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The West Indies will not play any more Test matches this year
The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee have announced that they are planning to introduce a minimum number of Test matches all Full Member nations must meet within four years in an attempt to salvage the diminishing reputation of the longest format of the game.
According to ESPNcricinfo, the committee have agreed that a mere four Tests must be played by each Full Member nation each year, which means a total of 16 Tests over a four-year period.
In the past couple of months, Test cricket has suffered numerous setbacks as many Test series have been postponed or cancelled in favour of limited overs cricket or in order to make room for the growing number of domestic Twenty20 leagues around the world.
If a four-year period were to be taken from September 2009 to September 2013, then England would have played the most Test matches with 49, New Zealand and the West Indies both would have played 31 each, Bangladesh would have played 18 and Zimbabwe would be dead last with eight due to their self-imposed exile from Test cricket, which they called off in 2011.
Recently, Sri Lanka and the West Indies agreed to ditch a two-Test series in favour of an ODI tri-series involving India.
In fact, the West Indies will play no more Test matches for the rest of the year as their series against Pakistan in July has become a limited overs series, consisting of five ODIs and two Twenty2o Internationals, after both boards came to an agreement to scrap the two-Test series that was originally scheduled as well.
South Africa’s tour of Sri Lanka in July has also been reduced to only limited overs matches after their three-Test series was postponed to 2015.
“The ICC Cricket Committee reiterated its support for the strategy of ensuring an optimum balance and a clear differentiation between the three formats of the game, and noted the need to ensure that Test cricket, in particular, was protected,” an ICC statement said. “Noting the examples during the year where Test matches had been postponed to make room for other formats of the game, the committee recommended that all Test playing members should be required to play a minimum number of Test matches over a four-year period in order to maintain their Test status.”
The Cricket Committee also discussed the growing discontent amongst bowlers with the new ODI rules, as they believe it favours batsmen more than anyone else.
Some of the new ODI rules include only four players being allowed outside the 30-yard circle in non-powerplay overs, two new balls being used and two bouncers being allowed per over.
While the committee acknowledges the new rule changes are “producing a more attacking game”, they also stated the rules would be further analysed before they decide whether they should be upheld or changed just prior to the 2015 ICC World Cup.