Cricket legends tell ICC how to save Test cricket

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    Cricket greats and current stars have told the ICC to take the financial challenge up to lucrative Twenty20 leagues for the preservation of the Test game.

    The future of Test cricket was a key talking point at this week’s MCC World Cricket Committee meetings in Sydney, which included the likes of Ricky Ponting, Kumar Sangakkara and Rod Marsh on a 16-person panel led by Mike Gatting.

    The future of Test cricket has faced significant hurdles in the past decade, largely brought on by the popularity of short-form cricket and the temptation of cashed-up T20 clubs removing the best players from international cricket.

    Adding to the problem, the committee said, was the mismanagement of player funds by some countries, driving more players away from the international game and into the lucrative leagues.

    And they said it was up to the ICC to make sure member nations offer longer and better deals to keep the game’s best players representing their countries.

    “Domestic T20s around the world are giving players an easy out to not represent their country and are renumerated in a better way to play in those tournaments,” Ponting said.

    “We’re making sure that the payments in some of the lesser-paid nations increase dramatically so that they have the best players playing for the majority of the year.

    “It’s really important these payments do even themselves up somewhere. You don’t see English or Australian players quitting international cricket to play in the IPL.”

    The fall of the West Indies has largely been linked to the rise of T20 cricket, with a number of their best players starring in the BBL while their Test team struggled on their last visit here in 2015-16.

    Bangladeshi star Shakib Al Hasan also told the committee youngsters from his country now saw T20 clubs as better options for them above the Test side.

    “It’s something we encourage the ICC to have a real good look at to give the game some stability,” Gatting said.

    “Because if we are selling a product we want the best product. And if international cricket is strong then obviously something like Test cricket will be easy to preserve.”

    The independent committee which reports back to the game’s official law makers at the Marylebone Cricket Club also reaffirmed their preference for five-day Tests.

    They also pushed for standardised DRS protocols across all countries for the introduction of the World Test championship in 2019, given different technological programs are currently used in different countries around the world.

    The issue was a pet peeve for England during this summer’s Ashes, and Sangakkara said it was up to the ICC to create consistency.

    “A lot of it has been due to the costs for the country,” the Sri Lankan said.

    “When it is an ICC Test championship we think the onus is on the ICC in terms of finances is provided.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (11)

    • January 11th 2018 @ 5:28am
      Simon said | January 11th 2018 @ 5:28am | ! Report

      Pitches that do a bit, a ball that swings.
      Fixed ya problem, cheers

      • January 11th 2018 @ 8:51am
        Bobbo7 said | January 11th 2018 @ 8:51am | ! Report

        Exactly. From a fans perspective I would rather watch AB Devilliers struggle to 35 to save a Test while wickets fall around him by the over than watch Smith or Warner smash 900 on a road and then have everyone banging on about Bradman. The Ashes has its moments but overall it was a pretty boring series – largely due to the pitches.

        Re the wages, the ICC makes a fortune – just ensure the top 15 contract Test players in each nation are paid well enough to keep them in Test cricket. Given the richer nations can cover it would not cost that much for the ICC to prop up the wages of the West Indies, Bangladesh etc.

        • Roar Guru

          January 11th 2018 @ 9:28am
          Cadfael said | January 11th 2018 @ 9:28am | ! Report

          I do disagree. England had exactly the samee chances as Australia, they just didn’t have the players. What happens, people whinge about flat track bullies not realising that both teams play in the same conditions.

          • January 11th 2018 @ 1:43pm
            Bobbo7 said | January 11th 2018 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

            No doubt Australia were the better team – and fair play to them. But it was a boring series. The Melbourne Test had a poor pitch and to be honest that has been an issue in Australia for the past few years – they are all roads now.

            • January 12th 2018 @ 10:45am
              Jarryd said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:45am | ! Report

              Eh I disagree. The MCG drop in is a road, it’s awful no argument. Has been since it’s inception.

              The Gabba wicket this year was a poor pitch but that isn’t a trend. The weather was awful up here in the lead up but it really should have been better.

              Adelaide has always been a good batting surface but with the day/night test it does more than enough to guarantee a result. If boy joe had the stones to have a bat first it may have been an entirely different game.

