Onus on Boards to revamp Test cricket

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According to ICC chairman Shashank Manohar it is up to the individual member boards to revitalize bilateral cricket.

Speaking after the ICC struck down a proposal to split Test cricket into a two-tier system, Manohar confirmed the proposal was put forward by Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa.

Manohar told the Indian Express: “I can tell as a fact, this issue [two tiers] was raised by Cricket South Africa and Cricket Australia, and came up at the Chief Executives Committee (CEC) meeting in Edinburgh.

“Being the chairman of the ICC, I don’t attend the CEC meetings, but I was specifically called for this agenda item. I said at the meeting that the ICC is not empowered to look into this because these bilateral rights are rights belonging to home boards and it’s for them to decide what to do. The ICC has nothing to say in this. This matter can’t be deliberated on the ICC platform.”

The former BCCI president feels that a fan survey is required to find out why crowds are dwindling at Test matches.

Manohar said: “I said at the [CEC] meeting that the decline in crowd attendance for Test matches is not because there’s no content. What should be done is a survey. You should find out why the popularity of Test cricket has diminished.

“For that you will have to interview people who watch T20 games or ODI games. Because there the stadiums are full, so those people are interested in watching the game of cricket.

“In earlier days, there were only about five Tests in two years’ time. There was no television. So people used to go and stadiums used to be full.

“But today, for all 365 days, there’s some game going on somewhere in the world. So you can watch a game of cricket anytime, any day. So why would a person waste seven hours for five days, from 10am-5pm? All these things had been argued at the meeting.”

The ICC president also took the time to respond to the BCCI’s claims the Champions Trophy 2017 budget is three times that of the World T20 hosted by India.

Manohar added: “That’s not factually correct. The budget for the World T20 2016, including the television production cost, was $55,084,116. The budget for the Champions Trophy 2017, including television production cost, is $46,781,507.

“Yes, there were more matches and teams at the World T20 2016 compared to what will be there for the Champions Trophy. But the Champions Trophy games are full-day games and the accommodation and travel cost in the UK are substantially higher that what they were in India.”

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