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ICC withdraws two-tier Test proposal under pressure from BCCI

Last updated on: September 07, 2016 15:57 IST

IMAGE: (Left to right) ICC chairman Shashank Manohar, ICC chief executive David Richardson and ICC president Zaheer Abbas during an ICC Board Meeting in April. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

The International Cricket Council withdrew its contentious proposal of having a two-tier system in Test cricket on Wednesday following vehement opposition from the all-powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India, which had support from Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

"The two-tier Test system proposal, which was supposed to come up for discussion during the two-day Chief Executives Committee (CEC) meeting in Dubai, has been taken off the table keeping in mind the objections raised by four members. The ICC will now look afresh at the whole aspect," a source in the ICC revealed.

BCCI president Anurag Thakur, who a had criticized the proposal, terming it a detrimental and retrograde step for the financially weaker nations, welcomed the move.

"I am thankful to the members of the ICC who understood our viewpoint and agreed to take this proposal off the table. As one of the key stakeholders in world cricket, BCCI would continue to have an inclusive approach and ensure that everyone's interest and the growth of cricket isn't compromised," Thakur, who was at the forefront of the anti Two-Tier format, said.

He said the growth and popularity of the game will not suffer because of the existing format.

"We want to grow the game and take it to new pastures and will not allow any step which can shrink the popularity and development of the game," Thakur added.

BCCI CEO Rahul Johri is attending the ICC CEC meeting in Dubai on behalf of the Indian board.

"BCCI CEO Rahul Johri thanked ICC for understanding the sentiment of all the boards opposing the two-tier system and also ensured its fullest co-operation in the interest of the game to popularise Test cricket worldwide," a source in the know of things said.

Any structural change to be passed by the ICC needs a clear two-third majority and it would have been difficult to pass the proposal as it required seven out of 10 votes.

Even the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) would have joined hands with the BCCI to stop the move even though they have traditionally sided with the English and Australian boards.

The BCCI recently played four Tests in West Indies as a part of the Caribbean team's aborted 2014 tour of India.

"Contrary to reports that West Indies were in support of two-Tier system, it was exactly the opposite. West Indies were never in favour of a two-tier Test system. Yes, they are in favour of four-day format for Tests and all for day-night but they never supported bifurcation into two division," the source informed.

ICC CEO Dave Richardson, in a press statement from Dubai, accepted that a lot of deliberation is still needed on the subject.

"There are some complexities, not least because of scheduling and existing structures, but we envisage the changes being implemented for 2019," Richardson said.

"Encouragingly, there is an appetite from the 10 full members for more context around all three formats of the game and we have consensus on a range of areas. This includes the details of ODI and T20 structures and principles around Test cricket schedules, which include the concept of a Test Champion play-off every two years, and the opportunity for more nations to be involved.

"Members will now revert to their boards to share the details of the proposed revised structures and principles. Work will continue to develop a clear structure and position for each format over the coming months as the ICC collectively focuses on improving bi-lateral cricket for fans and players in the long run," he added.

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