ZC oppose ICC reforms

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Zimbabwe face relegation to the second-tier league if the ICC adopts a two-format Test system

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) have voiced their disapproval of the proposed reforms to international cricket where a two-tier Test system could come into place if recommendations by the International Cricket Council (ICC) are adopted.

by Kevin Mapasure

Zimbabwe face relegation to the second-tier league if the ICC adopts a two-format Test system
Zimbabwe face relegation to the second-tier league if the ICC adopts a two-format Test system

The proposed format would see two Test divisions with the first containing seven nations and five in the second.

The bottom three in the Test rankings would all drop into Division Two to join two Associate sides, while the winners of the Intercontinental Cup get promoted into the second-tier league.

Nations in Division Two would also be compelled to compete for promotion to the top-tier league.

Four of the 10 full-member boards have already endorsed the idea mooted by ICC chief executive David Richardson.
Australia, New Zealand, England and neighbours South Africa, ranked number seven, have already said they are up for the changes.

Bangladesh, who are ranked number nine, India and Sri Lanka have all opposed the proposal and they have been joined by Zimbabwe.

West Indies (ranked number eight), who might fall into the Division Two based on the current rankings, have not announced an official position even though they are believed to be in opposition.

Number one-ranked Pakistan have not yet gone public about their position, but are likely to give the thumbs-up to the ICC proposal.

The matter will be deliberated at a special ICC board meeting in Dubai next month, but ZC chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani has said that they will oppose the idea of a two-tier Test system.

The ICC argue that the new system would help keep Test cricket alive by giving meaning to the series.

“There’s a general realisation now that if we’re going to keep Test cricket going well into the future, we can’t just say it’s going to survive on its own,” Richardson said. “Unless we can give some meaning to these series beyond the rankings and a trophy, then interest in Test cricket will continue to waver. The same applies if we allow uncompetitive Test cricket to take place too often.”

Mukuhlani told NewsDay Sport that the proposed system erodes the value of nations such as Zimbabwe.

“We are not for those changes, they do not help us at all. In fact, they erode our value,” he said. “We definitely cannot improve if we are not playing the best teams. Under that system, there is a proposal of new funding, but money is not what is important to us, you can never buy the experience you gain from playing the best, so as ZC we are not in agreement.”

The two-tier system would guarantee teams more Tests as they have to play each other over a two-year period either at home or away.

But nations such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are not buying the idea.

Sri Lanka recently completed a series whitewash over Australia after competing in three Tests.

Zimbabwe went for close to two years without Test cricket before they played New Zealand in Bulawayo earlier this month.

Another Test series is lined up against Sri Lanka later in the year before the two nations are joined by West Indies for a triangular series in the 50-over format.

It looks like when the ICC board meets in September, they might reach a deadlock with half of the full members up for the idea and the other five nations in opposition.

Some of the arguments that have been raised against the proposed format include the finances where it is feared the lower divisions will not get enough funding such that a crisis of funding is envisaged.

Lower-ranked teams like bottom-ranked Zimbabwe benefit financially when teams such as India and Australia tour.

An England home series is another cash cow, but Zimbabwe cannot benefit at the moment because the English are banned by their government from playing Zimbabwe.

2 COMMENTS

  1. It may look a discriminatory policy for other nations but I don’t see any difference with Zimbabwe who say they have no finance to host a Test series.The situation we have already that we go 2 years without a Test match due to mismanagement of funds by ZC is even worse

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