Crickets Championship Future

15 09 2010

At last and entirely unexpectedly (at least for the average punter who is not party to the inner whirring of world cricket) the ICC has jumped into action with regard to their plans for the game of cricket over the coming years. Whilst it has not been rubber stamped yet and so could still be potentially hijacked by one of the major powers; the plan appears to be a shake up of the game by implicating various international leagues and championships.

Over the past decade there has been much talk about the decline of this form or that form of cricket, the need to regulate that or this national board etc and simply the problems created by the sheer amount of cricket that is played today. The ICC’s plans are clearly supposed to address some of these issues and for that we find ourselves in the unusual position of applauding them. Whether they succeed or not is another matter – let us look at the recomendations:

  • A test league and play off system over 4 years. This one we agree with. When the world was a bigger place and it was rare or impossible to watch cricket on TV, the visit of any touring side was anticipated and appreciated all the more. Tours were longer, series had more importance both as a player and as a spectator as who knew when they might tour again – in short an international series was an event. With the advent of almost constant international cricket and TV coverage from all over the world available seemingly on demand; cricket as a whole has suffered – most of all, of course, test cricket. In short a series on its own is not enough for many people unless you are a cricket traditionalist and so by giving test cricket a wider context it should in theory create more interest. Other plus points include the fact that sides like New Zealand and Bangladesh who, not being the largest draw cards for the paying public, fail to get so many test matches arranged and so will benefit from a guaranteed number of series per year. Equally with all countries having to play a certain number of tests in this time it should cut down on the number of pointless and boring one day series arranged.

    There are potential issues – for example; will the four year competition length mean that things will carry on much as they are now – interest only peaking if you’re side happens to be in the top four and make the play offs? With the final play off games being one off test matches is that a true reflection on a sides ability as the weather etc could be make a huge difference?

    On the whole however this move is a positive one and we look forward to seeing how it pans out.

  • A ODI League over 3 years. Again there is nothing wrong with this proposal on the face of things although there are no further details at this stage with regards to how exactly it would work. For example what would happen if India and Sri Lanka arranged yet another series between them (as they are wont to do) despite having already played their deciding matches with regard to the league. We suppose it is up to the boards but in theory there should be less interest in these matches and so hopefully these pointless series could die out.
  • A 10 team format for the ODI World Cup. This one we do not agree with. Yes it is true that the last couple of world cups have dragged on to the extent where even the most ardent one day fans were losing interest, and, in theory, by cutting the number of sides this problem would be solved. Yet this would be hard on the associate nations such as Kenya, Holland, Afghanistan and Ireland to name but a few. With no access to first class matches against the top sides (or even A teams of the top sides) the fifty over game is the one aspect of their international lives when they are able to compete against the big boys in a ‘proper’ cricket environment. If the ICC wants to promote the development of cricket and in the long term gain more test playing nations they have to realise that no one will get there having only been exposed to top level 20/20 thrashes.

    This decision also makes a mockery of the performances of Kenya and Ireland in recent world cups – particularly as they have taken a number of memorable scalps in this time. We would rather see the ODI world cup remain as a 16 team format unless the ICC follows up with a credible and imaginative plan for the development of the associate members.

    Finally we presume that the Champions Trophy will be done away with – if not there would be a second ‘ten team’ tournament which would be a world cup in all but name.

  • A 16 team 20/20 world cup. No problems here – more exposure for the junior world teams can only help them. See previous point for more…
  • The introduction of a 20/20 world rankings table and a league to follow. Hardly a ground breaking initiative on the rankings table and a league seems sensible considering that the other formats of the game will have one. Again potentially if used correctly by the ICC this would be a way of controlling the amount of cricket played.

So there we have it. It is quite possible that using this as a framework the ICC could begin to exert more control over all the individual countries and control the game more effectively whilst dealing with such factors as player burn out etc. What we expect to happen however is that after this is put in place it will simply lead to even further cricket, creating hard choices for the players when inevitably they have to make the choice of playing a test match against Bangladesh or appearing in the IPL for example.

Its a step in the right direction but at this stage no more than that.




3 responses

15 09 2010

I’m quite happy with this proposal too. Infact, a few months ago I drew up a full international schedule for four years. All teams played each other home and away exactly once and care was taken to ensure every country retained its cricketing season. Check it out.

15 09 2010

Yes I saw that when you wrote it – thought it looked good. It all seems so simple to us but somehow the ICC and the boards manage to make it so difficult. Cheers for commenting.

16 09 2010

I think a lot of it comes down to boards being open to this idea. If they’re not, they will never see how easy it is to have such a schedule. The ICC has come up with this plan but it remains to be seen whether the Big 4 are willing to play ball. We’ve already seen how the BCCI has reneged on the issue of UDRS despite the fact that it was the Sydney Test in 2008 that prompted the ICC to look at this option.

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