ICC’s Two-Tier Test System – West Indies at the Mercy of Afghanistan

17th January 2014

Military Mediums – audio/visual highlights

Clips to the on-side.

News has emerged in the last day or so of the ICC’s imminent cancellation of the proposed World Test Championship of 2017. As a direct consequence, the likelihood of a two-tier structure in Test cricket, including promotion and relegation (between both divisions and in/out of Test status itself), has become increasingly likely.

In an interview with Gaurav Kalra on ESPN Cricinfo, former India Test batsman Rahul Dravid has commented upon the potential implications for the mid-placed Test teams like the West Indies.

Here are some of his observations:

Gaurav Kalra: “We’re talking today about a radical new move being considered by the ICC – a two-tier system of Test cricket that could be in place soon… the ICC is mulling over a relegation and promotion system, whereby associate members like Ireland or Afghanistan could gain promotion to Test status at the expense of the bottom sides like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.”

Rahul Dravid: “It’s a good thing that teams have to earn the right to be in the elite division of Test cricket. It’s not just given to you by right. It puts a little bit of pressure on teams to ensure they do play well enough – and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for the likes of Ireland and Afghanistan… (however) the second division or lower division of this is going to have to be funded because most of the lower division teams rely on bilateral series with India, or to some extent England, to be able to actually make revenues to survive. If some of those teams drop out… for example West Indies or New Zealand if they were to drop down into another division and don’t get to play India that could have a huge impact on their cricket and their structure and their domestic cricket as well. If New Zealand were to play West Indies… I can’t imagine they’d be able to be raise huge amounts of revenue.”

GK: “There is a very strong view about traditional Test playing countries being encouraged to get stronger. You’ve already made the point about West Indies and New Zealand – there are some who believe that actually that’s where the focus should be – you should try to improve the playing standard of a country like the West Indies that has such a great history and legacy… should that be the focus of the ICC rather than trying to encourage other countries such as Ireland and Afghanistan who’ve never been Test playing countries to come up in the ranks?”

RD: “I don’t think both of those things can’t be done. There should be an effort to strengthen countries like the West Indies and try and bring them back to the standards they set over the years, but the responsibility also lies with these countries. It shouldn’t just be a right to say, irrespective of how you govern the sport in your own country, that you’re still going to be a Test playing nation. That’s not fair on teams like Ireland and Afghanistan who are making a huge effort to promote and raise the number of people playing cricket in those countries. If they earn the right to become better than the West Indies, or any team for that matter, then they earn the right to be in that top eight.”

I think the message is that the Caribbean can’t expect any help from the ICC to get back to the top table; and that places at the lower table are all up for grabs.

You can watch the whole of this interview here.

David Oram

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