Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Given the meteoric rise of Twenty20 cricket, former Pakistan captain Rameez Raja believes that the International Cricket Council (ICC) have to seriously consider implementing a Test window in order to ensure the format’s popularity doesn’t continue its downward slide.
Rameez’s suggestion comes after he noticed a “dwindling” interest in Test cricket in Asia due to competitions like the Indian Premier League (IPL).
“I feel that the ICC has a decent plan in the shape of the World Test Championship,” he said. “There should be a window for that and everything else should stop for a period of two months so the best players are available to play Test cricket.
“It’s got to get better. In Asia, for example, because of poor Test match scheduling, the interest is dwindling. When you go back home you are never sure if you are going to have a one-Test series, a two-Test series or whether you are going to have a Test series at all.”
In order for the glory days of Test cricket to be resurrected, Rameez conceded that a lot of the responsibility will fall on India and Pakistan.
“You have to acknowledge and respect the status of Test match cricket and it has to come from the cricket boards, in Asia specifically,” he said. “For example, MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket yet got the A-grade contract from the BCCI, Shahid Afridi retired from Test cricket yet got the A-grade contract from PCB.
“It is under a lot of stress in Asia but if we have a properly planned Test match championship, that’s the way out of this, otherwise we will be struggling to put aside as much money as is available for the T20 leagues.”
Rameez added that in order to extend cricket’s reach across the globe, the sport has to be part of the 2024 Olympic Games.
“It is crucial to have cricket in the Olympics because the game will be introduced to many new parts of the world,” he said. “But for that to happen we have to present a unified front from cricket that we want to be included in the Games. The summer games would be held either in Paris or in Los Angeles.”