Nine-na­tion se­ries bid to boost game

Geelong Advertiser - - SPORT -

THE In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil un­veiled a lon­gawaited, nine-na­tion Test cham­pi­onship yes­ter­day in a bid to pre­serve the five-day for­mat’s sta­tus fol­low­ing the rapid growth of Twenty20.

The Test league was among a raft of re­forms agreed at an ICC board meet­ing in Auck­land, in­clud­ing re­vamp­ing the one­day in­ter­na­tional sched­ule and tri­alling four-day Tests.

“Our pri­or­ity was to de­velop struc­ture that gave con­text and mean­ing across in­ter­na­tional cricket and par­tic­u­larly in the Test arena,” ICC chief David Richard­son said in a state­ment.

The Test league will start in 2019 and see nine teams play six se­ries over two years — three home and three away. It will cul­mi­nate in a fi­nal be­tween the two top teams at Lord’s.

The ICC has ar­gued for years that a Test cham­pi­onship is needed to boost the for­mat’s pop­u­lar­ity as crowds and TV view­ers flock to the big-hit­ting Twenty20 ver­sion of the game.

It first ap­pointed a com­mit­tee to ex­am­ine the con­cept back in 1998.

TOP END TAL­ENT: Luke Zanchetta is down from Dar­win to play cricket with Bell Post Hill. Pic­ture: PETER RISTEVSKI

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