Sri Lanka Cricket opposes two-tier Test system
The Sri Lankan Cricket board has strongly expressed it’s opposition to the proposed two-tier Test system that would include a system of promotion and relegation. The mooted two-tier Test system is seen as the way forward by many, especially ICC’s chief executive David Richardson who believes that such a system has to be introducted in order to bring context to Test cricket. The current system of having bi-lateral series’, ranking points and trophies has proved insufficient in growing the game’s popularity and maintaining its commercial viability.
The proposed two-tier system would see teams play bi-lateral series against each other over a period of 2 years to determine which team would be relegated to the second division, and which team would get promoted to the first division. Currently, there are 10 countries that enjoy Test status: (In order of ranking) Australia, India, Pakistan, England, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe. The new system would see division 1 comprising of 7 nations and division two comprising of 5 nations with Ireland, Nepal & Afghanistan as potential nations to be added to the second division.
The reason the ICC is considering such a move is to develop a sense of context and competition in Test cricket with each nation always having to play for something. This increased sense of competitiveness would boost the interest of the public, hence making the longest format of the game more commercially viable in the long term future.
Sri Lanka Cricket President Thilanga Sumathipala voiced his concerns over the new system, stating the financial ramifications such a move could have, while also stating that the current path to achieve full membership and Test playing status was adequate. "Sri Lanka Cricket has decided not to support two-tier Test cricket as we have decided it's detrimental to SLC and for its future. We feel that to make it a top seven - you are virtually relegating the bottom three to a different level." Sumathipala was quoted as saying.
Sri Lanka is the second nation, after Bangladesh, to express their reservations against the new system that would shake the very roots of Test cricket. Bangaldesh Cricket Board’s Vice President Mahbubul Anam believes that Bangladesh need to keep playing the best nations in order to have a chance to keep improving, like they have in the ODIs and such a move would prove a deterrent to this.