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Update Don't think Test Championship has achieved what it intended to: ICC Chairman

[Image: newly-appointed-greg-barclay-s.jpg]

Greg Barclay, the newly-elected chairman of the International Cricket Council, said Monday that the inaugural World Test Championship so far has "not achieved what it intended to," raising doubts over the future of the championship. Barclay further said that the COVID-19 pandemic has only "highlighted its shortcomings" as a competition and was unsure if it "entirely fit the purpose" in the current ecosystem.

"In short, I don''t think so (that the World Test Championship has been a boost to Test cricket)," Barclay said during a virtual media conference for wire services. "The COVID has probably highlighted its shortcomings of the championship. ...the issues that we have already got, I wonder whether some of it was because of an attempt to develop a Test Championship, clearly designed to drive interest back into Test cricket, provide a bit of context and relevance around the Test matches.

"From an idealist's point of view, probably it had a lot of merit but practically, I do disagree, I am not sure whether it has achieved what it intended to do," he added.

ICC recently redesigned the points allocation system, changing it to percentage allocation so as to take into account the several series that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Barclay is all in to see this edition through but said that the organizers need to go to the drawing board and look at things differently.

"My personal view is let's get through with the little bit that we can in this COVID-19, with reallocation of points and all that," Barclay said. "...but once we have done that, let''s go back to the drawing board as I am not quite sure whether it (WTC) entirely fits the purpose and has achieved what it intended to after being conceptualised four to five years back.

"I think we need to look at it in the context of calendar and not put cricketers in a situation where it's a lot worse and not going to help us."

Barclay also highlighted how playing World Test Championship for some member nations might simply be untenable in the backdrop of financial handicap from the COVID-19 situation.

"I think there would be some countries. It is difficult for some of the full members as they simply can''t afford to play Test cricket," he said. "Test cricket has got its legacy and I am a purist but I do accept that as much as I want to keep it as it is, less and less countries are able to afford that arrangement and are able to play it. Very few countries can make it work from a financial point of view."

Baclay was also concerned about the crowded cricket calendar that stands further populated with T20 leagues popping up around the world. He wants to shift the spotlight on more "context" in cricket and a greater focus on players' mental and physical health.

"... I do respect that each country has the right to develop its own domestic league given it meets the ICC requirements and is properly sanctioned," he said. "Clearly there is a demand from the playing point of view and commercial partnering perspective. So let's accept that domestic leagues are here to stay and they have been tremendously contributing to the growth of the really exciting products like the IPL, BBL and CPL.

"It's an incredibly difficult juggling act to get in there and also, we need to have enough conversations regarding players' health safety. I don't think we have had enough conversations.

"Bilateral cricket is fundamentally important to member countries. ICC runs very, very good events, all countries must have an opportunity to take part in these events. I am a fan of maintaining ICC events which are world class but at the same time, giving an opportunity to members to have bilateral cricket," Barclay said.


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