x

Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Outgoing MCC chairman says Test cricket needs more 'support and context'

Former England captain Mike Brearley cites the example of South African AB de Villiers, who is sitting out of the ongoing Test series in England and is tipped to retire from Tests this year to prolong his career in limited-overs cricket.

In this file photo from June 25, 2017 South Africa captain AB de Villiers reacts during the third T20 International against England  at SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
In this file photo from June 25, 2017 South Africa captain AB de Villiers reacts during the third T20 International against England at SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

International cricket needs more context and support from administrators to stop players from choosing lucrative Twenty20 leagues over the traditional Test format, former England captain Mike Brearley has said.

Brearley cites the example of South African AB de Villiers, who is sitting out of the ongoing Test series in England and is tipped to retire from Tests this year to prolong his career in limited-overs cricket.

"My view is that not everything that could be done to preserve and encourage international and especially Test cricket has yet been done," Brearley, the outgoing chairman of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) world cricket committee, wrote in a column for The Times newspaper.

"ICC [International Cricket Council] is trying to make improvements to scheduling and to context. The countries need to make a big push for increased context, including proper competition through a Test championship.

"They must create windows for Test cricket and be willing to try out all sorts of measures — more day-night matches, lower gate charges in some places, offering spectators more and using every resource to publicise Test cricket and create stars."

READ MORE: Kagiso Rabada and others punished by intrusive TV coverage should be cut some slack

Brearley, however, acknowledged the players have a right to earn their livelihood.

"There is no blame attached to the individuals for making such choices," said Brearley, 75, who played 39 Tests between 1976 and 1981.

"We all know that a cricketing career is a doubtful matter, depending as it does on fitness, form, and selectorial whims."

The first Test at Lord's between England and South Africa drew good spectators which boosted Brearley's faith in the traditional five-day format of the game.

"As this entertaining if one-sided match showed, and as the high percentage of results and high quality over the past year or two reinforces, Test cricket is in good form on the pitch," he said.

"Let's do everything we can to keep it there."