In an elaborate two-day Cricket Committee meeting of the International Cricket Council (ICC) at Lord's in London, the apex body raised various issues concerning different disciplines of the sport, particularly Test cricket.
"The main thing that came out of the meeting was regarding Test cricket. The new structure was discussed and everybody was positive and forthcoming in supporting that. The committee acknowledged the importance of efforts being made to promote and grow Test cricket, be it through the introduction of meaningful competition structures, better pitches and marketing," Anil Kumble, the former India Test skipper, who chaired the meeting, said on Friday (June 3).
"Our recommendations will now be taken forward to the next ICC Chief Executives' Committee and the ICC Board meeting in Edinburgh in July."
The committee expressed its concerns over the quality of pitches in the five-day game, pointing out the common practice of countries taking undue home advantage while preparing surface.
South Africa's tour of India in November 2015 saw tracks that crumbled too soon and became rank-turners very early in the fixture. Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, the venue for the third Test of the four-match series, was termed 'poor' by ICC match referee Jeff Crowe and handed an official warning after 40 wickets fell inside the first three days, spinners accounting for 33 of it.
The need to promote Test cricket better and widen its audience was acknowledged by the committee, which also noted the success of the first-ever day-night Test, between Australia and New Zealand in Adelaide in 2015. That said, the committee stressed that there was a need to deliver it at a consistently high-standard across all member countries for the concept to be a hit. While bringing in bigger audiences is key, the committee also noted that the combination of ball, pitch, lighting levels and environmental conditions needed to allow for an even contest between bat and ball at all proposed day-night Test venues.
There was also a lengthy discussion about the future use of technology. A group of engineers from MIT made a presentation that highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the current technology used in the Decision Review System (DRS). The committee accepted the review and felt the need to have a structure and tighter processes to approve new technologies, and also ensure a more consistent application of the same on a match-by-match basis.
- The committee noted considerable progress in policing suspect actions in international cricket.
- An observation was made that MCC should strongly consider limiting the dimensions of cricket bats to help achieve a better balance between bat and ball.
- A recommendation was made that ICC should enforce the wearing of the latest British Safety Standard-compliant helmets in all international cricket.
- The committee considered a proposal from Cricket Australia for a "concussion substitute" to be trialled for two years in domestic first-class cricket.