February 18, 2024
WCC Champions Three-Test Series Minimum, Calls for Financial Overhaul and Global Cricket Market Expansion
Sports Cricket

WCC Champions Three-Test Series Minimum, Calls for Financial Overhaul and Global Cricket Market Expansion

WCC Champions Three-Test Series Minimum, Calls for Financial Overhaul and Global Cricket Market Expansion.image/AFP

WCC Champions Three-Test Series Minimum, Calls for Financial Overhaul and Global Cricket Market Expansion

The MCC World Cricket Committee (WCC) has endorsed proposals from various cricket stakeholders, including Cricket Australia, West Indian cricket legend Clive Lloyd, and Indian captain Rohit Sharma, who has shown initial support for the idea. The recommendation is to establish a minimum of three Tests per series in the future. During a recent WCC meeting chaired by former Sri Lankan captain Kumara Sangakkara in Cape Town, it was suggested that the International Cricket Council (ICC) eliminate one-off Test matches and two-Test series from the Future Tours Programme (FTP) starting in 2028.

Concerns were raised about the future viability of Test cricket when it was revealed that South Africa, a strong Test cricket team, would send a squad of non-contracted players to New Zealand for a two-Test series due to commitments in the SA20 league run by Cricket South Africa. The under-strength South African team suffered a defeat against New Zealand in the first Test of the ongoing series.

While there have been previous calls for increased Test cricket globally, the challenge lies in securing funds, especially for cricket boards outside the more established ones such as India, England, and Australia. The WCC has proposed a crucial solution to make hosting Test cricket financially sustainable for cricket boards. The committee highlights the imbalanced global economics of the game, where touring teams bear travel costs, while all revenue is retained by the host board based on historical expectations.

The WCC suggests a reconsideration of this model, calling for an analysis of the impact of home boards absorbing touring team costs as a means of redistributing income. This recommendation is part of a broader audit of the current costs of international cricket initiated after the previous WCC meeting in July 2023.

Furthermore, the WCC urges the ICC to explore new markets for cricket beyond its core market in India. While acknowledging India’s significant contribution to global cricket revenue, the committee emphasizes the need to identify new markets to ensure global growth. With uncertainties regarding media rights beyond the current cycle, the WCC sees the potential for the USA as a growth market for cricket, especially following the momentum generated by the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in the USA and Caribbean and the buildup to the 2028 Olympics in the USA.

The MCC, comprising former cricketers, umpires, and administrators, including Suzie Bates, Clare Connor, Kumar Dharmasena, Sourav Ganguly, Jhulan Goswami, Heather Knight, Justin Langer, Eoin Morgan, Ramiz Raja, Ricky Skerritt, and Graeme Smith, also calls on ICC member nations to allocate a significant portion of their enhanced four-year ICC distributions to support the growth of women’s cricket.

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