ECB debate role of Test cricket

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The Independent Online

The England and Wales Cricket Board have begun considering the proposals for the future of Test match cricket following a summit meeting between influential figures in the game.

Concerned by the manner in which Twenty20 cricket threatens to dominate the world game, the ECB called a meeting in Leicestershire on Monday involving former England captains and players, ECB officials, counties and leading figures from the International Cricket Council.



The lengthy meeting has prompted the full board of the ECB to discuss several recommendations before forwarding them to the ICC, the world's governing body for further analysis.



The meeting believed there was a need to strengthen the Future Tours Programme with a higher percentage of Test matches to be played between the top teams and resolved to work with the ICC to provide a World Test Championship.



They also believed that over rates should be improved by using points rewards or penalties within the World Test Championship and to investigate the prospect of playing neutral Tests in the UK.



The ECB will also discuss the installation of improved drainage systems in all the Test match venues similar to Lord's, which has been a revelation over the last few years and to ensure ticket prices for major matches remain competitive.



"I'm confident that there has never been such a gathering in the history of cricket in England and Wales," claimed ECB chairman Giles Clarke.



"I am extremely grateful for the support of all those who travelled from all corners of the country and the world to share their ideas on the state of Test cricket.



"Everyone who attended shared the desire that Test cricket be preserved and reinforced as the pre-eminent form of this great game. It was an enthralling and informative session which allows the ECB board to consider key proposals which will allow us to deliver our promise of making England and Wales the home of Test cricket."



Six England captains were present, including the current incumbent Andrew Strauss, Michael Atherton, Alec Stewart, Nasser Hussain, Michael Vaughan and Mike Gatting while other former players like Ashley Giles, Angus Fraser and Jonathan Agnew attended.



ICC general manager cricket Dave Richardson, England assistant coach Andy Flower, ICC World Twenty20 director Steve Elworthy and umpire Simon Taufel were also present.



David Collier, the ECB chief executive, said: "The input from all areas of cricket provided focus on the key opportunities and issues facing the game."



Monday's meeting follows just two years after the Schofield Report into the state of English cricket, which recommended a reduction in the amount of international cricket to allow players to prepare and perform better.



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