Broadcasters show little interest in inaugural Test championship

London, Dec 20 : Lack of interest from the broadcasters due to England's slump has raised doubts on the future of the inaugural Test World Championships that will be replacing the popular 50-over Champions Trophy in 2017.

Broadcasters are concerned that 2017 hosts England and India may not qualify for the tournament and it has prompted the International Cricket Council (ICC) to rethink their plans. Broadcasters are in favour of the Champions Trophy, which is a favourite among the tele advertisers.

The ICC had launched the Test championship in October in their bid to "preserve the primacy of Tests". The first competition is scheduled to be held in England with a prize pool of around five million pounds.

British daily The Telegraph reported that ICC will offer the championship to broadcasters for an eight-year deal that will run from 2016-2023. But initial response has been cold.

The daily reported that ICC's finance and commercial affairs committee met in Perth last week and will be studying the financial viability of the Test championship in comparison to the Champions Trophy.

A final decision by the ICC will be taken at its board meeting Jan 27 and will also look into the concerns raised by the broadcasters.

"First, there is no guarantee England and India will qualify for the tournament, which will be contested by the top four ranked nations. If England lose 4-0 to Australia, they will drop to fourth in the ICC table, holding only a slender lead over Pakistan," the daily reported.

The qualifying phase for the competition began in May this year and will end in December 2016. While it is unlikely that England and India would miss out, the broadcasters do not want to take a chance.

The broadcasters also feel that there should be an outcome in the matches but cricket attractions of Test cricket is the ebb and flow of a match which ends in a draw.

--IANS (Posted on 20-12-2013)

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