Cricket may see a radical change as the International Cricket Council (ICC) is planning to reconstruct its calendar with a preferred model identified in the Chief Executive Committee (CEC) meeting in Dubai. The ICC CEC has proposed a two tier test league along with a 13 team one day international league, which will determine the teams who qualify for the 2019 World Cup in UK.
CricketSoccer tries to find out what are the pros and cons if the proposal of two-tier Test system is implemented:
More competitiveness in Test Cricket
The cricket lovers are always eager to see an Ashes or an India-Australia test series, both of which are considered to be the ‘icon’ series in the world of cricket. But series between Sri Lanka and New Zealand or West Indies and Pakistan could never get the same type of response from the mass. But if all these series are played as a part of the test championship, it will naturally add more context. All teams will give importance to each and every series which will only make every series more competitive. The teams would have been encouraged to strive for the best possible result to improve their standing in the tier.
More crowd in the gallery
Now it’s a very common sight in the cricketing venues throughout the world- Test matches being played in front of empty gallery. Countries like Sri Lanka, West Indies have struggled for more than a decade to get crowds for Tests. Even in India, test matches sometimes being played in front of an empty gallery, except on weekends. But if the proposals are implemented, all the big teams will play against one another in home and away basis for the Test Championship, which will be a crowd puller too. People would love to see those matches which may determine the Championship. It may also grow a love for the game among the young generation.
Encouragement for Minor nations
Ireland and Afghanistan would have been the biggest beneficiaries of the new system. They may feature in the second tier and thus, will get the chance to play Test matches on a regular basis, if are sanctioned with Test Status. The ICC press release on Friday states that the teams in second tier will get a chance to play with the teams in upper tier, which will definitely help the minor teams to improve their game. They will also get the chance to break into the upper tier through a promotion and relegation system.
Danger of lopsided contests
Since the top tier teams are meant to be obliged to play the bottom tier teams occasionally, there may be a danger of extremely one-sided contests, and the possibility of skewed records.
Concern for the broadcasters
The broadcasters always strive for a 5 match test series involving India, Australia, England or South Africa. But they don’t show the similar kind of interest for a Sri Lanka-Bangladesh or West Indies-New Zealand series. The argument against allowing Ireland and Afghanistan in, because it would harm TV revenue. It is supposed that present Test nations fans would have no desire to see new teams play. In many countries, cricket is a relatively small sport and thus, it’s broadcast value is diminished. The two-tier framework will not please the broadcasters, who will have next to no appetite for showing games between two sides in the lesser league.
Worry for India and Pakistan
There is another worry regarding India-Pakistan rivalry. The CEC has discussed if one team refuses to play another, they will be penalised in terms of points which can hamper the championship dream. India and Pakistan have not played any bilateral series since 2007 due to political circumstances. If these two nations don’t play against each other, both the teams will be penalised, thus narrowing their chance to win the league.
The ODI structure is expected to involve a bigger pool of 13 competing countries, in a league format over each three years and involving mechanism for the World Cup qualification. The 13 teams are likely to include the ten full members, Afghanistan and Ireland and the winner of World Cricket League.
Outside of this, efforts are also being made to stage two World Twenty20 every four years. It effectively means, the ICC will be organising one World Twenty20 in 2018 and the next in 2022.
It remains to be seen if there will be any implications for the staging if so called ‘icon’ series such as the Ashes or several of those involving India.
The CEC agreed to the principle of a consistent use of DRS technology across all international cricket. A full implementation plan will be considered by the ICC Cricket Committee in May before approval in June 2017. As of now, the CEC has agreed to use DRS in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and all future ICC World T20s. The CEC agreed that venues and boards should be more accountable for the quality of pitches and outfields. It was agreed that a system of demerit points be introduced.