One of the many criticisms thrown at the game of cricket by the nay-sayers is that ‘it goes on too long’ which is why crazy revolutions like “The 100” get thrown around from time-to-time. I don’t tend to agree as, personally, I always prefer watching a Test match over an ODI. But even I have a line and it looks like the ICC have finally located it.
A tournament that takes two years to find a winner.
The ICC have announced that the World Test Championship is to get underway in 2019 with England playing Australia (which already smacks of needing to get people interested in it by throwing in the big guns early).
Oh, and it will finish with a final at Lords in 2021.
You might be thinking that a one-off Test with Australia in the name of a new competition sounds rather cool, but no. We are talking about the Ashes series being part of this new format. So not only will England be playing for the Urn (and hopefully making a far better fist of it than in the winter) but there will be points available. And you know what points win, right Dale? (RIP).
The ICC, naturally, haven’t worked out important things like how the points will be won and lost yet because hey, who needs to understand that yet? But what we do know is that each of the nine Test playing nations must play three series at home and three series away before the top two sides meet in a final in 2021. You’ve spotted the flaw as well, haven’t you. It’s not everyone plays everyone. There’s quite a bit of wiggle room for error here over a two year period.
Before those of you that like that ‘other’ sport say “what about the World Cup – that takes two years to qualify for and then you have the finals”, that is a completely different kettle of fish. Granted, there are two years of building up to a massive event but it is a standalone competition rather than being mixed into other prestigious occasions like the Ashes.
The ICC are all over this, of course. Except they are not. They haven’t even worked out how the final works yet. Is it a one-off winner takes all? Whoa there, this is Test cricket – the draw is always in the mix. How cricket would that be to play in a tournament for two years and then it ends in a draw? What if they put double points on the line and add it to the final tally? A good idea Geoffrey, but what if the team at the top of the table only needed a draw to win the thing? That hardly makes for an exciting showcase ‘final’ does it?
Unsurprisingly, the cricket powers that be have announced something before working out exactly how it is going to work and like most big cricketing announcements it sounds like a decent concept but you just know the execution is going to be a disappointment. Unless, of course, they let some non-cricketing types loose on how it is actually going to work. IPL, anyone?
In other news, the Ethics Centre (which sounds like a barrel of laughs to work for) has been brought in to look at the culture of Australian cricket. Really, do we need to bring an independent committee in to look at this? They win or they cheat. Sometimes they do both. And they do it rather well. Let them be, it’s all part of the game.