A Manifesto for World Cricket
Previously: Part 1 a b c d e f g h 2 a b c 3 a b c d e f
In the first part of this manifesto, eight principles were put forward to guide the future development of cricket. They are not without controversy, as the implications of them involve a substantial change in the traditions of touring and the existing international flavour to the game. Regardless, I believe strongly in three key ideas that underpin what I was trying to achieve: that cricket can and should aim to be more widely played; that the existing structure of international cricket is not serving the game well, but rather causing players and fans alike to withdraw from the relentless but meaningless competition; and and that T20 domestic cricket will transform the finances of players and the emphasis of the game in a mostly beneficial manner.
Despite this, I believe strongly in the historical traditions that underpin the game, and am a devoted follower of test cricket, even to the exclusion of other forms of the game. Thus while the manifesto seeks to balance multiple competing ideals, it does so in a way that ultimately reflects my beliefs in what I would like to see played, and the competitions I would take an interest in.
With that in mind, three key ideas were put forward. Firstly, that the calendar should be divided between international and T20 domestic cricket, entailing a reduction in first class seasons (an problem most keenly felt in England) and a rationalisation of international tours. Secondly, that world cricket should be split into regions, or more precisely, that the existing regions be amalgamated into three, such that each has the depth to play competitive tournaments amongst its members that would include the test and associate nations. And finally, that half the international test calendar should be set aside to play regional and world test championships, such that, every four years there would be an official world test champion.
Of those three ideas, the first is controversial, but I suspect inevitable, if the growth of T20 cricket continues as it is likely to do. The second is controversial only insofar as many people are deeply reluctant to bring associate teams into the circle of test playing nations. Politically, this is understandable, as full member status carries with it broader implications. As was recently argued by Roy Morgan however, full member status need not be tied to playing the game. The growth of cricket on the fringes is rapid, and they will shortly clamour for more opportunities. Regional qualification competitions are a tried and true way of bringing smaller nations into competition without hurting the overall "product".
The third idea is not new, in the sense that everybody has their own preference for how a world championship should be played. I only proffer mine on the basis that its incubation has been long (almost a decade) and rigorous thought been applied to the intricacies of the problem. The combination of a 6 team world championship, played inside a year, a qualification play-off, and regional qualifiers is, I believe, a unique approach, which addresses the principles outlined at the beginning of this process. I put it forward now, for comment, as a serious suggestion for the enhancement of the game, on which I hope you, my silent (if not absent) readers, might approve.
A Manifesto for World Cricket (pdf)
7th March, 2010 20:28:54
World Test Championship
So, it looks like you are finally going to get your wish.
Cheers, and hopefully ICC spend as much time and effort in planning that as you did here.
Chinmay Dhopate 14th October, 2010 12:44:47
A Manifesto for World Cricket
Chinmay, I have mixed feelings. Something called a "test championship" was inevitable eventually, unfortunately so was the ICC making a hash of it. What is being proposed barely deserves the moniker, and seems to rely on the idea that slapping the label "league" on something will make it exciting. I don't mind my ideas being ignored so much (they were sent to the ICC and others), but what is planned (and the justification for it) barely addresses any of the aims I set forth in my manifesto, so I don't hold out much hope of it being a success.
Russ 14th October, 2010 21:18:59