No one understands what’s good for the health of cricket better than Rahul Dravid, Steve Waugh, Anil Kumble, Shaun Pollock and Mike Brearley — all of whom are part of MCC’s world cricket committee. On Wednesday, these league of extraordinary gentlemen, called on the International Cricket Committee (ICC) to end the uncertainty about World Test Championship (WTC) and implement it in some form, to help safeguard the future of Tests.Cricket, however, is no more a straightforward, gentleman’s game.
Now, it is governed more keeping in mind commercial interests. The fact is that views of the Brearley-led committee are unlikely to make an impact.
The broadcasters and commercial partners are reluctant to back the concept of WTC, undermining its viability. After the planned first edition of the WTC in 2013 was shelved, the ICC was looking at conducting it in 2017.
Amidst reports of it also being shelved, the MCC in its meeting in Abu Dabhi reiterated its support for WTC and demanded that, at least, two teams contest a WTC final in 2017.
According to cricket website, ESPNcricinfo, instead of the WTC the ICC is now considering a two-tier system, with promotion and relegation. In the two-tier system, the Associate nations will have a chance to press for spots at the Test match table on the basis of performance against the lower-ranked Full Members.
Another issue raised at the committee’s meeting was the need for the Future Tours Programme (FTP), to be binding.
The purpose of having FTP was questioned recently when the Indian cricket board curtailed its tour of South Africa to accommodate a short series against the West Indies.
Several other countries have also gone ahead and made changes to the original schedule and on most occasions dropped Tests in favour of limited-over games.
The latest example being Pakistan planning to cut down a Test in their forthcoming series against Australia in the UAE and instead play a few ODIs and T20.
The influential cricket committee also declared that the risk of corruption in global domestic T20 tournaments poses the biggest threat to the game. During the meeting, there was a presentation by Sundar Raman, the Indian Premier League’s top official on the IPL’s association with the MCC’s Spirit of Cricket.
The ICC committee also heard of the anti-corruption measures in place to prevent any future spot or match-fixing activities.
The committee would like to see a system whereby it would become a requirement for global T20 tournaments to sign up to a set of minimum anti-corruption standards provided by the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) in order for the game’s governing body to sanction a tournament.
At the moment, there is no such measure in place.