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Old 21st August 2017, 17:30   #1
mustardcharlie
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Divisions In Test Match Cricket

Does anyone think that would be a good idea? I am all for it. Mis-matches such as the current series or Bangla playing in Oz might be avoided. Yes, I know that England are only one up with 2 to play. If it were a question of whether Zim or SL got promoted to play against the big boys for the next 5 years, it would give some meaningless tests rather more significance. 3 divisions wouldn't hurt. Holland, Ireland vs Kenya and/or Botswana would take up some thinking.

It would not be a disaster if England, Australia, India got relegated. On the contrary, I think it would give various cricket boards a kick up the jacksie.
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Old 21st August 2017, 17:41   #2
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Does anyone think that would be a good idea? I am all for it. Mis-matches such as the current series or Bangla playing in Oz might be avoided. Yes, I know that England are only one up with 2 to play. If it were a question of whether Zim or SL got promoted to play against the big boys for the next 5 years, it would give some meaningless tests rather more significance. 3 divisions wouldn't hurt. Holland, Ireland vs Kenya and/or Botswana would take up some thinking.

It would not be a disaster if England, Australia, India got relegated. On the contrary, I think it would give various cricket boards a kick up the jacksie.
Great idea but would it not need standardising of series / number of tests ?

5 years seems a long time too - if less than 8 teams in top division could they not be accommodated in say 3 or 4 ?

Also why not a 3rd division - perhaps with a more limited format.
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Old 21st August 2017, 18:31   #3
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In principle I'm for it, although could remove text status from the second division. I just can't see it working if India, England or Australia were relegated and the Ashes or equivalent series were under threat. The boards, and TV companies, wouldn't agree to there being no Ashes series for 5 years.

There needs to be some competition element in test cricket. The bilateral series is becoming increasingly meaningless outside the Ashes.
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Old 21st August 2017, 18:46   #4
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In principle I'm for it, although could remove text status from the second division. I just can't see it working if India, England or Australia were relegated and the Ashes or equivalent series were under threat. The boards, and TV companies, wouldn't agree to there being no Ashes series for 5 years.

There needs to be some competition element in test cricket. The bilateral series is becoming increasingly meaningless outside the Ashes.
The current ranking system is too clunky for the average fan to get to grips with though - some sort of much more dynamic and understandable league table is required - where series results have real consequence.

Or a test championship once every 2 or 4 years - qualification , 2 groups of 4, top two qualify for semi finals , then final. So 5 tests in say 8 weeks - could replace the champions trophy ?

Would need a points system to cope with draws.
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Old 21st August 2017, 19:48   #5
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The current ranking system is too clunky for the average fan to get to grips with though - some sort of much more dynamic and understandable league table is required - where series results have real consequence.
Or just dump it. Never needed it in the past, really don't need it now.
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Old 21st August 2017, 20:51   #6
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Don't think 2 divsions will work simply because of the money factor. Where is all the money going to come from in terms of tv/sponsorship to watch Div 2 test cricket between distinctly poor teams? If say Windies v Bangladesh or Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe is hardly packing in the punters now, why would it be any different when Div 2 starts when boards can't get tv contracts because India/Aus/Eng aren't rolling into town at some point in the future with associated tourist cash to boot. Just isn't going to work and players will levitate towards the t20 leagues (until a few of them go bust).
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Old 21st August 2017, 20:56   #7
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I don't think two divisions adds anything, unless it's done to split into two groups with the top two playing off in a final or semi finals.

I wouldn't regard the current match as a barometer either, as had the Windies won the toss, they could conceivably have set England a large total that England's fragile top six could have faltered against. Also its a very young side, and as a team that got punished 5-0 every time they played the Windies in the 1980s, England fans should be more sympathetic than most to one sided games.
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Old 21st August 2017, 21:14   #8
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I don't think two divisions adds anything, unless it's done to split into two groups with the top two playing off in a final or semi finals.

I wouldn't regard the current match as a barometer either, as had the Windies won the toss, they could conceivably have set England a large total that England's fragile top six could have faltered against. Also its a very young side, and as a team that got punished 5-0 every time they played the Windies in the 1980s, England fans should be more sympathetic than most to one sided games.
Not quite. Twice in five series.
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Old 21st August 2017, 21:28   #9
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England fans should be more sympathetic than most to one sided games.
Especially as we're going to have the shoe on the other foot come the Winter...
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Old 21st August 2017, 22:43   #10
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I don't think two divisions adds anything, unless it's done to split into two groups with the top two playing off in a final or semi finals.

I wouldn't regard the current match as a barometer either, as had the Windies won the toss and had a totally different top order with some much better players, they could conceivably have set England a large total that England's fragile top six could have faltered against, if they'd additionally had some bowling. Also its a very young side, and as a team that got punished 5-0 every time they played the Windies in the 1980s, England fans should be more sympathetic than most to one sided games.
FTFY.
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Old 22nd August 2017, 03:41   #11
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Great idea but would it not need standardising of series / number of tests ?

5 years seems a long time too - if less than 8 teams in top division could they not be accommodated in say 3 or 4 ?

Also why not a 3rd division - perhaps with a more limited format.
Every team plays the other over 3 games, home and away over the space of 5 years. If you want to play a "friendly" or two for the Ashes, Basil D'Oliviera trophy. Got away with a 1-1 draw in Bangladesh last winter, Stuffed 5 - 0 in India. That makes it England P 12 W 5 D 0 L 7 which is hardly championship winning results. If we drop a test against WI and lose 5 - 0 to Oz then we could be relegated.

