It's not even begun yet – but ICC to axe Test Championship

 

Hyderabad

The World Test Championship, devised to rescue the longest, oldest and best form of the game from oblivion, is in jeopardy. Although the schedule has already been agreed for the inaugural tournament in England in 2013, it will almost certainly be postponed for at least four years.

There must now be concerns that the WTC will never take place after it became clear yesterday that broadcasters were reluctant to the point of refusal to screen it. The uncomfortable truth is that the Champions Trophy, the so-called mini-World Cup of limited-overs matches, is worth millions of pounds more in revenue.

Haroon Lorgat, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council, said after a quarterly board meeting in Dubai yesterday: "It would be unfortunate if the Test Championship is delayed to 2017 but the board needs to balance several objectives."

It was another bad day for the ICC as the supposed governing body, since it was forced to drop the Umpire Decision Review System as official policy. Nominally, DRS has been compulsory in all Test series for two years but India have regularly refused to use it.

Last-ditch attempts are likely to be made to save the WTC but ICC officials privately admit it is unlikely to proceed. For weeks there had been whispers that there was trouble with ESPN Star Sports, the rights holders to all global cricket events until 2015.

This was reflected in the ICC's terse statement after its meeting. It said: "The board confirmed their preference to host an ICC Test Championship in 2013 but recognised the significant commercial challenge in trying to replace the Champions Trophy. Without the support of ICC broadcast partner ESPN Star Sports, the financial implications on the members and the development of the game would be significant."

The ICC wanted to replace the 2013 Champions Trophy with the Test tournament because it was painfully aware that the old game needed reinvigorating, being watched to any great degree only in England. Lorgat has been especially bullish about it.

England agreed to stage the event, which is intended to feature the top four teams in the rankings. Although there was a feeling that the hosts could win the tournament, the England and Wales Cricket Board will not be entirely sorry about the cancellation. There is an Ashes series that summer and there is presumably a limit to the appetite for Test cricket even in England.

ESPN Star's stance unequivocally demonstrates that the one-day piper calls the tune. If the 2013 WTC is cancelled, the ICC intends to negotiate its next broadcasting agreement with it as part of the package. The worry is that no broadcaster will be interested.

In ditching the much-lauded DRS, the ICC hopes it will eventually win India round. Countries involved in bilateral series are still free to use it, although that is likely to apply to only the bigger nations.

It is a blow, but there was no other option without continuing to look foolish every time India cocked a snook. Somehow, it makes more pressing the independent review of the ICC's role being conducted by the former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf.

He is due to report in February and said yesterday: "In cricket people recognise that they have to face the challenges and will be prepared to take the decisions that will allow them to function effectively." If so, all may be well.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future