Ravi Shastri sends strong suggestion to ICC to save Test cricket

Ravi Shastri

Former India coach Ravi Shastri spoke about the sustainability of Test cricket at a symposium organised by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) on Sunday.

Test cricket, which is losing ground outside India, England and Australia, needs a big push to reach the rest of the world. The ICC World Test Championship was organised to maintain the competitive nature of the format. However, it has failed to attract fans to the stadiums apart from the big three teams.

Shastri said Test cricket must remain competitive and the only way to achieve that is to have only relatively stronger teams competing in the format. He advised reducing the number of teams to six or seven instead of the standard 12.

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“When you don’t have quality, that’s when ratings go down, there are fewer people in the crowd, it’s meaningless cricket, which is the last thing the sport wants,” Shastri said at World Cricket Connects, an event at Lord’s organised by the MCC.

“There are 12 teams that participate in Test matches. If you reduce it to six or seven, you have a system of promotion and relegation. You can have two categories but you can let the top six continue to play to maintain interest in Test cricket. You can expand the game into other formats like T20,” the former India coach added.

Meanwhile, former Australian cricketer and former coach Justin Langer said that while he loves the growth of modern T20 cricket, he wants Test cricket to be saved for the impact it can have on the younger generation. He gave the example of Shamar Joseph’s match-winning streak at Briabane that helped West Indies end their losing streak in Test cricket in Australia. Later, he also played for the Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL 2024 where Langer was the head coach.

“Australia was mesmerised and the Caribbean came alive. Last week we saw a million people turn out to watch India celebrate their World Cup win. That’s bilateral and international cricket,” Langer said.

Finally, MCC Chairman Mark Nicholas said the suggestions needed work and thought and that Test cricket needed revenue to stay relevant and alive.

“T20 cricket is the giant that everyone wants. It’s where the new market is, where the fans are and where the money is. In cricket, money is considered a dirty word, but it shouldn’t be because it’s the only way to sustain the game,” Nicholas said.

After a brief period of ODI World Cup followed by T20 World Cup in a span of six months, Test cricket is back with England hosting West Indies for a three-match series. The first Test match begins at Lord’s on July 10. It is also the last Test match for James Anderson, the veteran Test cricketer.

Heading into this series, England are bottom of the 2023-25 ​​WTC points table, while West Indies are sixth. England lost to India 4-1 in an away series, while West Indies won against Australia at the Gabba.

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