The International Cricket Council on Wednesday withdrew its contentious proposal of having a ‘Two-Tier’ Test system following “vehement opposition” from world’s richest cricketing body BCCI with the support of Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
“The two-tier Test system proposal, which was supposed to come up for discussion during the two-day Chief Executives Committee (CEC) meeting in Dubai has been taken off the table keeping in mind the objections raised by four members. The ICC will now look afresh at the whole aspect,” a source in the ICC said.
BCCI president Anurag Thakur, who has been a vocal critic of this move terming it a detrimental and retrograde step for the financially weaker nations, welcomed the move.
“I am thankful to the members of the ICC who understood our viewpoint and agreed to take this proposal off the table. As one of the key stakeholders in world cricket, BCCI would continue to have an inclusive approach and ensure that everyone’s interest and the growth of cricket isn’t compromised,” Thakur, who was at the forefront of the anti Two-Tier format, said.
The Indian Board president said the growth and popularity of the game won’t suffer because of the existing format.
“We want to grow the game and take it to new pastures and will not allow any step which can shrink the popularity and development of the game,” said Thakur.
It was learnt that BCCI CEO Rahul Johri thanked the ICC for understanding their point of view.
“BCCI CEO Rahul Johri thanked ICC for understanding the sentiment of all the boards opposing the two-tier system and also ensured its fullest co-operation in the interest of the game to popularise Test cricket worldwide,” a source in the know of things said.
Any structural change to be passed by the ICC needs a clear 2/3rd majority and it would have been difficult to pass this proposal as it required 7 out of 10 votes.
Even the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) would have joined hands with BCCI to stop the move even though they have traditionally sided with the English and Australian boards.
The BCCI recently played four Tests in West Indies as a part of the Caribbean team’s aborted 2014 tour of India.
“Contrary to reports that West Indies were in support of two-Tier system, it was exactly the opposite. West Indies were never in favour of a two-tier Test system. Yes, they are in favour of four-day format for Tests and all for day-night but they never supported bifurcation into two division,” a source informed.
The ICC CEO Dave Richardson in a press statement from Dubai accepted that a lot of deliberation is still needed on the subject.
“There are some complexities, not least because of scheduling and existing structures, but we envisage the changes being implemented for 2019,” Richardson said.
“Encouragingly, there is an appetite from the 10 full members for more context around all three formats of the game and we have consensus on a range of areas. This includes the details of ODI and T20 structures and principles around Test cricket schedules, which include the concept of a Test Champion play-off every two years, and the opportunity for more nations to be involved,” the CEO further stated.