ICC chairman Shashank Manohar has said the World Test championship has been introduced to stop the format from “dying”. On the second day of a courtesy visit to Bangladesh at the invitation of BCB president Nazmul Hassan, Manohar met the country’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina before attending a reception hosted by the BCB.
During the press conference, he said T20s are generating the most interest among viewers, particularly in terms of TV ratings and stadium audience.
“We are trying to see whether Test championship can generate interest,” Manohar said. “Because Test cricket is actually dying to be honest. So to improve the situation, we are trying ways and means. The [ICC] board directors came to a conclusion that if we start a Test championship, it would keep Test cricket alive and generate more interest in the game.
“If you look at the TRPs of the broadcasters, T20 has the maximum TRP. It is because of being the shorter version of the game. Nowadays, people don’t have five days time to watch a Test match. From 10 to 5 everybody has their own job to do so it is very difficult for them to watch this game. T20s get over in three-and-a-half hours, like watching a movie. Therefore, it is picking up very fast.”
In October 2017, the ICC board approved the first two-year World Test Championship involving the game’s top nine teams. The first edition of the championship is set to begin at the conclusion of the 2019 World Cup and run until April 2021, when the two top teams will meet in a championship final.
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The subject of cricket at the Olympics has been widely debated over recent years. In March 2017, the ICC chief executive David Richardson indicated that the governing body had come round to the idea, saying the majority of member boards believed the “time is right”. Last year, an ICC survey revealed that 87% of fans surveyed wanted cricket to be part of the Olympic Games.
Manohar, though, said there would be significant logistical hurdles to clear before this could happen.
“We are trying to take it to Olympics but there are certain hurdles,” he said. “The bigger issue is the Olympics is held over 15 days. How do you finish a world event of cricket in fifteen days?
“For that you need cricket stadiums also. Olympics are not held only in cricket-playing countries. They are played elsewhere, so to finish the tournament you will need a minimum of four stadiums.”
In July, Manu Sawhney will formally take over from Richardson as the ICC’s new chief executive. Manohar said Sawhney was expected to implement new governance rulings that are expected to be approved at this year’s annual conference in July.
“The ICC is now developing new ideas for governance and running of cricket,” Manohar said. “The written document would be ready by the end of June. It will be finalized in the annual conference in July. His job would be to implement the written document passed by the board.”