ICC to hold advanced talks over nine-team Test championship

(Photo by Julian Finney / Getty Images)

By Adam Ellis

The ICC committee will meet in Auckland on Friday with an inaugural Test championship one of the main items to be discussed on the agenda.

The pipeline idea would see a championship created in 2019 when nine teams compete over a two-year cycle to reach a title-deciding final at the end.

As Test cricket begins to evolve under the ICC ever since their decision back in 2012 to introduce day/night matches, reports in Australia have suggested a Test championship is as good as done.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland boasted of the need to build an ‘international context’.

He said: “You’re also creating structure in such a way that you no longer have games without meaning. They are all part of a league championship.”

Also to be discussed are the potential for four-day Test matches which has been shot down in recent weeks by world media and figures from around the game.

Speaking after South Africa’s win over Bangladesh in the first Test of their series last week, Proteas captain Faf du Plessis said: “I don’t think you should tinker with something that’s not broken. If you go and play around the world, Test cricket is followed quite well.

“If you play in Australia, if you play in England, even if you play in South Africa against the relatively big nations you still get very good crowds.

“There are other formats that are being experimented with. I don’t see why Test cricket should suffer. I am a purist when it comes to that. Hopefully the game can have longevity in the five-day format.”

South Africa will be the first team to trial a four-day Test when they play Zimbabwe on Boxing Day.

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