Test Championship Faces Uncertain Future




In October 2010, the ICC board approved the recommendations from the ICC Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC) to give exciting content and context for international cricket within the Future Tours Program (FTP) after 2012. This included the setting up of a Test league which would be based on the reliance ICC Rankings Table and the top 4 teams qualify for an ICC play-off in 2013. It was also agreed to have the play-offs once in 4 years to determine the Test champion.

Test Championship faces uncertain future

Test Championship faces uncertain future

England was scheduled to hold the First Test Championships in the summer of 2013 with the finals at Lord’s, the home of cricket. But ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat on November 14th released a statement stating that the Championships would be delayed atleast until 2017. Lorgat has been an enthusiastic advocate of the introduction of a Test Championship and major venues in England were primed to host the semi-finals.

‘I am afraid that the Test championship is no longer going to happen in 2013. At the last board meeting we decided the first opportunity to play the Test championship is 2017”, said Lorgat. This is due to the packed international calendar that the teams have and a window to fit in this new Championship is apparently not possible before 2015. It has also been shelved due to reluctance by the broadcasters to embrace the idea, admitted the governing body after a meeting last month.

The ICC Test Championship was expected to replace the Champions Trophy in 2013 and ICC’s official broadcasters – ESPN Star Sports recognized it as a commercial challenge and without their support, the financial implication on the members and the development of the game seems significant. The news did not go down too well with the cricketers as they were excited by the newest development in the game and have been preparing for it since its announcement as Test cricket has always been the pinnacle of glory for any cricketer.

“As cricketers, we want to see the ICC make decisions that are the best for the game and I’m not sure that’s happened now. Waiting another five years, you can skip a whole generation in that time,” said Graeme Smith of South Africa, the longest-serving current Test captain. Australian Test Captain Michael Clarke also expressed his disappointment saying that “The idea certainly has merit; they’ve just got to fit it into the calendar”.

MCC, who campaigned for the inclusion of the tournament and who were due to host the final received a huge blow as they have always been very consistent with their support for Test cricket. ‘Today’s announcement is a setback for Test cricket, at a time when we need to work to find the optimum balance between all formats of the game’, said MCC head of cricket John Stephenson. The Test Championships were greatly looked forward to by all and the ICC would do well if they can find a window to fit this in.

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