair of the international guardians of our game - they lack common sense. Go for a 3 Test 1st v 2nd to decide which country is top. Simple is best!

  • WonkyBail on January 15, 2014, 17:15 GMT

    I would imagine that if at some point India has a dominant test team ala Australia or West Indies of yore, a test championship will be fast tracked regardless of other commitments. Unfortunately the nouvea riche of cricket call the tunes and the less financially secure cricket boards follow tune. ODI cricket has no place now T20 has occupied the quick fix niche but India are better in this format hence it stays, comparisons with football are frankly ridiculous.