Test cricket has long been said to be threatened by the arrival of its shorter forms. When one day cricket came to the fore, Test cricket was said to be in danger but it survived. It will survive even this onslaught and come out stronger. ICC has been trying to ensure that the purest form of the game still retains its charm and draws people to the grounds.
One problem that the ICC has faced is the lack of a genuine championship that would enable teams to be called World Test Champion not by virtue of topping some statistical survey but by beating other teams. Both ODI and T20 cricket have World Champion and it seems only logical for Test cricket to also have a championship of sorts.
However the very nature of Test cricket makes it impossible to design a championship. It is supposed to be five days long and can finish in a draw if by the end of 5 days no result has been attained. However ICC has come up with a proposal for a Test Championship in 2013. The Test Championship would be held in England amongst the top 4 teams in the world. First the semi finals would take place and the two winners would play the finals. A suggestion under consideration is to make the finals a ‘timeless test’. A timeless test in essence would be a test match played under no limitation of time, which means the match is played until one side wins or the match is tied, with theoretically no possibility of a draw.
There has been only one Timeless test played in the history of cricket. It was played between England and South Africa at Durban in 1939. The match lasted a total of 9 days without a definite result. The Test was aborted as England had to catch a ship back home.
The proposal put forward would appear ideally suited to Rahul Dravid’s abilities. “I wouldn’t mind batting three or four days, but the bowlers wouldn’t like it,” Dravid said predictably. The concept of getting a world champion whose veracity can’t be questioned is correct and the process to go on playing till you have a winner is also a ploy we see in other sports in the form of extra time. However care must be taken that people just get bored waiting 10 days for a result. Maybe the rules can be extended to increase the duration of the game to 6 days in order to force a result in the game. That would be a much more logical approach to the problem.