ICC to look at possible World Test Championship

Cape Town, South Africa: The International Cricket Council will look into the possible introduction of a new World Test Championship with a four-year league and a play-off series to decide the game's Test champion. In a statement following the ICC Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) meeting in Cape Town, South Africa on Monday and Tuesday.

The ICC announced: “The Future Tours Programme (FTP) should consist of a Test league to provide context for all Test matches. The league would determine the top four teams to qualify for an ICC Test play-off. The play-off should be held once every four years to determine the Test champion team with a request to hold the first such play-off in 2013”.

An ICC working group had also proposed a similar four-year league for one-day matches, the first from April 2011 to April 2014. It would run separate to the World Cup, the ICC said.

Following the meeting, the CEC endorsed a series of recommendations from a CEC working group which was set up to identify ways of introducing context for international cricket within the Future Tours Programme (FTP) after 2012 and also to consider future ICC events. Coming from this meeting, the CEC will make some key recommendations to the ICC Board to consider.

They are:
The FTP should also consist of a One-Day International league, the first to run from April 2011 until April 2014, culminating in the crowning of an ODI league champion. This would run separate to the ICC Cricket World Cup; that the ICC Board should consider a 10-team format for the ICC’s flagship event, the ICC Cricket World Cup, from 2015; that the ICC Board should consider a 16-team format for the men’s ICC World Twenty20 from 2012, with the women’s event continuing to run alongside; the introduction of Twenty20 International rankings table as soon as this is justifiable.

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said: “I am really excited by what the CEC has proposed. Restructuring international cricket is a significant strategic challenge and one that must be dealt with. I am grateful to the CEC and its working group for making such far-reaching proposals to tackle this important issue.

"Achieving balance and unanimous agreement is not easy but it is a very important piece of work that requires a strategic response. The holistic set of proposals, especially introducing more meaningful context, means we now have the potential to follow international cricket that is even more exciting.

He added: “Protecting and promoting all three formats at international level is viable and I believe the CEC has shown itself to be forward thinking in tackling the challenges. I am now encouraged to engage with the ICC Executive Board to consider these proposals as soon as possible.”

Bad light: The CEC continues to support the promotion of Test cricket by promoting initiatives to enhance play. In this regard, the CEC received a clarification from David Richardson (ICC General Manager – Cricket) following recent discussions at the Elite Umpires and Match Referees Seminar on the question of when players should leave the field due to bad light.
Mr Richardson said: “There is a clear instruction to match officials that the players should only go off the field when conditions are considered dangerous or unreasonable. In addition, players should not go off the field when the ground floodlights are switched on and these were deemed before the series to be adequate.”

Balance between bat and ball: The CEC also discussed the need to ensure that Test match pitches provide a fair balance between bat and ball and approved a revised guideline to the ICC Pitch and Outfield Monitoring Process.
Mr Lorgat said: “In recent years there have been many more results in Test matches but there are still a few instances where the pitches do not provide a fair balance between bat and ball. This must be addressed to ensure that the enduring charm and attraction of Test match cricket is not endangered by pitches which do not produce a true contest.”

Additional update reports: The CEC received a detailed progress report on preparations for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, including the release of the next phase of match tickets on October 15.
Mr Lorgat said: “It is satisfying to see all the hard work undertaken by the host nations paying off.  I am not expecting the ICC final inspections to reveal any significant concerns.”

The CEC also received an update presentation on the progress in developing the ICC Strategic Plan 2011-15.
The CEC comprises the chief executives of the 10 Test-playing Members and three representatives from the ICC Associate and Affiliate Members. It is chaired by the ICC Chief Executive. The Chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee was also in attendance.