England great David Gower has called on the International Cricket Council to scrap plans for replacing the Champions Trophy one-day tournament with a World Test Championship.
Tournaments hosts England and World Cup-holders India were due to contest the final of the Champions Trophy, like the World Cup a 50 overs per side competition, at Edgbaston on Sunday although rain delayed the scheduled start.
The ICC would like to have a world championship in each of the game’s three main formats — Tests, one-day internationals and Twenty20. At present they have that for one-day internationals with the World Cup and there is also the World Twenty20, won by the West Indies in Sri Lanka last year.
But there is, at present, no formal Test championship and the ICC argue that an already congested international calendar means you can’t have that as well as the Champions Trophy — it has to be one or the other. Former England captain Gower, however, wants the Champions Trophy preserved.
“Whatever the result today (Sunday), I will be sorry to see the Champions Trophy disappear,” Gower wrote in his Sunday Times column. “It has become my favourite 50-over competition because it is succinct, high intensity and not nearly as drawn out as the official showpiece, the World Cup.
If we were in the middle of a World Cup now, we would not be contemplating the final but looking at an eternal stretch of early group matches still to be played,” Gower added.
“Of course, we need to have both and I sympathise with the World Cup’s desire to give the nations outside the top eight something important and worthwhile to aim at.” But Gower was unpersuaded by the merits of a World Test Championship.
“I am not convinced by the plans for a World Test Championship, which is scheduled to replace the Champions Trophy. “I have no problem with a Test league table and a structure that adds relevance to each and every Test and each and every series but I would prefer to leave it at that,” explained Gower.
“I don’t see a system of semi-finals and final working to decide the Test championship. It grates as far as I am concerned and leaves the result in the hands of too many variables, with possibly home advantages, pitches and the weather all factors.”
“The ICC still has time to consider its plans... I may be out of sync with general opinion around the world on this but, then again, there may be many out there who are also sceptical that a one-off Test is the right way to decide a championship, in which case they should make themselves heard before it is indeed too late.”