Further Ideas

Focus on the Trophies

As stated above, one of the aims of the Test Cricket League is to emulate the sense of context that generates so much interest in the Ashes.  I freely acknowledge that this is no easy task.  It must be taken into consideration that much of the Ashes’ context has been created by over 100 years of rivalry betweeen the sides and the memories of so many thrilling moments during that time.

However, one of the reasons the Ashes generates so much interest is the existence of a tangible representation of what is at stake, namely the Ashes Urn itself.  Though small, the Urn carries a huge symbolic significance, lending a real weight to the idea that the winners take ownership of something and the losers relinquish it (notwithstanding the original Urn remaining at Lords for safe-keeping).  The fact that after the 2005 Ashes and 19 years of pain, England could at last claim the legitimate ownership of the Urn undoubtedly enhanced the feeling of elation for many England followers.  Yes, trophies are nothing more than symbols – but they provide just the kind of focal point that many current series desperately lack.

Creating a distinct identity for each trophy contested between each side would be the first step to creating this same aura of signficance.  Unbranded series shoud follow the example of England v India, which became the Pataudi Trophy in 2007.

It will without doubt take time for teams and fans to truly attach a sense of significance to the trophies.  The holders should feel a real sense of ownership in a trophy, while the challengers should hungrily covet it.  Two factors can help speed this process. Firstly, a Test ranking system that reconnects the link between winning a trophy and one’s position in the table, i.e. the Test Cricket League.  Secondly, marketing geared towards establishing both the identity of each trophy and its status as the ultimate goal for the participants.  Ideally, the battle for the trophy will become a major point of interest for media outlets.

Competitive wickets

I am a keen supporter of the ICC’s apparent decision to encourage Test groundsmen to prepare wickets that provide an even contest between bat and ball.  In recent years, far too many pitches have favoured batsmen, resulting in dull, anodyne draws, where the bat has totally dominated for five tedious days.  However, since the beginning of 2011, cricket fans have witnessed an apparent volte-face on this issue, leading to a succession of enthralling contests and positive results.  It is hoped that the ICC will continue to foster this policy into the future.

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