Test Cham­pi­onship ‘can slow the ex­o­dus to T20’

The Cricket Paper - - THE CRICKET PAPER - By Richard Ed­wards

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.”

PIC­TURE: Getty Images

On the up? Test cricket can po­ten­tially help en­hance the short­est for­mat of the game

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