The idea of introducing a two-tier system in Test cricket has divided the cricketing world into two parts. A few days after BCCI chief Anurag Thakur expressed his reservations over the proposal, Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat has voiced his support for the much-debated proposal.
“Test cricket is already fading and will die if nothing is done,” Lorgat said. “South Africa would support a two-tier Test system in order to create a meaningful context for Test match cricket. Currently, there is little or no meaning when countries play against each other in bilateral Test matches, save for the Ashes.”
According to the system, the teams will be divided into two divisions. The top seven teams will be in division one while the division two will consist the bottom five sides,with each team playing a series either home or away against the others in their divisions over a two-year cycle. The winner of the league, promotion and relegation will be decided by the ranking. The winners of the Intercontinental Cup, the first-class competition for Associate nations, would also be able to win promotion to division two. Lorgat said that the system will create an opportunity for smaller countries to progress in the game.
“A two-tier system with promotion and relegation will allow for a much better narrative plus two more teams will have the opportunity to play Test match cricket,” Lorgat said. “The Test league can also link down to the Intercontinental Cup where again promotion and relegation will create context and opportunity for other countries.”
New Zealand, Australia, and England have already expressed their support for the proposal. However, along with India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have opposed the system for various reasons.
Meanwhile, West Indies are still undecided on the issue.
“At this point in time the West Indies Cricket Board does not have enough information to make an informed decision,” Dave Cameron, the president of the WICB, said. “However in world football, there are no divisions with over 200 nations participation, and so off the bat, we cannot see the need for divisions if we have 12 teams participating in Test cricket.”
The ICC will hold a special meeting in Dubai next month and the two-tier system will be an important topic.