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Wisden Cricinfo staff
The ICC has stated that it is open to the idea of having a two-tier format for Tests. Reacting to Sourav Ganguly's suggestion that all Test teams be grouped into two levels, Ehsan Mani, the ICC president, said in a chat with BBC Hindi: "The ICC is considering suggestions like that of Ganguly's with an open mind. We have received many suggestions like these. A decision on having a two-tier Test format can be taken by June next year."
Mani clarified that the ICC was currently in the process of studying various aspects of the game. "The ICC is having a strategic review of international cricket these days where we will definitely review and analyse all these things. We are trying to find out a better way of running cricket competitions in the world. We shall probably make a decision on this by June 2005 when the final document should be ready. You should understand that this would have far-reaching implications."
The ICC had earlier indicated that it was hoping to offer full membership to six more countries in the medium-term, prompting Ganguly to suggest that a two-tier system was the only way to preserve the standards of Test cricket. The clamour for the new format has also gained ground after Zimbabwe's second string was thrashed in the Tests and the one-dayers by Sri Lanka. Australia are already in Zimbabwe for a series that many fear will be the most one-sided in the history of Test cricket.