So the World Test Championship (WTC) was announced without much fanfare. Does that mean it will suffer a similar outcome? With the approach to it and how will teams contest the WTC not known, the fact that it is in 2017 when the first will materialise may be the reasons for such indifference.
Or it could be because nobody cares. I would have loved to know two players’ reactions to gauge a sense of direction to where this is going, and if it is a futile exercise.
Those two players would be Chris Gayle and Sachin Tendulkar.
Because if the players and fans are not interested, it is time to tell the International Cricket Council to get their act right.
Before coming back to the two stalwarts, it is is worth noting from history that the ICC has been as toothless as a paper tiger and always acted in reaction to things with no foresight and professionalism to look ahead and work with the sign of the times.
Right from the days when the formerly Imperialist Cricket Conference was happy living in the shadows of the MCC to South Africa’s apartheid to the Indian Premier League, it has just been happy to sway with the opinion and not take the initiative to forge a way forward.
In recent times, every lack of decision has been blamed on the shoulders of the Indian cricket board. If the BCCI wants it, the decision will pass.
In that prism, it is safe to assume that the ICC went ahead with the decision to have the WTC after BCCI must have seen enough sponsors and money to bankroll the venture, even if it is not a jackpot like the IPL. Some television company has agreed to something here in principle.
In a way the ICC is right to have a World Cup in Tests. The world events are their only sources of income and if they have one each for ODIs and Twenty20, it would have been politically incorrect to not have one for Tests.
Especially if there was already the Champions Trophy tilting the favouritism in ODIs’ favour. Especially when stalwarts like Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid and the grandfather, Sachin Tendulkar, clinging on to old times sake and indicating their preference.
In the ICC’s attempt to be not shown wanting in the morality aspect of governing the game – which is not a crime – Gayle’s candour in a Guardian interview in the past leaves one thinking if the ICC would have been better served in going that extra step in determining the pulse of the fans and players before taking the plunge. A poll was conducted by Cricket Australia in 2009 which said only 7 percent of Indians among other nationalities prefer Test cricket over other formats but the base for that poll was only 500 respondents and does not hold much water.
The fans do not have time to watch five days of cricket. God save those who end up watching and the result is a tame draw. Gayle and his lot are happy making many times the money than the Tests.
The ICC could still show the courage and bit the bullet on abandoning the venture. Or they will have to pull out all stops and make sure that the interests of the stakeholders, fans and players, are taken care of.
Now why do I think that is too much too ask for.
- Rules which the ICC should change (thearmchairselector.com)
- Sachin Tendulkar retires from IPL (bbc.co.uk)
- Champions Trophy: A tale of mismanagement and lost opportunities (playupblog.wordpress.com)