Revamping Test Cricket
This is just a proposed idea I just had. I have seen a few other ideas, most of which were fairly well thought out and quite good (except that they leave Bangladesh out, rightly or wrongly).
Now this plan is under the assumption that Bangladesh and her fans want to continue playing Test cricket. With the dearth of A team tours, inadequacies of our domestic and age group levels, lack of interest shown by county cricket and its equivalents, we are resigned to "learning on the job" i.e we have to keep playing Test cricket to learn Test cricket.
The idea is that Test cricket is getting boring and that no discrete goal exists for any team. Thus many seasonal variants of the FTP have been thrown around by a few people.
One such plan, advocated by an member of an Indian fansite, was to divide the top 8 sides in Test cricket into 2 zones. A northern zone consisting of England, India, Pakistan, and the West Indies and a southern zone made up of Sri Lanka, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. Each team would play a 3-Test home and away series agains the other 3 teams in its zone over 2 years. This would mean 18 Tests in 2 years. Then the top 2 teams from each zone would play in a play-offs, with 5 Test final series on neutral venue.
There would be Plate league which would run concurrently to the main league, which would consist of Bangladesh, Zimbabawe, Kenya, Canada, Holland, Ireland, and Scotland and USA. The top 2 Plate league teams would replace the bottom two from the upper league in each cycle.
Although this scenarion basically guarantees us real Tests in 2 year cycles, it wouldn't advance our cricket any further than it is now. The gulf between us and the next best team is just as wide as that between us and the next worst team.
My plan is the following:
There are 9 nations now which are playing Tests matches. Each team should play the other 8 in a 3 Test series over 2 years. This means each team plays 24 Tests, or 12 Tests per year. Half of the Tests should be at home, and half away. With home/away being reversed in each cycle (i.e if BD hosts India in 2008, they would tour India in 2010 or 2011).
At the end of the second cycle, or 4th year of the program, each team will have played a total of 48 tests. The schedules should be done to avoid rainy seasons in each respective country to minimize wasted matches and lost playing time. All teams will have played equivalent numbers of matches, and will have played all common opponents with any other team in home/away series, in other words everything is as even as possible.
The top 4 teams would then play 3 test semifinal and 3 Test final series either on neutral venues or with the better team getting "homefield advantage" that is first and third tests at home, with the second test being played on the road.
This ensures that there is a every four years "world cup" type glory with the Test setup as anything shorter looses that luster.
There could be a point system to accurately guage a team's performance. For example, a win could earn 10 points, a win by an innings margin could earn 15 points. Losses would have 0 points.
Drawn matches could also be awarded points so that they offer incentives for the better playing team. For example, drawn matches could earn points as the following:
points earned from drawn match = (total runs scored/total score conceded) + (total wickets taken/total wickets conceded)
By this formula the recent drawn test between India and South Africa would be scored as such:
SA 1st Innings (540 all out), India 1st Innings (627 all out), SA 2nd innings (331-5 dec)
South Africa would earn 2.04 points (as opposed to 10 if they had won), and India would earn 2.22 points. Which is fairly even for a pretty even match.
The current FTP could then be relegated for use only for ODIs and Twenty20s. The ODI world cup, champions trophy, and asia cup tournaments would also remain.
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Last edited by al Furqaan; July 12, 2008 at 07:29 PM..