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World Test Championship

by Krish

The ICC is proposing to hold a World Test Championship, day/night matches and pink balls to make Test cricket more exciting. I feel that there are many problems with the whole concept.

The first thing is that for most people, matches are only interesting when it is closely fought and their team has a chance of winning. This applies to series and championships too. Any Test Cup would be interesting only if the outcomes are not very predictable.

Unfortunately, that is not the case now. In Test cricket, the gaps between some teams is too wide, even between teams that are closely placed in the rankings. For example, New Zealand would easily thrash Bangladesh, even though they are just one step above them. Australia easily whips most teams, except India and South Africa in recent times.

Test cricket is designed to minimize the element of luck. That is why there are two innings so that one bad effort by the team doesn't get punished - it has to fail twice. The artificial pressure of time is much less than in limited overs cricket. So by design, Test cricket ensures that there are more crushing victories than close matches or upsets.

In a Twenty20 match, the underdog always have a chance by taking risks or by fluke wickets. That is seldom going to happen in Test cricket. Unless, of course, you are going to tamper with things, such as the rules or pitch conditions and so forth.

Test cricket will be better served by reducing Test matches between mismatched teams. Also, there should be Best-of-3 and Best-of-5 contests so that there are no more dead rubber matches and whitewashes. That would improve the quality of cricket being played.

11 comments:

Q said...

I don't think there is anything wrong with the test format and that it should remain the way it is, although it might be fun to watch a day-night test match.

I think what the ICC should focus on, instead of trying to re-jig the format, is have some control on the kind of pitches that are produced for test cricket.

I believe the pitches in Australia, NZ, England, and SA are conducive to results, which is why we hardly see draws in the tests that are played there.. and even if we do they are the kind that we witnessed in the 1st ashes test, which keeps the viewers gripped.

If this sort of control is applied to pitches in the subcontinent, particularly Pakistan, then we would have more matches that would be result oriented than otherwise.

What the ICC needs to do is ensure that all test matches have an even balance between bat and ball.

Its fine to have batting pitches for ODIs and T20s cos they end up in a result.. for tests it doesn't make sense to see 2 teams just pile on the runs.

Ottayan said...

K,

I believe what Test cricket needs is more sporting wickets.

Or return to the days when the wicket was left uncovered and exposed to the elements during the duration of the match.

Simply put, give the bowlers a chance.

Q said...

Ottayan,

Jinx!

Ben said...

I'm not quite sure I understand what your objection to the test championship is. None of your objections seem to apply to the championship.

I can tell you that there are plenty of people who are interested in test matches even though their team has little chance of winning. Myself for example. And in addition to that, the test championship, if designed properly, will give meaning to series with otherwise forgone results because championship points will be taken from those series.

I also think your example of Bangladesh losing to everyone and Australia beating everyone isn't very helpful. Those are the extremes, not the standard for test cricket.

Personally I think a championship is the only way to rejuvenate test cricket. Going the other way and reducing the amount of tests played between the various countries will exacerbate the decreasing relevance of test cricket.

K said...

First of all, I haven't really understood as to how will this Test Championship be played. Will it comprise of all the series played during the season with points taken from all those series? If that is so then ICC already has a system in place to rank Test teams in this manner.

But if a separate competition called the world Test championship is introduced, then will it be played annually, every two years or every four years. Even if it is played every four years, it will require a window of at least two months taking into account the fact that it is still not played on a round-robin basis but instead with two pools of four teams each (Bangladesh should be relegated from test status) followed by semis and a final.

If it is played on a round robin basis, one would need to set aside at least four months for this competition.

I think the current system where points are awarded for each Test match by ICC is perfect. I agree with all of you that there should be better pitches all over.

But Test cricket should not be tampered with. Leave it as it is.

Preserving the original form of the sport is like preserving our heritage or our historical monuments. Please no day-night tests with coloured clothing.

We must refrain from making any changes in Test cricket.

raj said...

Q, vehemently disagree. The overly-favouring-seamers NZ pitches, and the recent Cardiff one are as much a disgrace as sub-continental one. Nobody's going to convert to Test cricket based on "Team1-90-allout-Team2-105allout-team12ndinns-183-team2-2ndinns125allout-so-team1-NZ-wins" test matches.

raj said...

What we really need is half-decent writers, who can hype up ordinary test mathces, such as the Cardiff one recently, to great classic status. England and Australia have dozens of such writers who do this regularly.

Naked Cricket said...

On the face of it, looks to me the ICC is just shooting blanks.

They need to be far more radical, address the bloody issue, stop whining about the IPL and do something –

T20 works as it injects entertainment into the game, need to borrow from that. I like what Raj suggests, you have to market the game, sell it – the ICC should start to recruit an ad agency – write a clear brief for them. State objective 1) save test cricket 2) Make it popular 3) and so on. This is almost like climate change, you keep bloody meeting and talking about it – but little is done, because the whole cricket world is far from involved. On the contrary, it’s split far too many ways. Need a dude on top.

And when I was thinking save test cricket, the thought that came to me was

Q said...

Raj,

I don't see any reason why the Cardiff one was a disgrace.. is was an awesome test match...

And the one u just described with teams our for less than 150 in both innings - I would love to watch that.. and I think the majority would prefer that to teams batting for 5 days and scoring 600+ ...

Ben said...

Q, vehemently disagree. The overly-favouring-seamers NZ pitches, and the recent Cardiff one are as much a disgrace as sub-continental one. Nobody's going to convert to Test cricket based on "Team1-90-allout-Team2-105allout-team12ndinns-183-team2-2ndinns125allout-so-team1-NZ-wins" test matches.

As Q said, the Cardiff pitch was fine. And NZ pitches haven't favoured seamers to that extent for many years.

Ben said...

First of all, I haven't really understood as to how will this Test Championship be played. Will it comprise of all the series played during the season with points taken from all those series? If that is so then ICC already has a system in place to rank Test teams in this manner.

The championship will replace the Future Tours Programme with the addition of semis and a final. It will be a small but important change to the current system.