NEW DELHI: With the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirming that the inaugural world Test championship will be held in England in 2017, the format of the tournament has become a hot topic of discussion.
ICC board members will discuss the issue during the quarterly meeting in September but sources said they are agreed the championship won’t be a round-robin one. Instead, the ICC wants only the top four Test teams to feature in the tournament, which will start with the virtual semifinals.
A round-robin format is out of the question since completing the tournament will take close to three months, consuming the entire English summer.
According to IS Bindra – who has been principal advisor with the ICC in the past – the world governing body is hoping the matches in the championship will get over in five days. In case they do not do so, there could be a provision for an extra sixth day.
“If the winner of this Test championship is going to be decided on the basis of first-innings lead, it will kill the tournament. ICC will have to devise a way to take the Tests to the sixth day to decide a winner,” Bindra, who is also the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) president, told TOI from London.
An ICC insider said: “We are going to get suggestions from the cricket committee and then the board members are going to take the final call. It’s too early to comment on the exact format.” The ICC will also start aggressively promoting the Test championship during the Ashes this year.
Currently, India are ranked third in Tests after South Africa and England, followed by Australia at four.
Times View: Here’s how to ensure exciting results
The idea of a world Test championship is well worth taking forward. However, given that it will consist of just two semifinals and a final, it is absolutely essential that the championship is structured in such a way that it ensures a result in every game. There can be nothing more pointless for the fans than to watch five days of cricket and then have the game ending in a draw and having to be decided by contrived yardsticks.
The Ranji Trophy method of drawn games being awarded as a win to the team with the first innings lead, for instance, makes for the most excruciatingly boring cricket, as both teams focus foremost on not getting bowled out till they have amassed a huge total.
This post published first on TOI.