New Delhi: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday shelved the proposal of a two-tier structure in Test cricket.
The decision of ICC withdrawing contentious proposal of having a ‘two-tier’ Test system came in after the body received a huge opposition from the world's richest cricketing body, BCCI, along with support from Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
After lengthy discussions held at the high-end meeting in Dubai on the pros and cons of the two-tier structure, the ICC decided to not go ahead with the idea until 2019, instead planning on a Test Champion play-off, every two years.
BCCI president Anurag Thakur, who has been a vocal critic of this move saying that it is a retrograde step for the financially weaker nations, welcomed the move of ICC shelving the two-tier Test system.
Speaking to a news agency the BCCI president said, “I am thankful to the members of the ICC who understood our viewpoint and agreed to take this proposal off the table. As one of the key stakeholders in world cricket, BCCI would continue to have an inclusive approach and ensure that everyone’s interest and the growth of cricket isn’t compromised."
"We want to grow the game and take it to new pastures and will not allow any step which can shrink the popularity and development of the game,” Thakur further added.
Speaking about the discussions to press, ICC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), David Richardson, said, "The focus has been on solutions that will grow fan interest and engagement by delivering high quality cricket, with the best players playing in an environment where every match counts."
Making a detailed statement, ICC CEO, Richardson said, "Encouragingly there is an appetite from the ten full members for more context around all three formats of the game and we have consensus on a range of areas. This includes the details of ODI and T20 structures and principles around Test cricket schedules, which include the concept of a Test Champion play off every two years, and the opportunity for more nations to be involved."
The current cycle of the ongoing Future Tours Program ends in 2019-20 and the ICC has emphasised that a two-tier structure in Tests wouldn't be feasible for now, considering the complexities involved around the scheduling aspect. "There are some complexities, not least because of scheduling and existing structures, but we envisage the changes being implemented for 2019," the ICC CEO's statement read.
The members are now expected to go back and share their thoughts with the respective boards even as the game's apex body continues working on the creation of a structure that will keep all the three formats of the game healthy. "Work will continue to develop a clear structure and position for each format over the coming months as the ICC collectively focuses on improving bi-lateral cricket for fans and players in the long run," Richardson concluded.