On the Front Foot: Why the ICC should keep the Champions Trophy

 

By common consent the cricket tournament now being played in England (and Wales) is small but perfectly formed. It follows therefore that this, the seventh Champions Trophy, is intended to be the last.

In their infinite wisdom, which admittedly they manage occasionally to keep brilliantly concealed about a thousand miles under the Dubai desert where they have their headquarters, the International Cricket Council have decided it has to go. Before, when the competition had no friends and was considered superfluous, it had to stay.

The good old CT, as it has become, is being sacrificed on the altar of the World Test Championship. In theory, this is an admirable exchange – another limited-overs tourney for a spectacle in which the greatest form of the game can be seen in all its glory.

The inaugural WTC is scheduled for 2107 and will be played in England, the only place where Test cricket is still properly deified. Dave Richardson, the chief executive of the ICC, said last week that it was the ideal place. But as yet this has not been thought through.

The plan to have the top four teams in the rankings qualifying is clearly unworkable. There would be no room for the honourable draw, yet a timeless match to yield a result would be against the very tenets of the game (despite some mucking about on this score in the 1920s). The benefit of the WTC would be to give Test cricket some razzmatazz every four years, to offer the world a champion. But the ICC know that the rankings already do that.

There may be a way round it: to have the top two in the rankings at a certain point qualifying for a three-match final, of which the final match would be timeless in the event of two draws. But if the weather intervened it would be a championship without a champion.

The ICC meet later this month to decide, or at least to put an item on the agenda for further discussion. It is not too late to save the delightful Champions Trophy.

Start of a marathon

England played Australia yesterday in the first of 26 international matches between the countries in the next nine months. There are a scheduled 66 playing days and about as many hotel rooms. The total number of miles that the teams will have to travel, discounting brief forays home, is more than 40,000.

Most of those will be in Australia, and England can expect to travel 35,000 miles after leaving Heathrow in October. A minority of players will be there every step of the way, wrecking their carbon footprint.

Subcontinent sell-out

Make no mistake that the big match of the Champions Trophy takes place next Saturday, a week before the final. The pool B encounter between India and Pakistan at Edgbaston sold out within two hours. It could have sold out at least 10 times over.

The five Trophy matches staged at the venue will be worth £15.5m to the city, £3m more than originally budgeted, because of the clash. Birmingham has taken the event to its heart and the city council are using the event to persuade overseas business to invest. Cricket is more than a game.

Brum bangs own drum

Visit Birmingham have been extremely active in promoting the delights of the city. Doubtless to the consternation of Edgbaston, their pamphlet trumpets ideas of what to do on a rainy day. See a film in a 1920s cinema, anyone? Check out Pre-Raphaelite art?

They know whereof they speak: Edgbaston lost to rain three days of its Test match last year, an entire ODI, and much of the Twenty20 international. When Warwickshire launched their County Championship title defence with a weather-ruined match against Derbyshire this season it put the tin lid on it. The forecast for this week with three matches due is distinctly unpromising. Visit Birmingham were only doing their duty.

s.brenkley@independent.co.uk; twitter.com/@stephenbrenkley

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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'