Test cricket’s newest nations are in despair at plans to split the format into two divisions, fearing it could undo decades of hard-fought progress on the field and kill interest in the game.
Cricket’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), was meeting in Edinburgh this week to debate proposals for the seven top-ranked teams to establish a de facto premier league in a bid to boost waning interest in Tests.
Under the scheme being considered by the ICC, the other three nations with Test status would join a five-strong second division along with Afghanistan and Ireland.
While the shake-up would guarantee cricket’s leading nations play each other every other year, the other sides would be starved of matches that draw in crowds and lucrative broadcast deals.
As things stand, the two latest arrivals at cricket’s top table — Bangladesh and Zimbabwe — would be doomed to the second tier and could be joined by another relative newcomer in Sri Lanka.
“This will spell the death of international cricket as we have known it,” Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) director Ahmed Sazzadul Alam said.
Bangladesh lobbied for years to join cricket’s elite before playing their first Test in 2000. Their record has been poor, winning just seven of their 93 Tests, and they are ranked ninth, just above Zimbabwe.
However, performances have improved significantly of late and Bangladesh have only lost six of their past 18 Tests.
BCB vice president Mahbubul Anam said Bangladesh “would go backwards” if they stop playing teams such as England and India, both of whom they are due to play later this year.
“The more we play against competitive sides, the better we will get,” Anam said.
Alam also warned of dire financial consequences.
“There would be an inevitable loss of interest among younger followers of and a decline in interest from the media and sponsors,” he said. “The resulting downturn in revenues would undermine development programs and funding of domestic leagues. It will effectively mean the end of cricket for countries like us.”
Former Zimbabwe Cricket managing director Alistair Campbell said he appreciates the arguments for a split because of the gulf in class between the top and bottom sides.
However, Campbell, a former captain who played in Zimbabwe’s inaugural Test against India in 1992, said it would be heartbreaking if players would never be able to compete against the best.
“It is going to be a tragedy if you are growing up in a country like Zimbabwe or Bangladesh,” he said. “It means you might never get the opportunity to play with top-tier sides. That might drive players to go and seek greener pastures.”
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for US$400 million, ending the billionaire’s legal fight with Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) and clearing the way to build a new arena for his NBA team down the street in Inglewood, California. Ballmer on Tuesday announced his cash purchase of the venerated arena. Ballmer, a former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the transaction through CAPSS LLC, a newly formed entity that would continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue. “This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said.
EXPENDITURE: Tokyo Games organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said that ‘additional expenses are going to be quite massive’ to reschedule the Olympics The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working with sports bodies to arrange a July-to-August window next year for the postponed Tokyo Olympics and hopes to confirm the schedule within a month, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday. John Coates, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics, told the newspaper that the Games would have to be held between the tennis Grand Slams of Wimbledon, scheduled to end in mid-July, and the US Open, which starts in late August. “We want to more or less finalize the dates in four weeks’ time,” the newspaper quoted Coates as saying. Coates, who is also
PROUD, BUT BOWING OUT: The Dallas center missed all of 2018 due to Guillain-Barre syndrome, but Travis Frederick returned to be a standout again last season Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick on Monday stunningly announced his retirement. Frederick, who turned 29 on Wednesday last week, was a Pro Bowl selection in five of his six NFL seasons. Frederick revealed his retirement in a lengthy letter, beginning it by writing: “After much consideration, discussion, and reflection, I have decided to retire from football. This was not an easy decision.” Frederick cited his bout with autoimmune disease Guillain-Barre syndrome as a factor. He missed the 2018 season due to the illness in which the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system, but he returned to be a standout again last
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, whose positive COVID-19 test prompted the NBA to shut down its season, says that the coronavirus has caused him to lose his sense of smell. The Frenchman, whose defensive talents have earned him the nickname “Stifle Tower,” tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11, the result bringing the NBA season to an abrupt halt. In social media posts since then, the 27-year-old had said he was feeling better, but on Sunday he tweeted that he was experiencing one of the lesser-known symptoms of the illness. “Just to give you guys an update, loss of smell and taste is