The International Cricket Council is exploring ways to ensure that Test cricket remains the pinnacle of the world game, and plans to push for an enhanced Test Championship when the current Future Tours Programme expires in 2012.
Under the current provisions of the FTP, all Test nations must play each other home and away within a six-year cycle, although the haphazard nature of some of the less fashionable contests have left them vulnerable, especially at a time when Twenty20 cricket is taking over the world game.
The key considerations for both the ICC Board and the CEC were and are:
All three formats of international cricket should be protected and promoted with Test cricket identified as the pinnacle of the sport The "icon" Test series must be protected ICC should look at ways of taking greater central ownership of international cricket outside its events or at least providing for more consistency in marketing/promotion The concept of a Test Championship should be explored further
The proposal was raised at the quarterly ICC Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) meeting, which took place in Dubai on Wednesday. Other issues on the agenda included the postponement of the ICC Champions Trophy, and further discussion about the Umpire Decision Review System, which was trialled during India's recent Test tour of Sri Lanka.
The trial received largely positive feedback, and a report was presented by the ICC umpires' and referees' manager, Vince van der Bijl, and the ICC umpires' manager Doug Cowie. It was agreed that an extension of the trial should be considered for upcoming series, and that, ideally, as many umpires and teams as possible should be exposed to the system to allow proper assessment of the merits and drawbacks. A final report on the trial to cover all series in which it has been employed would be presented to the Cricket Committee in May 2009 and then considered by the CEC in June 2009.
The CEC comprises the chief executives of the 10 Test-playing members and three representatives from ICC Associate Members. It is chaired by the ICC's chief executive, with the president and the chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee also in attendance.