ICC consider introducing tier system to Test cricket

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The state of Test cricket has been under fire since the induction of T20 cricket back in 2005. With a more exciting format on the table for casual viewers and more money for players to opt to just play the shorter competition, the quality of Test cricket has dropped.

The ICC are considering a proposal which would see international Test sides split into two divisions with promotion and relegation between them, and places granted to two new nations.

Who these two new Test nations are remains undecided, but with the UAE and Afghanistan’s recent success they would be the obvious front runners. However, the ICC could look into the Chinese and American market, as granting them a lower tier position would give them an opportunity to develop into powerful Test nations.


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By going into China or America, there’s also the obvious possibility for the ICC to make more money. A substantial amount of the ICC annual income currently comes from the Indian Cricket Board, so by bringing in other nations who can match/better this would be beneficial for equality in cricket.

To boost the appeal of international cricket the ICC chief executive, David Richardson, is exploring a number of options that would provide greater context to all three formats of the game from 2019, but has a particular focus on Test cricket.

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Based on the current rankings, the two divisions would look like this:

Top Tier:

1. Australia

2. India

3. South Africa

4. Pakistan

5. England

6. New Zealand

Bottom Tier:

1. Sri Lanka

2. West Indies

3. Bangladesh

4. Zimbabwe

5. ???

6. ???

This would mean successful Test nations from the past like the West Indies and Sri Lanka would start in the lower tier but could win promotion to the top tier after one calendar year. Also, New Zealand and England may have to fight to stay within the top tier and the new proposals could result in some more exciting test matches.


The idea would reduce the amount of dead-rubber matches as nations could be fighting to stay in the top tier. When top tier nations teams tour bottom tier teams, it could also add that David vs Goliath situation, which is more appealing to fans.

Do you like the idea of splitting Test Cricket into two tiers or are you a traditionalist? Let us know in the comments below.

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South Africa cricket
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