Limited Twenty20 and new style Tests on cards: Lorgat

St Lucia: ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat wants to see Twenty20 cricket kept in its place and Test matches become more meaningful as the game`s international governing body tries to deal with a crammed calendar.

The rise of the hugely popular Twenty20 format has worried purists who fear a decline in Tests and Lorgat said while he shared those fears, he felt the answer was now to reform the Test system. He expected to hear next month from a group looking into as yet unrevealed plans for a new World Test Championship.

"About two years ago I went to watch Australia play India in Mohali and ... there wasn`t much support, which was a concern," Lorgat told Reuters at the World Twenty20 tournament on Thursday. "That isn`t what you want to see for the pinnacle of the sport.

"We are very keen to promote Test cricket and build context.

"But ... it`s the quality of the games that will attract interest and I think people are starting to realise we need to proactively do something about it.

"We need to develop the context ... ensure the quality is good and schedule them at the right times."

Lorgat said he felt the ICC had the balance right when it came to international Twenty20 cricket, with a biannual World tournament and restricting the number of games each year, though he was wary against any further encroachment on the calendar of the lucrative Indian Premier League.

"There would be concerns if he grows beyond what it currently is because it just about fits the current schedule," Lorgat said.

"But the IPL themselves do not want international players available throughout the event. They are quite happy for contract players to fit around their commitments.

"What takes precedents are the international fixtures and we saw that this season.

"At the moment we are working it out, it just about fits but there would be practical issues if it extended much more."

Champions Trophy

Lorgat also said while the organisation was committed to the one-day World Cup, he was less emphatic in his backing for the Champions Trophy when asked if it`s status would be reviewed.

"There`s no reason why we shouldn`t, we are always open-minded," he said.

"We talk about day/night Tests, we talk about all sorts of innovations so there`s no reason why we shouldn`t challenge the Champions Trophy.

"I think we succeeded in differentiating it last year, the players were very excited by the short duration so it was a different experience for them.

"It was often referred to as a mini World Cup which I was keen to remove from the table because it isn`t a mini World Cup.

"We have found a place for the Champions Trophy but we still look at all our events and how to position them in the future."

Lorgat added he felt the ICC was in a good position to deal with the twin spectre of matchfixing and corruption, which had threatened to tear the game apart 10 years ago.

"I think we have got a very solid foundation and structures and processes to deal with most of these challenges that come to the table now," he said.

"Having said that I`m not naive and recognise that the greater the sport becomes, the more exciting it becomes, the more productive it becomes, the more money that it attracts, the bigger the challenges.

"But I think we have got a system and structure that is fairly robust to deal with most things that we face," he said.

Bureau Report


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