Visiting New Zealand team skipper Kane Williamson today hailed the decision of the International Cricket Council to introduce a Test League, terming it a “positive step”.
The ICC is set to start a nine-team Test league and a 13 -team ODI league in 2019 and 2020 respectively, aiming to bring “context and meaning to bilateral cricket”.
In the first edition of the league, each side will play four home and four away series each comprising three ODIs, moving to all teams playing each other from the second cycle onwards.
Asked about the ICC’s decision at a media conference, Williamson said, “It’s really a positive step forward to have to a championship to give Test cricket a little more meaning and it’s great for the viewer as well.
“When we do start that, there will be a lot more clarity around rankings. The viewer can see where teams are progressing and what each game stands for. In the past, although Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game, we’re probably guilty of having a volume of cricket that perhaps people haven’t quite understood what relevance was on it, where teams went after victories or losses. Now, there will be a lot more clarity around that,” he explained further.
The ICC Board had approved a trial of four-day Tests to run through until the World Cup 2019 and Williamson was neither for nor against this decision of the world governing body.
“Four-day first-class cricket is not new to anybody. Everyone in world cricket plays four-day first-class cricket. Time will tell what evolves in that area, but the Test game over five days is still fairly effective. We are seeing so many results these days and the brand of cricket is certainly improving. Whatever way we go, it’s important that it benefits the game,” he added.
Kiwi left arm pace bowling all-rounder Mitchell McClenaghan had turned down the New Zealand cricket board’s contract and, instead, has inked a deal with an Australian Big Bash T20 team.
Asked about it, the visiting team’s coach Mike Hesson said they respect the decision taken by the left-arm pacer and did not rule out more cricketers from following this step.
“We could well be confronted with those situations in the future years and it’s very much an individual thing. We very much respect Mitch’s decision at this stage of his career.
“Certainly, pace bowling is an area where we do have quite a lot of competition. But yes, I think it will affect us further as time goes on,” the coach added.