Cape Town: The MCC World Cricket Committee (WCC) said it recommends playing a minimum of three Test matches from the next ICC Future Tours Programme (FTP) from 2028 onwards. The Marylebone Cricket Club’s WCC had its meeting at Cape Town last week, which was hosted by former South Africa captain Graeme Smith, who’s also the commissioner of SA20.
Recently, Australia played a two-match Test series against the West Indies, which ended in a 1-1 draw and is scheduled to play a similar two-game series in New Zealand. Moreover, India also played a two-match Test series against South Africa in December 2023-January 2024, which was a change from the usual three-game series between the two teams.
“The meeting occurred in the immediate aftermath of two fantastic men’s Test matches played in Brisbane and Hyderabad, which excited supporters of the Test match format, yet also left them ruing the absence of a possible third match decider in the Australia v West Indies two-match series.”
“In support of the thrilling Test cricket currently being played and the importance of sustaining the traditional format of the game, the WCC recommends men’s Test series be played across a minimum of three matches from the next ICC Future Tours Programme (FTP) from 2028 onwards,” said the WCC in its statement.
Speaking about growing the game in newer countries, the WCC feels hosting the Men’s T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies, as well as the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, will play a part in spreading the game in the world.
“The game owes a debt of gratitude to India, with its insatiable thirst for cricket driving the wealth in the global game. However, this reliance upon India belies the fact that the game needs to identify new markets to ensure its global growth, at a time when media rights beyond the current cycle are by no means guaranteed.”
“With this uncertainty identified and on the back of the momentum built through this year’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in the USA and Caribbean and the build-up to the 2028 Olympics in the USA, the acceleration of the USA as a growth market for cricket would seem a natural consideration.”
The WCC also called for reducing the financial gap between the various ICC members and has called full members to take the lead in it. “The WCC has long understood that the record media rights deal negotiated for broadcasting ICC events from 2024-2027 has delivered global cricket a generational opportunity over the upcoming four-year period.”
“However, what has also become clear is that, despite this significant capital injection, many are doubting if it will deliver a tangible universal gain. Whilst some have prospered, many full and associate members are clearly struggling.”
“This gap is growing and if not addressed will affect the playing and, perhaps more importantly, the development programmes of the less-affluent, perhaps irrevocably, leading to a greater disparity of competitiveness. The WCC feels the ICC full member nations should take a more collegial approach to ensure that this period concludes with the global game in the strongest possible health.” IANS
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