MCC backing cricket as an Olympic sport but not 4-day Tests

The MCC Committee has unanimously backed cricket as an Olympic sport and has urged all world governing bodies to get behind such a bid.

The Olympics is seen as a fundamental opportunity to extend the global reach of men’s and women’s cricket and expose the game positively to new markets.

The committee heard from Colin Graves, ECB Chairman, and Tom Harrison, ECB CEO, and was encouraged by their openness to this idea for cricket in the Olympics and their commitment towards the game as a whole across the world, rather than just in England and Wales. They clearly believe that if cricket thrives worldwide, this is good for cricket in this country.

With three ICC events taking place in every four-year cycle, the opportunity exists for cricket to be included in sport’s ultimate global showpiece without detracting from its successful tournaments in traditional cricketing markets. Competing in an Olympic Games would be a huge opportunity for players, a massive boost to developing cricket nations and give much greater exposure for the sport to a new audience.

Government funding in many countries is specifically linked to a sport’s Olympic status, and cricket’s inclusion would unlock investment to cricket’s governing bodies in ICC Associate and Affiliate countries. The committee urges the ICC Board to reconsider its position and take a decision that it believes is in the best interests of the global game. This would need to be done in the next twelve months for cricket to have a chance of being included in the 2024 Olympics.

The MCC also…

Bat and ballAgreed that the ICC Cricket World Cup should be a twelve-team tournament

The committee believes that the organisation of a ten-team ICC Cricket World Cup for 2019 and 2023 is a retrograde step that damages the potential for growth in cricket’s developing nations. The successful ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015 provided a platform for Associate Members to challenge the world’s best. To limit future tournaments to ten teams, albeit with qualification methods put in place, is a handbrake for the development of the sport.

A preliminary qualification round could be held for the lower ranked Full Member teams and the top Associate nations, that wouldn’t lengthen the tournament and would give more teams a chance to compete in the sport’s best 50-over competition. The committee has asked ICC to look again at its decision to limit the numbers to only ten teams.

Will express an interest in becoming an ECB Women’s Super League Host

The World Cricket committee received an update on the recently announced ECB Women’s Super League, and discussed the growth of the women’s game in general. The committee also heard about plans for the Women’s Big Bash in Australia, and was pleased to learn that MCC has expressed an interest in becoming an ECB Women’s Super League co-host along with Middlesex CCC.

Agreed a comprehensive survey is required to understand why some attendances are dwindling

The committee was addressed by the ICC Chairman, N Srinivasan, who also took questions on a range of subjects, including the new administrative and financial arrangements in place at ICC, declining attendances in Test cricket and the Decision Review System. With Test match attendances varying across the world, the committee urged the ICC to conduct a comprehensive survey as to why people are not watching Tests in certain countries, and to consider subsidising tickets in these countries to encourage more people to come into the ground.

Agreed Test cricket needs a boost but four-day matches are not the answer

The MCC World Cricket committee is not in favour of the introduction of four-day Test matches as a means to better market and schedule Test cricket. The committee has long been concerned for the future of Test cricket and fears that, left as it is, the longest form of the game will not survive. The committee feels there are too many incidences of bilateral series that lack context and are played in almost empty stadiums.

 

Committed to not going back on cricket bat sizes, but balls and boundaries to be looked at

The committee discussed the balance between bat and ball, and whether batsmen have too many factors weighing in their favour in the modern game. There were concerns on the committee that the balance may have shifted in the batsman’s favour. A variety of thoughts were put forward as to why more sixes are being hit in cricket today, be it the size of the bats themselves, the size of boundaries prevalent in grounds around the world or the use of two white balls in one day cricket, which has resulted in the ball hardly moving off the straight after approximately 15 overs. The committee also discussed the excitement that big hitting provides to spectators and felt that today’s cricketers are generally stronger athletes than previous generations of players.

Cricket ballThere is no appetite on the committee for turning back the clock with respect to the size of the cricket bat. Equally, it was felt that bat sizes should not be increased from the current position, and the committee undertook to conduct further research on this matter, including consulting bat manufacturers. In addition, MCC will work with ICC on a research project to look at the size of the seam on cricket balls, and will present that research at a future meeting of the World Cricket committee.

Approved changes to laws on fielding restrictions approved

Subject to final ratification from the main MCC Committee, the Club will be changing two of the Laws of Cricket to come into effect from 1stSeptember 2015.

The first change (Law 41.7) will allow fielders to move in reaction to the shot that the striker is playing. For instance, slip will now be able to move towards leg-slip as a batsman starts to play a fine sweep. Thus ‘intelligent’ movement in response to the actions of the batsman will be allowed, whilst ‘deceptive’ movement, such as running backwards before the ball is released will continue to be prohibited.

The second change (Law 40.4) will allow the wicket-keeper to move in a similar way, provided that he remains behind the stumps, but will no longer allow him to move laterally before the ball is delivered, nor allow him to move up a couple of paces to within reach of the stumps in response to a slower delivery.

 

The full list of committee members is as follows (those in italics were unable to attend the meeting):

Mike Brearley (Chairman), Jimmy Adams, Steve Bucknor, Rahul Dravid, Charlotte Edwards, Sourav Ganguly, Rod Marsh, Tim May, Shaun Pollock, Ricky Ponting, Ramiz Raja, David Richardson, Kumar Sangakkara, Michael Vaughan

James Buttler

James Buttler

James has been working as a cricket journalist and broadcaster since 2006.
As the editor of Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author and a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications.
He's unsurprisingly a complete cricket badger!
James Buttler

One thought on “MCC backing cricket as an Olympic sport but not 4-day Tests

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