The notion to create a two-tier Test system has been axed by the ICC.
The deal is off for the time being after strong appeals by India at the chief executives’ committee (CEC) in Dubai on Wednesday. ‘The introduction of a divisional Test competition to add more meaning to each match’ was a survey taken by the players’ global body FICA, and despite a 72% outcome in favour of the notion it was denied.
The aim of the system is to build a league consisting of two tiers, the top tier will consist of seven teams and five in the bottom tier. The teams will be judged based on performances, with promotion and relegation being the factor to determine who occupies the positions in the tiers.
Tony Irish, FICA’s executive chairman and CEO of South Africa Cricketer’s Association, had some interesting comments regarding the creation of this new Test tier system.
‘Whilst we await full details of the outcomes of the meetings at the ICC, and the reasons for various proposals not being taken forward, it would be disappointing if the concept of Test leagues or other similar workable structures were shelved so early in this process,’ Irish revealed.
‘We look forward to confirmation of plans regarding the future of all three international formats, and continue to urge the ICC to explore all options in relation to a new structure for international cricket,’ he added. ‘We also look forward to that structure working alongside, and not competing with domestic T20 leagues.
‘We remain concerned about the rising trend towards free agency in the current system, and the impact it will have on the global game. The growth, success and expansion of domestic T20 leagues is good for the game and for players, but bilateral international cricket is not moving with the times and is increasingly becoming an unattractive product.’
The reintroduction of a World Test Championship as well as the possibility of a play-off between the top two to find a winner was also brought up at the board meeting, but governing bodies such as BCCI were not impressed about the discussions taking place.
ICC CEO and former South African wicketkeeper Dave Richardson revealed that progress has been made and discussions will remain on going surrounding the future of all three formats of the game.
‘Encouragingly there is an appetite from the ten Full Members for more context around all three formats of the game and we have consensus on a range of areas,’ Richardson said. ‘This includes the details of ODI and T20 structures and principles around Test cricket schedules, which include the concept of a Test Champion play-off every two years, and the opportunity for more nations to be involved.’
The two-tier proposal was declined and any new model if approved would be put in place only from 2019, when broadcast deals are renewed by the Full Members. ‘There are some complexities, not least because of scheduling and existing structures, but we envisage the changes being implemented for 2019.
‘Members will now revert to their boards to share the details of the proposed revised structures and principles. Work will continue to develop a clear structure and position for each format over the coming months as the ICC collectively focuses on improving bilateral cricket for fans and players in the long run.’