World Test Championship could be scrapped, ICC Chairman hints

Akshay Saraswat

Akshay Saraswat

Author| Nov 30, 9:45 AM

Image: Twitter
Image: Twitter


The new chairman of International Cricket Council (ICC), Greg Barclays, has expressed his disappointment with the way World Test Championship (WTC) has had to be conducted. He candidly told journalists in a press conference that the COVID-19 pandemic has severely damaged the value of the ongoing Test tournament. 

Answering a specific question about whether the WTC has achieved the intended goal of making Test cricket more appealing, Barclays answered, "In short, I don’t think so. The COVID has probably highlighted its shortcomings of the championship."

The chairman further added that: "The issues that we have already got, I wonder whether some of it was because of an attempt to develop a Test Championship, clearly designed to drive interest back into Test cricket, provide a bit of context and relevance around the Test matches. 

"From an idealist’s point of view, probably it had a lot of merit but practically, I do disagree, I am not sure whether it has achieved what it intended to do."

The WTC began last year and was progressing as per the schedule but then COVID-19 threw the calendar into a muddle. As a result, many of the bilateral series that teams had to play can no longer take place before the date of the final, set to take place at Lord's Cricket Ground next year. ICC had to change the rules of the tournament in order to accomodate the altered circumstances. 

What is even more ominous is the fact that the ICC chairman dropped a hint of actually scrapping the tournament altogether after the first edition gets finished. 

"My personal view is let’s get through with the little bit that we can in this COVID-19, with reallocation of points and all that. But once we have done that, let’s go back to the drawing board as I am not quite sure whether it (WTC) entirely fits the purpose and has achieved what it intended to after being conceptualised four to five years back," Barclays commented.

The new chairman discussed several other issues like making changes to the cricket calendar, providing context to bilateral series, and handling T20 leagues around the world. Now, at the helm, he will have to face all these issues head-on. 

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