Ex-Kiwi skipper Crowe formulating knockout Test championship

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Durham (UK), Sep. 21 (ANI): Former New Zealand skipper Martin Crowe, now a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club's World Cricket Committee, has formulated a knockout Test championship to be held every year with a grand final to be played at Lord's.

Eventually, the games would become day-night Tests.

Crowe, who invented the short form of the game called Cricket Max, sent his plan to the Sydney Morning Herald, and said: "If we don't do something soon then the bottom teams in particular will wilt away and the bottom will fall out of the pinnacle format of the game. Test cricket needs a meaning and a new motivation among all these other shorter version comps that are scheduled every year. It needs a Test champion, annually."

Crowe's idea is to liven up contests involving lower-ranked teams, who struggle to compete and therefore do not attract public interest, by making each Test series an elimination battle.here are some obvious issues that will hamper the committee's proposal - most difficult will be convincing boards to share broadcast revenue during the finals. India and England oppose the Test championship idea because it would mean splitting the profits of their extremely lucrative television deals.

But Crowe said: "If hosting quarter-finals is shared, then you don't have an issue with sharing rights. This is for the top eight teams only, which would exclude Bangladesh in the next stage. But if they get up to top eight in next stage then in they go.

"For those who make the semis and finals then the pie is shared with them. Obviously, [the] ECB would demand a hosting fee for the final and semis - and why not? Or the semis can be played earlier if the two teams involved want to arrange it, higher ranking gets advantage or if the event is already scheduled in the FTP. These are smaller problems to overcome."

"There are pitfalls with the FTP scheduled years out so they must, over the next full stage of the FTP, ensure it rotates fairly and everyone gets a go to host quarter finals," said Crowe.

"Like all good competitions, everyone starts with a fair chance. This gives incentive to the lower teams to be motivated every year. The motivation is to play the final at Lord's. That is truly meaningful. When a series is drawn then rankings apply - so that means every Test played has a meaning. So, what we are creating here is by using an already existing schedule, we are able to use a simple knockout format to crown the Test champion each year. This we could call the Test Cricket Open," Crowe said.

The World Cricket Committee also includes board members Steve Waugh, Anil Kumble, Mike Atherton, Rahul Dravid and Andy Flower. (ANI)

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