Radical plans for the creation of two divisions in Test cricket and a one-day international league will be on the agenda of the International Cricket Council’s week-long annual meeting in the Scottish capital.
Since Australia and England played the first Test in 1877, international matches have largely been matters for the two countries concerned and the same has generally been true of ODIs outside of
tournaments such as the World Cup. The ICC has introduced weighted Test rankings but the complicated formula has failed to capture the imagination of cricket fans and the wider sporting public.
With many top players increasingly tempted by offers to play in domestic Twenty20 events such as the Indian Premier League, where they can earn more money in less time than by playing Tests, officials are keen to give the long-format game greater “context”.
“We are looking at competition structures across all three formats (Tests, ODIs and Twenty20),” ICC chief executive David Richardson told AFP at the launch of the 2017 Champions Trophy earlier this month.
“We want to find ways of playing slightly less cricket but more meaningful cricket.”Richardson is behind a scheme that would see the creation of seven teams in Division One and five, including two new Test nations, in Division Two. They would play in a league system where there was promotion and relegation.
Each team in the top tier would play every other side home or away in a two-year cycle.
Matches and series would each be given a set number of points -- the exact figures are still to be decided -- to determine the standings.
At the end of the cycle, the bottom team would be relegated, with the team on top the new world Test champions.
Similar considerations are behind plans to introduce a 13-team ODI league which, as with the new Test structure would begin in 2019.
The set-up could also see countries such as Ireland, long the leading Associate ICC nation, finally get a crack at Test cricket.
Under the revised arrangements the 50-over Champions Trophy would be scrapped as the new league, which could act as a qualifier for the World Cup, would give ODIs all the ‘context’ they needed.
There are also proposals for the popular World Twenty20, won in April by the West Indies when they beat England in a thrilling last-over finish in Kolkata, to revert to being staged once every two years.
According to a report, this could raise an extra 400-500 million in every eight-year cycle.
Such funds could help bankroll Test cricket, which can now struggles to attract spectators outside of major series such as the Ashes.