Test 'world cup' under discussion

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The Independent Online

A new world Test championship designed to safeguard the future of the five-day form of the game will be discussed at a meeting of the sport's lawmakers in November, it was reported today.

The International Cricket Council will meet with the MCC's world cricket committee to look at proposals to boost the popularity of Test cricket amid fears it is losing its primacy, with the 50-over and in particular the 20-over formats on the rise.

This summer's Ashes series has demonstrated that Test cricket at the very top level can still pull in the crowds, but Tony Lewis, the chairman of the MCC's world cricket committee, believes something needs to be done to protect the five-day format in general.

"Test match cricket must fight back to ensure it survives around the world," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"All of the player surveys conducted in recent years say Test cricket is under threat, which is something we simply can't ignore.

"By the time of our meeting in November, we hope to have more evidence that Test match cricket is under threat and to have conducted research into the issue.

"We must protect Test cricket, but we have to rebrand, market and merchandise it properly so it can survive."

The MCC are reported to favour an eight-nation competition in which teams play a best-of-three-match series, with the top-ranked sides progressing to the semi-finals and a final to be staged at Lord's.

Lewis, however, would not be drawn on any ideas he or the committee may have had in terms of a format for any proposed championship, insisting someone would try to "shoot down" the ideas if they were put into the public domain.