New Delhi: Anurag Thakur, President of Board of Cricket for Control in India (BCCI), has spoken out against the ‘two-tier’ Test system, saying neither he nor his board supports the proposed idea. As the head of the powerful BCCI, Thakur's statement lends heft to the criticism of the proposal by Sri Lanka Cricket and the Bangladesh Cricket Board, even as the boards of Australian and New Zealand have welcomed the move.
"The BCCI is against the two-tier Test system because the smaller countries will lose out and the BCCI wants to take care of them. It is necessary to protect their interests," he told to media.
ICC chief executive David Richardson mooted a plan to introduce promotion and relegation system in Test cricket, which can start as early as 2019, during the council's annual conference in June, in Edinburgh.
It was believed to be a step towards reinvigorating the traditional form of the cricket, which has seen a dip in fortunes with empty stands witnessing majority of bilateral series.
The proposal was to split Test cricket into two tiers — with seven nations in tier one, and five, including two new Test nations, in the second tier, and have a Test championship on the lines of ODI and T20I world cups.
"Unless we can give some meaning to these series beyond the rankings and a trophy, then interest in Test cricket will continue to waver," Richardson said during the conference. The same applies if we allow uncompetitive Test cricket to take place too often."
If Richardson has his way, Associate teams like Nepal, Ireland and Afghanistan can find themselves playing against the big boys in Test cricket, while the established but poorly performing teams like West Indies playing in the second division.
Then came the objection from Pakistan Cricket Board, Sri Lanka Cricket and Bangladesh Cricket Board — three not so powerful cricket boards which are currently enjoying Test status.
But Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket have openly supported the proposed-plan. In the light of these developments, Thakur's comments will surely add more punch to the claims from Asian teams.
"In the two-tier system, they will lose out on a lot, including revenue and the opportunity to play against top teams," Thakur added. "We don't want that to happen. We want to work in the best interests of world cricket and that is why our team plays against all the countries".