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'WTC has made it worse for Test cricket'

Source: PTI
January 09, 2024 10:55 IST
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'But this is just a surrender, if you ask me.'

IMAGE: Jasprit Bumrah celebrates a wicket during the second and final Test against South Africa in Cape Town. Photograph: Esa Alexander/Reuters

Former England Test batter Mark Butcher said the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) has done more harm than good to Test cricket.

South Africa recently named a depleted squad for the Test series in New Zealand with their top cricketers contracted to play in the second season of the SA20 as the dates of the two events are clashing.


"One of the things that's made this even more inevitable is something that they've done to try to salvage Test match cricket, which is the World Test Championship," Butcher said on the Wisden Cricket Weekly podcast.

"The point is that your bilateral series have to capture the imagination of the fans and the players of the two countries that are playing in it, and then the wider cricket watching public. And the only way they are that is if they are competitive. And that's how it always was."

Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh also came down heavily on the International Cricket Council and top cricket boards, including the BCCI, after Cricket South Africa (CSA) named as many as seven uncapped players in a 14-man squad for the two-Test series.

"Test match series were and Test matches in and of themselves, single games, were important events. The idea that you widen the whole thing out to sort of span three years and blah blah blah, some series are worth this, some series are worth that, some teams can't be asked this week – it makes it even more nebulous," Butcher said.

"The only effort that's been made to kind of try and keep it relevant, I think, has made it worse."

Butcher feels the ICC could have focussed on other relevant issues to secure the future of Test cricket instead of introducing the WTC.

"I don't know, in all of the wrong places the effort has been made. And the places where it might actually have made a difference, i.e., levelling up revenues for TV rights, allowing countries to be able to keep hold of their best players...

"Allowing them to be able to pay a universal standard of money for Test match appearances and whatever and then allow the richer boards to pay their players whatever they want to on top of that -- I have no issue with any of that stuff.

"But this is just a surrender, if you ask me. It's been a slow moving car crash up to now and now it's kind of like, bang -- impact has been made."

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