Former Australian coach Justin Langer and the MCC World Cricket committee have declared the game needs “urgent intervention” to sort out a scheduling mess that has put the explosion of T20 leagues ahead of international games.
Langer only joined the MCC committee, which advises the International Cricket Council on the biggest issues in the sport, this year and the urgency to address the impact of franchise T20 cricket on Test matches in particular has become a priority.
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The WCC, of which Shane Warne was a member before his death, has been the catalyst for many recent changes to the game and includes other cricketing greats Mike Gatting and South African Graeme Smith.
In a statement following the committee’s meeting in Dubai, it concluded the game had reached an “important crossroads” and to protect the primacy of Test cricket the proliferation of T20 leagues had to be addressed.
Langer said players were judged at international level, not by performances in T20 leagues, and balance was needed as the calendar filled up with the short-form game.
“The difference between international cricket and domestic T20 cricket is that the whole nation cares when their country is involved,” he said.
“The best players’ statistics are measured at international level: Everyone knows that (Sachin) Tendulkar scored 100 international centuries and that (Muttiah) Muralitharan took 800 Test wickets.
“We need to protect the integrity of Test cricket and international cricket in general. It is how great careers are judged and it is where true passion and lasting memories are generated.”
The WCC statement said the cricket schedule was “saturated with franchise competitions”, with more and more and being played at the same time as international cricket and the impact was telling on smaller nations in particular.
“Of the domestic tournaments, only the Indian Premier League commands anything like a window to avoid international clashes,” it said.
“Also notable in the new men’s FTP is an alarming and growing disparity in the amount of international cricket played by a minority of member nations compared to others; a situation which is clearly neither equitable nor sustainable. ”
With that in mind the WCC said the situation needed greater examination now in order to “secure the sustainability of the international game for all ICC member nations and future generations”.