ICC chief wants Test world championship

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The Independent Online
A formally recognised Test cricket world championship, first proposed by the Independent four years ago, could be in place by the end of the year.

Speaking in Johannesburg yesterday during the first Test between South Africa and Australia, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council, David Richards, said he would be seeking assurances from all nine Test playing nations that a formalised world championship would have their backing.

"The next ICC meeting is in Kuala Lumpur on 23 March and once we've agreed in principle it's just a question of juggling itineraries to make sure that all the countries play each other home and away over, perhaps, a four-year period," he said.

The Independent suggested a system with points awarded for winning and drawing Test matches, away wins worth twice as many points as those at home, and bonus points given for series victories.

Matthew Engel, the editor of Wisden, recently suggested an alternative system whereby a team winning a series would get two points, one point for a draw and no points for a lost series. "The points system suggested by Matthew Engel seems to be the simplest," Richards said.

"There is a feeling that we need to reaffirm what the players feel about the importance and status of Test cricket and a world championship would certainly raise its profile.''

Heavy rain in Auckland washed out today's fourth one day international between England and New Zealand. The match will now be played on tomorrow's reserve day.

The England management has agreed to allows wives and girlfriends to join the players during the tour to the West Indies next year, the itinerary for which was announced yesterday. The tour will also allow more time for rest and preparation than the tours to Zimbabwe and New Zealand. The party will acclimatise in Antigua before travelling to Jamaica for the First Test.

S Africa fight back, page 29

West Indies tour itinerary, Sporting Digest, page 31