New Delhi: The International Cricket Council today withdrew its contentious proposal of having a 'Two-Tier' Test system following "vehement opposition" from world's richest cricketing body BCCI with the support of Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Six of the ICC's 10 full members – Australia, England, South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan and West Indies – are thought to have supported the plan.
However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was the most significant opponent of the idea. But cricket's governing body did reveal proposals for a Test Championship play-off match every two years and said they hope to introduce it by 2019.
"There are some complexities, not least because of scheduling and existing structures, but we envisage the changes being implemented for 2019," ICC chief executive David Richardson said after the governing body's chief executives committee meeting in Dubai.
"Members will now revert to their boards to share the details of the proposed revised structures and principles. Work will continue to develop a clear structure and position for each format over the coming months as the ICC collectively focuses on improving bi-lateral cricket for fans and players in the long run."
One of the chief executives at Wednesday's meeting told Cricinfo there was no vote over the Test Championship but that India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe had opposed the idea. "There was a significant compromise and it was subsequently decided to withdraw the two-tier proposal," he said.
A recent survey from international players' union Fica revealed 72% of respondents called for a divisional Test competition. South Africa Test skipper AB de Villiers is one such supporter and he said: "We have already raised our intensity and urgency just knowing that a Test league might happen. It's time for all international matches to have more meaning."
India's opposition to the proposals concerned the effects on the smaller Test nations. "As the governing body of the game, the ICC's job is to popularise the game and increase its global reach," BCCI president Anurag Thakur said.
"On the contrary, this system may be good for the top five countries, but apart from that, everyone else will suffer. On the one hand, we say we need to support teams like West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, while on the other, by bringing up something like this, we will cut their legs."
In 2013, the ICC unveiled plans for World Test Championship to replace the 50-over Champions Trophy in the international calendar and be played in 2017 but these were dismissed the following year.