ICC chair warns of less Test cricket

·3-min read

ICC chair Greg Barclay has warned there could be a reduction in the volume of Test cricket in the near future and suggested the format was not "part of the landscape" in the women's game.

The New Zealander, who took up the role in November 2020 and was at Lord's to see his home country take on England in the first of a three-match Test series, believes the rise of domestic franchise leagues could have an impact on the amount of five-day cricket that would be possible in the next fixture cycle.

Reflecting on the challenge of piecing together the next four-year future tours program starting in 2023, Barclay told the BBC's Test Match Special: "There is a men's and women's event every year and the growth of domestic leagues are forcing things from the bottom and ... what is getting squeezed is bilateral cricket and so we are trying to fit everything in.

"There will be some unfortunate consequences from a playing experience and a revenue point of view for some of those countries who won't get the amount of cricket they might hope to have and they won't get exposure, particularly against India and to a lesser extent Australia and England. So we will see a squeeze.

"In 10-15 years time I still see Test cricket being an integral part (of the game) - it may be that there is less of it."

Barclay indicated the so-called 'big three' nations may be largely unaffected by any shifts in the global calendar, while others could see their Test commitments reduced to as little as four games a year.

"Some countries may have to make room and play less Test cricket. Some of the smaller full members will have to accept that they can't play the amount of Test cricket that they wanted to, so we may see a lessening of that - four or five a year - whereas England, Australia and India, I think, will be playing Test cricket as they are now."

There were three women's Test matches last year, with India playing twice - against England and Australia.

Heather Knight's England side is also due to face South Africa for the first time since 2003 this summer, but Barclay offered a sceptical take on the prospects of the women's Test game.

"To play Test cricket, you've got to have structures domestically that allow you to play long-form cricket and they don't really exist in any of the countries at the moment, so I can't really see women's Test cricket or long-form cricket evolving at any particular speed at all," he said.

"That's not to say that those countries that choose to play Test cricket - Australia and England - who provide that to the women can't do so, but I don't see it as part of the landscape moving forward to any real extent at all.

"If you look at strategically the way that cricket is going, there's no doubt that white-ball cricket, short-form cricket, is the way of the future.

"That's the game that's sought after by fans, that's where the broadcasters are putting their resource, it's what's driving the money."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting