Monday, July 19, 2010

A new trophy, a new opportunity

The ICC is looking to maybe remove the world of cricket for the Champions Trophy an outdated ODI event that has no benefit to the countries that play in it or win it, other than adding to the already long list of ‘dead rubber’ one-day games. It seems that this could happen in either 2012 or 2013 at about the same time that England was due to hold the Champions Trophy. A test championship I think puts the ICC into that trap of having a tournament, much like OD World Cup has too many uneventful matches and drags the tournament out beyond a month.

A Test Championship is a good thing, and much like the World Cups for the sport it has to be timed well. I already feel that the doubling up of the T20 World Cup is overkill at its best, and only makes the holders Pakistan now look like they fluked it rather than earned it a year ago with inspired cricket. I feel cricket and the ICC needs to look at its major Trophies and decide the order in which they are played. Straight away I think the T20 World Cup should be every 2 years allowing the holders sometime to enjoy the win and promote the trophy. T20 is the money maker at the moment, but we can’t saturate the market with it all the time, every 2 years gives the tournament meaning and a chance for minnow nations to build towards the next event.

One-Day World Cup at every 4 years is fine, I think it’s a longer tournament and it’s a traditional tournament with a long history of winners, the rumours of changing the format to 2 x 20 over’s will ruin this and I hope these plans are only on a domestic level. Cricket with its different formats needs to stay different, by edging each format closer to T20 you might as well get rid of the other formats; they are all good because they all require a different type of attacking formula to win them.

A Test Championship is a great idea but not as an 8 or 12 team tournament. For this to work it has to be a 4 team knock-out style cup or in a round robin situation with the top 2 playing off. The reasons for this is the 5-day game in its self takes all week, if you have lesser nations taking on stronger ones it becomes ridiculous with results and runs made. Where do we get the Top 4 from? This is where the ICC can make a great change and turn test cricket into a ‘real’ competition, Test Team rankings have always been around, but with sides playing an uneven about of games over the course of a calendar year it makes for very dull reading. By developing a set number of tests to be played and a points system for the ladder it would allow fans to follow their country in the rankings with the Top 4 making it into the Test Championship.

As we have seen recently with the neutral tests being held between Australia and Pakistan, that these sorts of games can draw decent crowds and produce and great match to watch. I can see people being concerned with the strong top 4 of Australia, England, South Africa and India maybe having a strangle on the series, but with nations such as Bangladesh, Zimbabwe being given more opportunity in an even schedule to play top sides then they shall improve at a much faster rate. With games that count towards a table of results you will also find teams looking to win matches rather than hold on for draws which has been the down fall in some low rated test series. Cricket is poised in a great situation at the moment with the momentum of T20 bringing people to watch cricket, by renewing some of the formats and making the competitions more tradition in their approach to tables and results the sport is in a position to further enhance and improve its current holdings.

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