Test Championship ‘can slow the exodus to T20’
THE introduction of a global Test Championship can only strengthen the world’s T20 leagues – and might even be enough to persuade players to put country before franchise for longer than is currently the case.
That’s the view of Sean Morris, the former CEO of the Rajasthan Royals, who tells The Cricket Paper that others might think long and hard before following the route taken by the likes of AB de Villiers in recent years.
The introduction of the World Test Championship in 2020 is designed to give greater relevance to the sport’s most traditional format. The implementation of a one-day championship looks set to do likewise.
Morris doesn’t believe its imposition will be seen as a threat by the likes of the Big Bash or the IPL, with both tournaments now well-established parts of the cricket calendar.
He does, though, warn that world cricket’s governing bodies need to both manage players’ workloads and ensure there isn’t an over-supply of cricket.
“I think, from a cricket perspective, everyone welcomes something that’s probably well overdue,” says Morris.
“I don’t think any of the major T20 leagues will be overly perturbed by it because anything that helps cricket globally has to be good for every format.
“I think it’s all positive. The ECB has worked it out now haven’t they; they’ve worked out that it’s all about getting kids into the game.
“Test cricket being organised is building profile for these cricketers.That’s good because it’s getting them in front of the cameras; it’s getting their names on the back pages.
“I think the key is, if you over supply the market and there’s too much – whether that’s T20 or Test cricket – then ultimately you’re going to drive the value down.
“If a Test Championship system means that you’re playing slightly less and that the games you are playing are more meaningful then, maybe, we will see players decide to stay in the Test game for longer.”
Too much meaningless cricket has been a main accusation levelled at the ICC in recent years, with long one-day series with little real meaning taking up a large part of the international calendar.
Morris, though, warns that T20 cricket needs to ensure that its own house is in order when it comes to scheduling.
“Just like the Test and one-day game, the more you supply to the market, the more over-crowded the schedule becomes and the less each individual tournament means,” he says. “If you have wall-to-wall T20 then the product suffers, the value of each competition drops and, in turn, so does the value of those playing the game.”
On the up? Test cricket can potentially help enhance the shortest format of the game