New Zealand Cricket's Chief Executive supports two-tier Test system
Even as quite a few national boards opposed the formation of a two-tier Test system, New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) Chief Executive has supported the idea believing that it could increase interest in the game’s traditional format.
Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, David White revealed, “There's already lot of interest in New Zealand in Test cricket. But if we had a competition with promotion and relegation and a winner at the end, it would really increase interest, no doubt about that. “
Also the Full-Member representative on the ICC Cricket Committee, White added, “Everyone agrees we need context, we need something that's aspirational. (But) the countries who don't make the top division in the first instance (should not be) not disadvantaged financially, that's really important.”
A system dividing the teams into two groups – one of seven and the other comprising five – was proposed by ICC’s Chief Executive during last month. The two-tier concept could also mean the addition of a couple of more countries into Test cricket.
White insisted that he would still back the notion even if New Zealand find themselves relegated into the second division. Currently ranked fifth, the Blackcaps have a 33-point advantage over eighth-placed West Indies.
He claimed, “We support meritocracy. If you're good enough, you're good enough. If you're not good enough you shouldn't be there. It's incumbent upon us to make sure we are good enough. It will make people look at their high-performance programmes and their systems. So the product of Test cricket will improve as well.”
While Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) feared regression in their game, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had pointed out financial ramifications as a major flaw in the two-tier concept. However, SLC floated the idea of four-day Tests to heighten the format’s popularity.
Throwing his weight behind their proposal, White felt, “One of the challenges at the moment is if you play a three-Test series, it has to be played over four weeks – four weeks is a long time. But if you play a three-Test series of four-day cricket, it can be played over three weeks. So you save a week. And as we know, the calendar is very congested. There's a lot of work to be done around this but it's certainly a concept that's worth exploring further.”