That sort of thing. anyway. A 3 test series between, say, Kenya and Afghanistan has no meaning atm If it involved going up or down a division I think more people would watch and play.
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Old 22nd August 2017, 08:38   #12
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I don't think two divisions adds anything, unless it's done to split into two groups with the top two playing off in a final or semi finals.
Not everything is done or necessary to "add" something, there are too many Test teams, too many fixtures to cram in with three formats now, and too much cricket is one sided.

Two (or more) divisions is one obvious solution to reduce the number of fixtures and one sided games

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I wouldn't regard the current match as a barometer either, as had the Windies won the toss, they could conceivably have set England a large total that England's fragile top six could have faltered against. Also its a very young side, and as a team that got punished 5-0 every time they played the Windies in the 1980s, England fans should be more sympathetic than most to one sided games.
Could for sure have been a different game, but there was still a good chance windies wouldn't have made much more than 300 and been beaten. They had two cracks at batting, neither of them the 4th innings, and couldn't bat 50 overs or reach 175 let alone 200 in either.

Hopefully they will get the toss and best of the batting conditions in the rest of the series, I doubt it will produce any difference
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Old 22nd August 2017, 08:51   #13
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The finer details of timescale, standardised series lengths etc could be agreed once the structure is accepted, but the principle is a good idea - tiers/divisions.

Or you could play two groups of say five teams, play each other or the teams in the other group, however you want to do it, and the team at the top of each group plays the other group winner for the championship. Could work it to three groups, team with most points goes straight into the final and the other group winners contest a play-off or semi if you prefer to face them.

Play it over 2-4 years, depending how many games are in a series and whether you do a six nations format (alternate home then away by competition) or home and away, and shuffle the teams.

If teams want to play each other outside of the championship they can, especially once eliminated.

As for money, why would it have to be much different to the existing arrangement, BCCI insist on getting a large chunk, a few other teams get bigger money than the rest, and the rest is shared around.

At least with a proper championship structure, a start and an end not a meaningless rolling nothing, there will be interest generated. With tiers/divisions the interest for the weaker sides will be increased as they will become competitive and can win something - promotion. You may even get more crowds than is currently so outside of a few selected series, the World Cup(s) make cricket at least bear some resemblance to other sports and less 'elitist'

There's no way the current structure will be sustainable long term, and adding more countries to the Test elite probably won't help that. The 'championship' which is just a ranking system, not the greatest at that, and no end point.
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Old 22nd August 2017, 08:54   #14
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Great idea but would it not need standardising of series / number of tests ?
You could have it so a series like the Ashes still plays over 5 Tests, but only the first say 2 or 3 count towards the group/championship and the rest only towards the series/Ashes outcome.......

Would of course depend on what the set schedule was and group/division sizes as to whether there was time for 5 Tests anyway.
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Old 22nd August 2017, 10:19   #15
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Surely the best of all worlds is the current one, where every time England have a large victory we can be super-snooty about how the oppo really shouldn't be in the same division as us and it's beneath us to play against such a rubbish team. This allows us to ignore the frequent times when we lose just as badly, and to pretend that the so-called minnows we've just thrashed won't turn the tables on us and square the series.

Another solution:
Div 1: England, USA, China, Russia
Div 2: the rest.
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Old 22nd August 2017, 10:31   #16
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We almost have an unofficial "conkers" like system, where the best team stays the best team until they're beaten by someone else, making them the best team. Couldn't we make that official?
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Old 22nd August 2017, 13:54   #17
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You could have it so a series like the Ashes still plays over 5 Tests, but only the first say 2 or 3 count towards the group/championship and the rest only towards the series/Ashes outcome.......

Would of course depend on what the set schedule was and group/division sizes as to whether there was time for 5 Tests anyway.
That should stop us having the first test at Lords.....
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Old 22nd August 2017, 16:04   #18
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The problem is England, Australia, India & SA would always have to be in the top division from both a financial and marketing point of view.

It wouldn't work on a normal league basis.
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Old 22nd August 2017, 17:17   #19
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The problem is England, Australia, India & SA would always have to be in the top division from both a financial and marketing point of view.

It wouldn't work on a normal league basis.
It might also be difficult to ensure that all fixtures are fulfilled. For example, India v Pakistan, which hasn't happened for 10 years now.
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Old 22nd August 2017, 17:21   #20
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Surely the best of all worlds is the current one, where every time England have a large victory we can be super-snooty about how the oppo really shouldn't be in the same division as us and it's beneath us to play against such a rubbish team. This allows us to ignore the frequent times when we lose just as badly, and to pretend that the so-called minnows we've just thrashed won't turn the tables on us and square the series.

Another solution:
Div 1: England, USA, China, Russia
Div 2: the rest.
As pointed out in another thread, it's better for England to hammer crap, underprepared opponents than for test cricket to be competitive.

However, there is an issue with the format at the moment. Few matches or series are in any way competitive. On paper, the recently concluded series against SA was competitive but each match was a shellacking and there wasn't much suspense, even in the last match. Ditto the drawn series v Pakistan, Australia's tour of India, SA in Australia last winter, England in SA the winter before etc etc.

There's something wrong with the format, not sure what the solution is but a lot of talk about tests that "lack context". Certainly test players seem to lack guts and patience even compared to 3-4 years ago.
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