Plans are on to introduce promotion and relegation to revive and secure the future of Test cricket, says ICC Chief Executive David Richardson.
The ICC’s cricket committee, which is meeting at Lord’s this week, is aiming to introduce two divisions into Test cricket as a way of reviving interest.
“There’s a general realisation now that, if we’re going to keep Test cricket going well into the future, we can’t just say it’s going to survive on its own,” said Richardson, who was in London to promote the 2017 Champions Trophy.
“Unless we can give some meaning to these series beyond the rankings and a trophy, then interest in Test cricket will continue to waiver. The same applies if we allow uncompetitive Test cricket to take place too often.
“If we really want Test cricket to survive, we can’t have the number of Test teams diminishing. We have to create a proper competition structure which provides promotion and relegation and opportunities to get to the top,” he added.
Admitting the drop in interest, Richardson admitted that Test cricket required added ‘meaning and context’ if it is to survive.
“A number of member countries are finding that they’re not getting as much from their TV rights for bilateral cricket and they see the need to change and introduce some meaningful context.
“The beauty of leagues is that, in theory, you will have a more competitive competition and teams playing each other that are of a more equal standard.
“They will all be striving for something. There’s something at stake. They will be thinking ‘We could end up in the Intercontinental Cup if we’re not careful here.’ Hopefully that will inspire performance and make the matches more competitive,” Richardson concluded.
While the details of the plan remain open to debate, Richardson hoped they will be agreed by the end of this month.