David Richardson - Bilateral cricket needs to have context

David Richardson – Bilateral cricket needs to have context

David Richardson
David Richardson – Bilateral cricket needs to have context. (© Getty Images)

David Richardson – Bilateral cricket needs to have context: Watching the Ashes and the numbers it generate in terms of the spectators on the ground, you would think who are these folks saying Test cricket is loosing relevance. But an educated insight will suggest what these people refer to. Test cricket in England and Australia particularly when the two square off against each other can be looked as a separate phenomenon to the fate of the longest format when it comes to the subcontinent. David Richardson, the ICC CEO spoke at length in an interview to ESPNCricinfo about the need for context in bilateral cricket, the creation of qualifying leagues and the long term goals of ICC regarding the UDRS.

Sounding concerned about the relevance of bilateral series round the globe he said, “the international cricket landscape has changed over the years and even more significantly in recent times with the advent and success of domestic T20 leagues such as the IPL, the Big Bash and the CPL. These events are attracting widespread support from fans and hence the interest of broadcasters, sponsors and other commercial partners. The increase in interest in ICC events and domestic T20 leagues effectively provides competition for the interest in bilateral international cricket series. Apart from series such as the Ashes – which has an iconic, traditional status – and series between India and the top Full Members, many bilateral series are perceived as having little relevance. Attendances in most series, especially for Test cricket, have fallen and the revenues generated from these series are not growing. Bilateral series need greater context, a clear narrative, improved marketing and a more certain and coordinated schedule.”

Throwing light on the latest research being carried out on various DRS technologies the South African further added – “The engineers are in the process of building an apparatus to assess the performance of each type of technology at the moment and the results so far look promising. Television, ball-tracking and edge-detection technologies have developed and improved significantly since the DRS was first introduced. New technologies are being developed all the time. One concern about DRS, particularly from the players’ and umpires’ perspectives, is that the various technologies used for DRS in different series are not standardised. Our long-term aim is to have one officiating system used across all international matches.”

When asked to clarify whether only the BCCI is opposed to the use of technology or there are others he said, “The significant majority are in favour of using technology in the decision-making process in international cricket. BCCI is the only Full Member who is currently opposed to the use of DRS in international cricket. The BCCI’s opposition is mainly because they believe the technology is still not fool-proof and that decision-making should be left to the umpires, not the players. There are some other members who choose not to use DRS for their home series, but these are for cost reasons. We are hoping to be able to provide a full report to the next ICC Cricket Committee meeting in May next year, at which the Committee can review and determine the optimum process and protocols for the DRS going forward”.

The MCC recently recommended a 12-team World Cup. When queried why the ICC remains reluctant about expanding the number of teams in the World Cup, he answered, “The main reason behind the decision to move to a ten-team ICC Cricket World Cup was because it was felt that it would provide the best event – the pinnacle, showcase event for the 50-over format. The 10 best ODI teams with all matches providing the highest-quality competitive cricket. It is essentially the same format as the 1992 Cricket World cup, which many say was the best ever World Cup format”.