ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat is confident that Test cricket can thrive despite admitting a decline in overall interest ahead of the 2,000th Test at Lord’s.
Speaking from the Anglo Indian MCC Cricket Academy at the Home of Cricket, Lorgat asserted his belief that a world Test championship can breathe life into the ‘pinnacle’ format.
He also revealed that the ICC are considering a ‘timeless Test’ to decide the winners of the tournament - scheduled for 2013.
Lorgat accepted that there was work to be done in arresting the sliding interest for Test cricket – but was positive in his overall assessment of cricket’s longest format.
“It’s a fact that interest in Test cricket has declined.” said Lorgat.
“However, I’m still confident about its future because as we increase competition that will change.
“We will always promote and protect Tests as the pinnacle format and I’m pleased to say that when I’ve looked around this 2,000th Test match that the interest is huge, not only from fans but media as well.
“It proves to be that there’s a lot more life than people care to admit.”
As well as contesting the 2,000th Test at Lord’s this week, England and incumbents India are fighting for the right to be officially crowned the number one Test side in the world.
Lorgat hailed the importance of adding ‘context’ to every Test match played and thinks that the four team playoff concept that will constitute the first world Test championship can stimulate competition.
“I think it’s certain that in some parts we’ve got work to do, we’ve got to make the contest better and we’ve got to get the spectator coming back.” he added.
“For some time now we’ve been working on the world Test championship.
“We’ve always said that it’s not the format (Tests) that’s the issue – it’s the lack of context.
“Bi-lateral series’ would have a lot more meaning if you were playing towards something at the end.
“It’s common knowledge that in 2013 the top four teams will be playing to determine a world Test champion. Already we can see the amount of interest that has come on the rankings table.”
The South African also stated his disappointment at the absence of the Decision Review System for the upcoming series between England and India – a system which he believes has been effective since its introduction.
He said: “I am disappointed because I’m a firm believer in technology, we’ve invested a lot in it, a lot of time and effort, and we’ve studied the accuracy.
“Now we’ll do that independently to check that accuracy because that’s what the member boards want.
“If we go back to the fundamental concept of DRS, it’s not to replace the Umpire but to eliminate the obvious mistake… and I believe DRS was doing that very well.”
Also revealed at Lord’s were the results of an online poll conducted by ICC to determine a greatest Test XI of all time - voted for by fans.
The team selected (below) caused a bit of a stir, with a heavy bias towards players who have played in the last 20 years and no English or South African players included.
Four Indian's made the cut though - including two current internationals, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.
ICC Fans' Greatest Test XI
Adam Gilchrist †
† Denotes wicket-keeper