x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Inaugural Test Championship faces a four-year delay

The long-awaited Test Championship is in danger of being delayed until 2017 because of the ICC's broadcast agreement with ESPN Star Sports.

DUBAI // The long-awaited Test Championship is in danger of being delayed until 2017 because of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) broadcast agreement with ESPN Star Sports (ESS).

The championship was scheduled for 2013, an ICC effort to provide more context to what it considers the sport's premier format.

But after a board meeting in Dubai, the ICC acknowledged broadcast commitments may compel them to schedule a 50-over Champions Trophy instead, a tournament they were ready to ditch.

"The ICC Executive Board confirmed their preference to host an ICC Test Championship in 2013 but recognised the significant commercial challenge in trying to replace the Champions Trophy," the board said yesterday.

"Without the support and consent of the ICC's broadcast partner, ESPN Star Sports, the financial implications on the Members and the development of the game would be significant."

The deal with ESS, signed in 2006, is for ICC events only, which then consisted solely of limited-overs tournaments.

"It would be unfortunate if the Test Championship is delayed but the board needs to balance several objectives," Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, said.

"We've got existing commitments in terms of our rights agreement, which is a one-day format in the Champions Trophy and we need to convert that to a Test format.

"That has implications for the broadcast partner and the board's challenge is to balance all of its objectives, key of which is the development of the game and the revenue we source from these events go to developing the game."

osamiuddin@thenational.ae


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