India are currently, the No. 1 ranked side in the ICC Test rankings. @ AFP
India are currently, the No. 1 ranked side in the ICC Test rankings. @ AFP

The International Cricket Council s (ICC) pet project World Test Championship an attempt to save the dwindling longer format will be critical to help the Test format survive, feels former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson.

In June this year, the ICC announced the inaugural World Test Championship which will be played from July 2019 to April 2021. The nine top-ranked teams will play six series on a home-and-away basis against mutually selected opponents.

The top two sides will then battle it out in the ICC World Test Championship final in June 2021.

“Test cricket will survive as long as there is context. The World Test Championship is critical to its survival. If there is no context to matches and they just operate bilateral tours in isolation, then the relevancy will disappear over time,” Hesson was quoted as saying by PTI on Monday.

Hesson, who coached the BlackCaps for six years, before being appointed as head coach of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) this year, feels Test matches generate a lot of interest.

“People are getting scared that Test cricket is disappearing, but I think that’s not the case. There is still a high level of interest,” he said.

“With the World Test Championship, you know that you play eight Tests over a two-year period. Players love playing Test cricket and playing for their country, but if you add context, that leads towards a points table or final or whatever, then it has so much more meaning.

On his latest IPL project, Hesson said: It has been a big month and I am trying to get started for the auction in a few weeks’ time. Getting to know the team around Kings XI Punjab has been an important part of the last couple of weeks. I am doing some scouting and running some trials. I have enjoyed it”.

Quizzed about what strikes him most in the IPL, Hesson said, Every year the skills the bowlers bring are different. Last year we saw the knuckle ball for the first time. Before that we saw the slower bouncer. Every year we see bowlers coming up with different initiatives.