The cricket blogging community is a brilliant thing. I’m always struck by how much people care about the game. Blogging takes a lot of effort but some people, who I admire hugely, go even further – even if this means delving into the murky world of cricket administration. It’s not for the fainthearted.
However, as the film Death of a Gentleman brought home last year, the future of our brilliant sport is very much in the hands of administrators. Some of them mean well, and some of them are more difficult to fathom. That’s why I’m all in favour of us supporters giving administrators a few pointers now and again. If we can let our feelings about complex issues be known that’s got to a good thing.
That’s why I’d like to share with you a survey being organised by Russ Degnan, who blogs at Idle Summers. You can follow him @IdleSummers. Ross has taken the admirable step of collecting and collating different attitudes towards a world test championship – an idea that was shelved during the Big Three stitch up but is now thankfully back on the agenda.
Personally I think a world test championship in a robust format is absolutely essential. T20 and ODI cricket have their world cups so test cricket, which is still supposedly the pinnacle of the game, needs its showpiece too. This might not involve a one-off final, or even a deciding series (it could very well be some kind of beefed up league) but test cricket certainly needs a shot in the arm.
A test championship played over two, three or four years might provide impetus by making the game seem more relevant and structured. If it captures imaginations then lucrative sponsorship and TV deals might follow too.
I must confess that I don’t have all the answers myself. Few people do. The implementation of a world test championship will be difficult. Balancing the need for competitive, meaningful fixtures while giving aspiring nations opportunities to grow will test cricket’s administrators to the limit.
But it’s not just that. In my humble opinion, a championship must also safeguard traditional rivalries like The Ashes while leaving room for things like the IPL. Not everyone is a fan of these domestic T20 money spinners, but one must be realistic.
Anyway today isn’t necessarily about finding all the answers. My hope is that a solution (which isn’t a fudge) will gradually emerge. That’s why I’d encourage those of you who care deeply about the game, especially those who have some knowledge of the issues surrounding a test championship and the challenges facing schedulers, to complete Russ’ survey. It’s all about gauging opinion so that a format acceptable to all (or at least most) can be found.
You’ll find a link to the survey here. But before you complete it, take a look at the accompanying article on Idle Summers. It will provide some context. Russ is also sending his survey out to professional players, journalists and support staff. We’re sure they’ll have their say so it’s important that supporters’ voices are heard too.
You’ll find that the survey is actually confidential. However, I’d love people to discuss their thoughts about a potential test championship in the comments below. What format would you like to see? What do you think would work? Or maybe you think the current structure is fine and that a beefed up test championship is neither desirable nor workable? It would be great to see what everyone thinks.