'It's something we encourage' - cricket greats call for ICC to close T20 pay gap

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Cricket greats and current stars have told the ICC to take the financial challenge up to lucrative Twenty20 leagues for the preservation of the Test game.

The Black Caps celebrate Matt Henry picking up an early wicket

The Black Caps celebrate Matt Henry picking up an early wicket

Source: Photosport

The future of Test cricket was a key talking point at this week's MCC World Cricket Committee meetings in Sydney, which included the likes of Ricky Ponting, Kumar Sangakkara and Rod Marsh on a 16-person panel led by Mike Gatting.

The future of Test cricket has faced significant hurdles in the past decade, largely brought on by the popularity of short-form cricket and the temptation of cashed-up T20 clubs removing the best players from international cricket.

Adding to the problem, the committee said, was the mismanagement of player funds by some countries, driving more players away from the international game and into the lucrative leagues.

And they said it was up to the ICC to make sure member nations offer longer and better deals to keep the game's best players representing their countries.

"Domestic T20s around the world are giving players an easy out to not represent their country and are renumerated in a better way to play in those tournaments," Ponting said.

"We're making sure that the payments in some of the lesser-paid nations increase dramatically so that they have the best players playing for the majority of the year.

"It's really important these payments do even themselves up somewhere. You don''t see English or Australian players quitting international cricket to play in the IPL."

The fall of the West Indies has largely been linked to the rise of T20 cricket, with a number of their best players starring in the BBL while their Test team struggled on their last visit here in 2015-16.

Bangladeshi star Shakib Al Hasan also told the committee youngsters from his country now saw T20 clubs as better options for them above the Test side.

"It's something we encourage the ICC to have a real good look at to give the game some stability," Gatting said.

"Because if we are selling a product we want the best product. And if international cricket is strong then obviously something like Test cricket will be easy to preserve."

The independent committee which reports back to the game's official law makers at the Marylebone Cricket Club also reaffirmed their preference for five-day Tests.

They also pushed for standardised DRS protocols across all countries for the introduction of the World Test championship in 2019, given different technological programs are currently used in different countries around the world.

The issue was a pet peeve for England during this summer's Ashes, and Sangakkara said it was up to the ICC to create consistency.

"A lot of it has been due to the costs for the country," the Sri Lankan said.

"When it is an ICC Test championship we think the onus is on the ICC in terms of finances is provided."

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