A good manager is one who foresees the problem but the successful manager is one, who not only foresees the arising problems but also prepares and implements the plan/strategy for corrective action as soon as possible to minimize its effects. Lets have the look at ICC and test cricket with little management perspective along with cricketing sense.
Re-track the last two years and see what changes ICC did to test cricket to counter challenge the raised modern problems? Extra time to complete a match, Abolishing runners, Allowing mankading, Obstruction of field and Delaying intervals when nine wickets down. And we need to think that ICC cares about the ultimate form of cricket, Seriously? Look at the number of impact changes limited over cricket had undergone in last two years. Two new balls, one at each end is introduced to add more competition between bat and ball. Batting and bowling powerplays introduced, later forced the team to take these powerplays between 15 to 40 overs to make middle overs more exciting, and now even thinking about removing bowling powerplay completely along with the suggestion of allowing two bouncers per over and just 4 fielders outside the 30 yard circle in non – powerplay overs. Include the long rallied discussions on deciding the number of teams for ODI and T20 world cups with this to check which way importance was given.
Experts and former cricketers had written articles after articles suggesting changes that needs to be implemented to protect (i.e to stay competitive in the market) but what all ICC could do? just give extra cushion of flexibility in need to play number of hours of game per session or day and bring back a rule which in pure cricket sense (Spirit) considered to be nearly a sin. One thing which came close to the path of solving the problem is Test Championship but in the end, it was delayed till 2017. I think, they thought about growing test cricket from the ashes rather than giving the shoulder to stop the fall in the middle itself and re-placing it where it was.
I agree ICC is doing testing in the implementation of Day and Night test cricket possibilities. But how long? i think its been 5 years since ICC started testing it. David Morgan, by then the ICC President on December 2009 issued a statement that “I’d be surprised if we don’t see day-night Test cricket within the next two years, surprised and disappointed“. I think depending on who the ICC president is, the goals and objectives of ICC changes.
There also suggestions to regulate the playing conditions (i.e pitch) to make test cricket more exciting. Since one side contest adds no excitement. But i think its more down to the quality of cricket played on that particular day by that particular team during that particular match. So, i won’t buy the idea of regulating pitches since its not only impossible, it also takes away cricketing charisma of playing in different conditions (and home advantages).
The more productive idea suggested I see is to divide the test teams into two division. Initially, Top division consisting of first 6 ranked test teams and lower consisting of rest of teams. By this way, we can expect more even contest and lesser one sided contest. It also makes each and every test match for all teams exciting and important since each match (points) result will have impact in their division standings (In hindsight, we are encouraging teams to go for win in each match). Year after year, we can do by promotion and demotion rule.
There are lots of suggestion had been placed even in changing the playing rules of test matches like fixing no. of overs for each team, playing a extra day(i.e 6th day), playing a short over game to decide the winner if match ends in draw and etc., which i don’t buy because all these have more demerits than merits to game.
One more good argument is starting or ending the test matches in weekends but that responsibility is more down towards each respective board’s than ICC.
if you think as manager in business perspective, then you know that Test cricket has reached its peak and its time to sell off the product. If you go by sentiments, then you know mom is mom, no matter how rich or poor and what age you are, you always want your mother to get best things and smile in joy.
Will ICC think in business perspective or in cricketing sentiments? Not time, their actions will tell.