              The WACA in recent years has been a road days 1-3 then it breaks up beautifully on the last two days to guarantee a result. I’m interested to see what they can produce at the new stadium. Adelaide do the drop in well, Melbourne don’t. If they can get it to break up like the WACA, bingo.

              SCG still offers enough for spin and uneven bounce at the end of test and it’s the closest we get too subcontinent pitches in Australia. Provided the rain buggers off it offers a result.

              The oft forgotten Hobart pitch is the green top many on here seem to want. Shame we’ll never see an ashes game down there, Poms might even start favourite.

              The biggest issue was the toothless bowling attack. Abbott and Rabada weren’t bowling on minefields they were just far better than the English attacks.

          • January 11th 2018 @ 2:14pm
            Simon said | January 11th 2018 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

            Them not having the players is MY point. If you look at the Sydney Test, you had an out of form batting lineup down 3-0 against one of the great bowling attacks who all happen to be playing at their domestic home ground. They still managed to make 350

      • January 12th 2018 @ 4:39am
        Johnny Dalmas said | January 12th 2018 @ 4:39am | ! Report

        “Pitches that do a bit, a ball that swings.
        Fixed ya problem, cheers”
        … And then a lot of tests (here at least) become lop-sided affairs done inside 4 days. We’ve been down that road before, and it still made for boring albeit shorter test cricket.
        There are three big issues for test cricket:
        1) a lot of cricket fans just aren’t that interested in long-form cricket. After all, short form cricket is the only type of cricket played by 99% of cricketers around the world. First class & Test cricket really is the anomaly
        2) as many football codes around the world show, a well run club-based league makes for very engaged fans over an entire season.
        3) Test cricket is utterly absorbing between evenly matched teams. But most nations aren’t evenly matched. Even if you ensured all the best Bang. & Zim. & West Indian & Pak. & NZ players were 100% available for test cricket, _most_ of the time their series against India, SA, or Aus. will be lop-sided
        For all these reasons cricket will soon economically depend on club-based T20 cricket. I doubt whether those clubs will want to unconditionally support test cricket

    • January 11th 2018 @ 7:32pm
      Mick_Lions said | January 11th 2018 @ 7:32pm | ! Report

      I hear a lot about how our pitches were pretty much white bitumen.
      Yet the Aussie attack took 90 wickets over the series.
      If Smith had taken a straightforward catch when Cook was on 60 in Melbourne it may well have been 100.
      So why is everyone claiming it was easy batting?
      Again, Smith was the ONLY one that made it look easy.
      Huge Kudos should be given to the Aussies for their temperament at the crease over the series and it should never be labelled boring that we won 4-0 with what was a speculative team at best.
      If you were told at the start that the Marsh Brothers would excel, Paine would hold his spot and Cummins would come of age you would choke on your own bile.
      And yet it’s labelled boring that we won the Ashes in convincing style on pitches prepared to help us do it!!
      Wait till we get to the U.K. in 18 months and get skittled by a 36 year old Anderson and a Duke ball.
      THAT will be boring

    • January 12th 2018 @ 9:46am
      Big Daddy said | January 12th 2018 @ 9:46am | ! Report

      Why would they need a 16 man panel to tell us how to save test cricket when we have the best panel on the roar.

    • January 12th 2018 @ 10:04pm
      John Erichsen said | January 12th 2018 @ 10:04pm | ! Report

      Prepare test pitches that provide a fair contest between bat and ball, whether that’s on a low, slow turner in the subcontinent or a lively, bouncy South African pitch. The pitches this Ashes series were for most part disappointing. Our much acclaimed bowling line-up did take wickets, but England scored 302 in Brisbane, 403 in Perth, 491 in Melbourne and 346 in Sydney. All this despite touring with a weak top order and what seemed to be a “Five out- all out” policy for much of the series. That tells me the pitches, barring the pink ball test in Adelaide, were less than bowler friendly. I guess three day tests aren’t ideal for gate takings.

    • January 13th 2018 @ 9:20am
      John said | January 13th 2018 @ 9:20am | ! Report

      If the pitches were roads how did the Australian Bowling attack take so many wickets?

      Either the Australian bowling attack is the greatest ever or the pitches werent as bad as people think……

      Only 5 innings out of 17 for the series had more than 350 runs scored.

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