Rameez Raja urges ICC to create 'Test window'

| Updated: Jul 05, 2017 19:46 IST

Johannesburg [South Africa], July 5 (ANI): In a bid to preserve Test cricket, former Pakistan batsman Rameez Raja has asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) to set aside a two-month window solely for Test matches. "I feel that the ICC has a decent plan in the shape of the World Test Championship," Sport24 quoted Raja as saying after a committee meeting at Lord's on Tuesday. "There should be a window for that and everything else should stop for a period of two months so the best players are available to play Test cricket," he added. Raja, who is a member of the Marylebone Cricket Committee (MCC), fears that interest for Test cricket in Asia is "dwindling" partly because of the lucrative domestic T20 leagues like the Indian Premier League (IPL). "It's got to get better. In Asia, for example, because of poor Test match scheduling, the interest is dwindling," said Raja. "When you go back home you are never sure if you are going to have a one-Test series, a two-Test series or whether you are going to have a Test series at all," he added. The 54-year-old further called on the national governing bodies such as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to play their parts in preserving the longest format of the game. "You have to acknowledge and respect the status of Test match cricket and it has to come from the cricket boards, in Asia specifically," said Raja. "For example, MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket yet got the A-grade contract from the BCCI, Shahid Afridi retired from Test cricket yet got the A-grade contract from PCB. It is under a lot of stress in Asia but if we have a properly planned Test match championship, that's the way out of this, otherwise we will be struggling to put aside as much money as is available for the T20 leagues," he insisted. Meanwhile, the MCC committee, which comprises of cricket legends like Ricky Ponting, Brendon McCullum, Sourav Ganguly and Kumar Sangakkara, believes that Test matches should be reduced from five days to four days after it was suggested a shorter game might be more fan-friendly. "Last time we met, the committee was split, with some believing we should trial four-day Test matches," said Mike Brearley, outgoing chairperson former England captain. "This time, most of us thought, looking at the fact that over half the matches that got results last year got results in the fifth day, that we didn't want Test cricket to become more boring. So from a cricket point of view, we believe they should stay five days," he added. The committee has also asked the ICC to try and get cricket included for the 2024 Olympics. "It is crucial to have cricket in the Olympics because the game will be introduced to many new parts of the world," said Raja. "But for that to happen we have to present a unified front from cricket that we want to be included in the Games," he added. The summer games would be held either in Paris or in Los Angeles," he added. (ANI)