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Is Test Cricket Destined To Die?


By Gaurang
March 13 2008

One solution to the declining interest and importance of Test cricket among the average fan, that I have been advocating for a long time, is the scrapping of the ridiculous rolling Test championship and Ten Year ICC Test calendar and its replacing it with a biennial Test championship.

It is particularly peculiar that the ICC decided that unlike any other major competitive sport Test cricket did not deserve a clear cut Champion based on an intelligible competition, with a fixed period of “Champion” status. Instead it determined what the fans were interested in was a rolling “Championship” based on an ongoing series of matches where one team is designated as the “Champion” for an undetermined period of time, which can be half a decade or half a week, and is determined not solely by the performance of the “Champion” team but by the cricket schedule and the form of the other Test teams in the world. To the modern sports fan this is completely insane. And it makes the stereotyping that other sports, such as baseball, use to deride cricket, as an arcane pursuit played by fuddy duddies who can’t determine a winner after five days of competition, or 5 years of competition, as the case may be, seem to be quite appropriate.

What is needed is an immediate Scrapping of the current 10 year plan. In its place I suggest a simple biennial Championship. The proposed Championship would take geographical realities and traditional rivalries into consideration. First of all the number of Test teams needs to be culled to eight, and Bangladesh and Zimbabwe should not be part of the Championship.

Then divide the teams around the world into two zones North Zone: England, India, Pakistan, West Indies South Zone: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka Have teams WITHIN each zone play each other once at home and away in 3 match series, for a total of 18 Test matches each. The top in each zone can be given a Zonal trophy which would be akin to the League penant in major league baseball, giving that team Zonal bragging rights.

 At the end of the 18 Test "Season" the top two team in each Zone will play in a playoff. The playoffs will consist of a 5 Test match series with the Champion Team of each Zone getting home advantage. This means the North Champion plays the South runner-up at Home and the South Champion plays the North runner up at Home. Then the two winners of these two series play a 5 Test Final series. The team with the better record gets home advantage again. In all playoff games, i.e. not the first 18 league Test matches a 'dead rubber' rule applies... so when one team has won 3 matches the Series is OVER.  

The benefit of this plan is that over a period of two years every country plays a minimum of 18 matches and a maximum of 28 matches (if each 5 Test playoff series goes the full distance)... this works out to between 9 and 14 Tests per year. This is a work load that all players would be willing to shoulder, especially as each and every match would have great meaning and would be eagerly followed not just by the fans of the respective teams but by other teams’ fans too. Of course the biggest benefit would be that a Test Champion would be crowned every two years and would hold the Crown for at least the next two years. This would make Test cricket so much more attractive to the non aficionado, while allowing the die hard to still enjoy the game fully.

There could be a similar tournament organized for the teams one rung below the top level, i.e. Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Kenya, UAE, USA, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, etc... and the top team from that group can be given entry into the top level with the bottom ranking team from the elite group dropping down. These lower level games would be accorded First Class but not Test status. In combination with the current Full World Cup every four years, and a Twenty20 World cup every couple of years such a Test Championship would enhance the game immensely.

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Is Test Cricket Destined To Die?
Discussion started by Indian Cricket Fever (IP Logged), 13/03/2008 16:25
Indian Cricket Fever
Indian Cricket Fever
13/03/2008 16:25
Is Test Cricket Destined To Die?

MESSAGES->author
Gabbar
14/03/2008 16:27
Gaurang sounds like an excellent plan



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Tendulkar is the greatest cricketer of all time

Gaurang
Birbal
14/03/2008 17:21
Since by adopting T20 so thoroughly and even setting up a league (IPL) with owners and players who are "bought"...etc...Cricket is being baseballized so much...

I think having a biennial championship with Zonal pennant winners is quite logical...



_____

ICL Ko Support Karo Yaro...

BCCI Ko Joote Chappal Maro....

MESSAGES->author
ananthd
14/03/2008 18:41
Birbal, a long overdue idea, well articulated...

However, I'd split the zones this way:

Going West->East:

Zone I
WI, England, SA, Pakistan

Zone II
Ind, SL, Aus, NZ

And the playoff home court winner will play 3 Tests at home, 2 away and not all 5 at home. I feel this will penalize teams playing in the tougher zone(thereby having a worse record) unduly...

MESSAGES->author
ananthd
14/03/2008 18:43
And the playoff format will 1-home, 2 away, 2 back home...

MESSAGES->author
Birbal
14/03/2008 19:00
ananthd the playoff format of splitting it like that would be too much travelling no?

As for the Zonal splits I guess you went East West instead of North South...

MESSAGES->author
ananthd
14/03/2008 19:06
If travel becomes a huge issue, we can probably go 3,2 though that is less than ideal.

But in cricket, since home field is such a huge advantage, I think all 5 in one country would be too much...

