MCC suggests reducing bilateral ODIs and establishing a test fund

The establishment of strategic funds to support the expansion and development of Test and women’s cricket has been proposed by the MCC World Cricket Committee (WCC). Additionally, it has demanded a considerable decrease in bilateral One-Day International games.

The World Cricket Council (WCC) has encouraged the International Cricket Council (ICC) in a series of proposals that the global organization provides an equitable schedule of matches for all full member countries in the men’s Future Tours Programme (FTP) beyond 2027, ensuring fair incentives for both host and touring nations.

The committee discussed the significance of men’s ODI cricket outside of World Cups at a two-day discussion held at Lord’s during the most recent Test match between England and Australia. It projected a significant decrease in ODI matches after the 2018 World Cup in India is over. With the exception of the year preceding each World Cup, the goal is to reduce the number of bilateral matches in order to raise the standard of ODI cricket. The MCC stated that this will consequently free up much-needed time in the international cricket calendar.

In light of the escalating financial difficulties that nations other than India, Australia, and England encounter while hosting men’s Test matches, the committee emphasized the necessity of establishing a Test Fund in order to protect the integrity of Test match cricket. It brought to light the dearth of concrete information on the expenses related to hosting Test matches across ICC member countries. It has urged the ICC to conduct a Test match financial audit to provide a clearer picture in order to close this knowledge gap. According to the MCC committee, “this audit of operational costs vs commercial return would enable the ICC to identify nations in need of support in order to sustain a Test match program.

The committee also suggested strategies for expanding women’s cricket on a worldwide scale; specifically mentioning Afghanistan, where women’s cricket is illegal, it stated that every country must pledge to fund women’s cricket and field a women’s team. It continued, “It believes that the best way to support this objective would be to establish a sizeable and ring-fenced ICC Strategic Fund that can be allocated to full member and associate nations who, among other important initiatives, fully commit to their women’s pathway and national team.”

The MCC wants to draw attention to the growing difference between the boards, and the announcement coincides with the gathering of the ICC boards in Durban to determine the methodology for revenue-sharing among members. Without action, the system “has the potential to not suitably benefit the international game, with the current model heavily favoring the minority who dominate,” it stated.

The departing WCC chair, Mike Gatting, emphasized the need for the ICC to adopt “a democratic and inclusive approach” at the meeting’s conclusion on June 27 in order to maximize the generational opportunity that has been presented to cricket over the following five years as a result of the recent record sale of the media rights for ICC Global Events. “Cricket is expanding in numerous ways and appears to be financially stable on the surface. However, rather than a democratic and inclusive approach for the sake of the entire sport, we are seeing a game that increasingly focused on a select few prominent players, Gatting remarked.

It’s time for the global game to reset, he continued. Too frequently, member countries struggle to make ends meet while running their cricket operations instead of having a long-term, realistic plan in place that secures the future of the sport in their nation, both financially and in terms of participation.

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