'Test cricket on verge of death'

MCC suggests world meet, day/night games for revival

Future of the game’s longer version dominated the two-day meeting of the panel at Lord’s that concluded on Tuesday with the committee recommending a World Test Championship, trial of day/night Test cricket and pink balls to revive the format’s fortune.

“Except for certain icon series, such as the Ashes, Test cricket throughout the world, and in particular the lower-ranked nations, is in very real danger of dying,” the committee said in a statement.

Underlining IPL’s impact on the longer version of the game, the committee said, “ MCC’s research proved that attendances at Test cricket have declined in recent years. In addition, there is a growing ambivalence towards the longer format of the game from cricketers in certain nations, with player surveys revealing that an Indian Premier League (IPL) contract was the main career aspiration for many.”

In such a situation, a World Test Championship would reinvigorate players, spectators and broadcasters for what is the pinnacle of the game. The committee endorsed day-night Tests and said a trial should take place within the next 12 months. The panel, which includes former Indian captains Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid, voiced its concern about overkill and asked the national boards to “carefully control” the release of their contracted players to domestic Twenty20 leagues like IPL. Among other issues, the panel backed ICC’s trials of the Umpire Decision Review System.

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