Since there are two years, we can probably hold the final series in the last 6 weeks of the cycle. There should be enough time even accounting for time differences...

Gaurang
Birbal
14/03/2008 21:48
It is not a matter of time... but just doesn't feel right...

The other option is to hold the final in a neutral country so the home advantage is essentially neutralized...



_____

ICL Ko Support Karo Yaro...

BCCI Ko Joote Chappal Maro....

Gaurang
Birbal
14/03/2008 22:27
On second thoughts the 3-2 format does make sense...

There is a bit of home advantage...but if the visiting team can hold out for a draw in a match they can turn the tables....

I LIKE that idea...



_____

ICL Ko Support Karo Yaro...

BCCI Ko Joote Chappal Maro....

ddddddd
Max
18/03/2008 07:06
Good article Birbal. The way Test cricket is run definitely needs to be revamped. I would recommend that Test cricket have 2 levels. That will improve the standard of the game and increase popularity. It will also help teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to improve at their own pace. As of now the teams could be classified as below:

Level 1:

Australia
India
South Africa
England
Sri Lanka

Level 2:

New Zealand
Pakistan
West Indies
Zimbabwe
Bangladesh

After every 2-3 years, the worst performing team from Level 1 would be replaced by the best performing team from Level 2.



India - World Cup winners 2011!!!
Champions Trophy winners 2013!!!
Congrats to Indian team and all Indian fans!



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2008:03:18:07:15:17 by Max.

Gaurang
Birbal
18/03/2008 20:11
Naah Max disagree with your levels... England, Pakistan, New Zealand all can beat teams in the "upper" level quite regularly...

I think my grouping of Top 8 teams at Elite Level and then a Jr. level of Bangla, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, UAE, Holland, etc... makes more sense...



_____

ICL Ko Support Karo Yaro...

BCCI Ko Joote Chappal Maro....

Gaurang
Birbal
21/10/2008 20:05
Yes India has just won a HUGE TEst at home...

But the question must be asked, even amidst the euphoria...

Btw, when Tendulkar became the first man to score 12,000 Test runs the frenzy was nothing like the frenzy when Sunny became the first to score 10,000 runs... the 11,900 odd firecrakers not withstanding...

And only a smattering of school kids (who were allowed FREE entry) watched India on Day 4 and 5...



_____

ICL Ko Support Karo Yaro...

BCCI Ko Joote Chappal Maro....



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2008:10:21:20:06:52 by Birbal.

MESSAGES->author
Birbal
21/02/2010 04:01
Bump for HR...

MESSAGES->author
Birbal
01/06/2016 20:56
Looks like ICC is FINALLY copying my idea from a DECADE ago...

Better late than never.. I suppose...smiling smiley

[www.espncricinfo.com]

Akbar
Akbar
24/07/2016 02:12
Test cricket looks destined to live long now. Nobody wants tests to die - although very few people show interest in actually watching them.
If Test cricket comes close to death, I am sure people will start taking interest in them.

Martian
Martian
24/07/2016 14:29
not only the context, but the timing of the matches is also important. They have to go for day-night matches, where ppl can start watching in the evening till they go to bed. If tests are still kept it as day matches,this change will be too little too late.

MESSAGES->author
Birbal
21/10/2016 21:34
[www.espncricinfo.com]

Now the ICC come up with a HARE BRAINED scheme of alternately ranked teams in divisions... this is a JOKE...

Do the IDIOTS at ICC realize that one of the reasons Baseball divisions are successful is due to the long history and traditional rivalries...How stupid would it be if the Dodgers were in one division one year and some other division the next?

The idea of two Zones North and South.. as I suggested.. or as ananthd suggested East and West...makes a lot of sense...

But this alternately ranked team in groups that keep changing based on rankings is a JOKE



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2016:10:21:21:37:48 by Birbal.

MESSAGES->author
apple
24/10/2016 08:02
Quote:
Birbal
The idea of two Zones North and South.. as I suggested..

Of course Birbal knows the answer...

The ICC is run by the big 3, not the big 1.

BCCI wont accept divisions, because they know fair weather Indian fans will stop supporting their side if they get relegated. And Aus and Eng would never support Birbal's North/ South leagues (nor all series being three games) as that would mean no Ashes.

All international team sporting competitions are derived from the Ashes. The federation of the colonies of Australia, which formed together to become a nation, was first practiced in the cricket team, whose cap badge became our official national emblem.

All the other nations of the world could stop playing cricket. The Ashes will still happen.



Apple: Ignoring Shilpa since 27/3/2012 and Birbal (temporarily replying to him since there's no one else here 26/10/2015) since 16/8/2012

MESSAGES->author
Birbal
21/01/2019 00:26
Bump in light of the much delayed and much diluted Test Cricket Championship which starts after the World Cup. I believe the Ashes will be the first series in that championship.

MESSAGES->author
Birbal
18/11/2019 19:33
Bump...

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