Angelo Mathews says SL is not getting enough testing, especially this year

Angelo Mathews has focused on the test match schedule that has lumped Sri Lanka together. His complaint: Sri Lanka will not play enough Tests, especially this year.

This is despite there being an outside chance that Sri Lanka could play in the final of the World Test Championship, as long as Australia win or draw their final test against India, and Sri Lanka beat New Zealand 2–0 in New Zealand. These remain unlikely outcomes, even though both Australia and Sri Lanka had good days with the bat on Thursday.

But Mathews is essentially asking what more value the cricketing world places on Tests, when the scheduling is so skewed.

“It’s a pity we don’t play too many Test matches this year – it’s only five,” he said on the day he became Sri Lanka’s third-highest Test scorer, in Christchurch. “We’re coming off a long layoff – the last test was six months ago.” Mathews is correct that there are only five Tests scheduled for Sri Lanka in 2023 (two against New Zealand, two against Pakistan and one against Ireland, which are not yet WTC opposition).

He is not right about how long it has been since Sri Lanka’s last test before this one. It’s been seven months.

“Everyone is talking about Test cricket dying out, but we don’t mind the fact that Test cricket only plays five Tests a year. Hopefully we get more matches this year. Five doesn’t feel like enough.”

In fact, Sri Lanka will not play any three-test series during the next WTC cycle. Meanwhile, India, Australia and England routinely play five-Test series against each other in the same period. In the worst case, they play series of four tests.

The WTC structure requires the teams that qualify to play an equal number of WTC series among themselves during the cycle. But apart from India, England and Australia (the Big Three), most of the other sides play two-Test series, except when they play against one of the Big Three sides, when they might have a three-Test encounter on the books to have.

Jason Holder and Anrich Nortje – who are currently playing a two Test series in South Africa – had also said that every team except the Big Three hardly played any Tests these days.

MCC on skewed cricket schedules: need for ‘more equitable spread of international cricket’

The MCC, the custodian of the rules of the game, also put the spotlight on pain points in the cricket calendar on Thursday. In particular, the encroachment of franchise leagues and – in a theme echoing Mathews’ words – the imbalance in the number of men’s cricket played by different Full Members.

“The MCC World Cricket Committee (WCC), which recently met in Dubai, unanimously concluded that the game has reached a major crossroads and recommended that the game leaders urgently intervene to ensure that international and franchise cricket can thrive together in harmony,” the MCC statement said. .

Also striking in the new men’s FTP [Future Tours Programme] is an alarming and growing disparity in the amount of international cricket played by a minority of member nations compared to others; a situation that is clearly neither fair nor sustainable.”

The current men’s FTP runs until 2027, meaning little wiggle room in rescheduling series, but the MCC called on the ICC to review things after that. It said the global governing body should reinvest some of the money coming into play to help members struggling financially with the costs of hosting international cricket. “The men’s FTP is now fixed until 2027, but the World Council of Churches is calling on the ICC to look to the next cycle of tournaments and international cricket and challenge its Full Member countries to ensure a more equitable distribution of international cricket.

“The ICC will increase its revenues during the next broadcast cycle, as a result of the introduction of a global men’s and women’s white ball event each year. Therefore, the WCC would like to see a portion of that additional revenue earmarked for members to support strategic support the game’s ambitions. The primary focus should be to become the world’s favorite game for women and girls, and help with the costs of hosting international cricket, which is running at a loss for several countries.”


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