The inaugural ICC Test Championship, which was to replace the Champions Trophy, is likely to be held in England in 2017 and, in most likelihood, not at the expense of the 50-over knock-out tournament. The cricket bodies of India, England and Australia are holding a meeting in Auckland over the next few days, in the presence of the ICC’s chief executive, Dave Richardson, to discuss the tournament, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The tournament will be the third of the ICC’s global competitions, including the World Cup and the World Twenty20. The Test Championship will target a core audience, which will give broadcasters a chance to indulge in targeted advertising. The other selling point, which was earlier a bone of contention, is the length of the tournament.
The inaugural Test Championship will be held over just 15 days, and will involve three matches between the top four Test teams in the world, probably by the end of March, 2016. Two semifinalists will meet in the first two matches and the winners will clash in the final. Another idea is to have a round robin format where each team plays every other. This would double the amount of games to six, but the advantage is that if the games were played concurrently, it would all but guarantee that sides go for a win.
The ICC’s Cricket Committee, chaired by Anil Kumble, is due to meet at Lord’s in May this year to discuss the playing conditions. The tournament, surprisingly, even has India’s blessing. The BCCI were earlier not so keen on playing it when the idea was first mooted. The Daily Telegraph says that three things have changed the attitude: first, they feel they can win it; second, it will be highly prestigious if they do claim victory; and third, they get to hold it after England.
Space will be made for the tournament in the itinerary, in England at least, by dropping one of the early-season Tests and not the Champions Trophy as planned earlier. At the moment, the tournament is scheduled for June-July 2017, but it has not been finalised since the cut-off date that determines the four semi-finalists has not yet been chosen.
The ICC would still have to iron out some issues, such as minimising the possibility of a draw. At present, one of the ideas is for a sixth day to be available, though television would not like the uncertainty of that.
First Published: March 20, 2013, 4:31 pm